There is something rotten in the state of…South west London (Wimbledon, to be exact). Millions of pounds are being harvested from Wimbledon every year by the LTA. A good chunk of that is being invested in developing talent. But it doesn’t look like any talent is coming through to challenge in the top rankings. Reading the Boris Becker interview in the Guardian this afternoon made me think.

European countries pouring less money in development of junior players seem to be doing a better job than the LTA. This is no criticism of the LTA at all. The problems are deep and embedded in the social fabric. In the north-west part of England I am familiar of, I have never seen a single girl or boy carrying a tennis racket. The primary schools do not seem to encourage this sport. However, other sports like football, rugby league, gymnastics, netball and sprints are well catered for. Is tennis seen as an elitist sport? A southern sport? Or not a sport at all, but just a Wimbledon spectacle? Former Wimbledon Champion Becker’s view is that ‘Tennis is no doubt an elitist sport, it’s expensive; racquets are expensive, courts are expensive, a pair of tennis shoes is expensive. But it is fairly obvious that the LTA is not struggling for money and the question is: what should they be looking for?’ And where are they looking? I hasten to add.

A lot of work needs to be done otherwise the whole nation’s hopes will be on one Briton every year, Andy Murray. God Forbid the Scots decide to go independent!

Schools must be encouraged to provide for tennis training. The LTA should be helping schools promoting and encouraging this sport at grassroots level. More people need to be encouraged to coach and above all else funding should be provided for setting up of tennis courts. Preferably all-weather surfaces to counter the vagaries of the weather.

We need more players in the top 20. We should be looking forward to a Briton winning at Wimbledon. It is a sad indictment  of the state of British tennis with one of the most famous tournaments all over the world that Fred Perry is the last Brit to have lifted the trophy.

Even Sleeping Beauty woke up eventually from her slumber. Lets hope our tennis does; and not become another Dodo

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