LTA call for patience on finding next Andy Murray
Britain are well-placed to have a successful Wimbledon but the public must wait four years before the country produces another player capable of being anywhere near as good as Andy Murray, the LTA have stressed.
With Wimbledon just over a week away, the governing body of British tennis is bracing itself for yet more bad headlines about the state of the game in this country despite an improved showing, particularly among home-grown women, at SW19 last year. The LTA have adopted a number of measures in an attempt to boost grassroots participation and they also point to several successes at junior level to show that the future has the potential to be bright for British tennis.
Oliver Golding is the reigning US Open junior champion, last year George Morgan won the junior doubles at Wimbledon and Liam Broady made the boys’ final at SW19 before losing in three sets to Australia’s Luke Saville. Although the LTA understands why the country yearns to have more than one challenger for Wimbledon, they insist Britain’s youngsters must be afforded three or four years’ development before they are able to go beyond the opening stages of grand slams like world number four Murray.
“We all want to go to slams and see a lot more players than Andy in the main draw,” said Leon Smith, the LTA’s head of men’s and women’s tennis. “but we are going to have to wait a bit longer. It can take years to make the transition out of juniors.”
Expectations around Murray dampened this week when he exited the AEGON Championships at Queen’s with a second-round defeat to unseeded Frenchman Nicolas Mahut., but Smith said: “I am confident we will have a good Wimbledon. The players are there, especially with the women’s side. Andy, hopefully, he can go far. Obviously he has had a great record at Wimbledon and he loves playing on grass.”
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal was bundled out of the Gerry Weber Open by defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in Halle today while five-times winner Roger Federer was pushed to the limit. Defeat for Nadal ended a 13-match winning streak which saw victories in Rome and Roland Garros, and gave world No 34 Kohlschreiber his first win over the Spaniard in nine attempts.
Federer was forced to endure his second consecutive final set tie-break against Canadian Milos Raonic before prevailing 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to book his place in the semi-finals.
At Queen’s, Grigor Dimitrov wept with joy as he reached his first ATP Tour semi-final after beating ninth seed Kevin Anderson at the AEGON Championships. He will face David Nalbandian or Xavier Malisse today.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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