Much like the case of other sports in this country, there is a chorus of many questioning why tennis is failing and Andy Murray is the only British tennis player in the top 100. Let’s not go into the cringing debate about whether he’s Scottish or British, it should be a huge cause for concern that a country completely separate from that of Scotland, and one with seemingly endless resources, cannot produce players of sufficient enough quality to break into that top 100.
We need to look a little deeper and perhaps a little more obviously at the fact that tennis is by no means an expensive sport to take up, thus opening it up to a wider audience and prospective future competitors. But then is the issue that our country’s youth are following on into our sports? Are there just not enough children encouraged to play the sport? Of course, a nation the size of ours has no match for countries such as America whose population allows them to succeed across a number of different sports. But what of Spain, or even Scotland?
…plans in place…
Law Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper insists that there are plans in place to allow for more of the top 100 to by made of English athletes – both the men’s and women’s competition. But he stressed that there was no timeline nor exact number they hoped to reach, stating, “We’re not making predictions. We don’t want to heap pressure on youngsters’ shoulders.” But he did continue to explain that in light of the LTA’s investment in recent years, it was “unacceptable” that so few had come to the fore.
Draper went on to state that there were a number of talents doing well in the junior championships, a large enough number, in fact, to make an impression on the world stage. However, he did concede that this sort of progression would take a number of years, especially for boys.
…a conscious effort to improve…
The positives that we can take from this, however, are that there is a conscious effort to improve the manner in which the country is represented among the world’s finest, and the LTA are actively looking to extend financial support to those families whose youngsters do have what it takes to succeed in the sport.
Image courtesy of Don Macauley