Davis Cup review must not paper over cracks
It wasn't necessarily his fault - and he held the respect of the players, some of whom went out of their way to fight his corner - but it was his team.
He was the captain of a wealthy British side which lost to a team of kids from the tennis non-league. He had to go.
But if the Lawn Tennis Association chiefs think that will be the end of the matter, scapegoat identified and slaughtered, they should be mistaken.
John Lloyd with Jamie Ward during the latter's singles defeat on the final day in VIlnius - Photo: Getty
Steven Martens, the LTA Player Director, was asked to "review" events in Vilnius. It was a curious assignment - surely that's part of his job anyway - yet a worthy one if carried out forensically, and with an openness to outside viewpoints.
After a week and a half, we have half a verdict - and a statement of the obvious.
"My initial findings from the review recognise that he [Lloyd] is not to blame for our current lack of depth in men's tennis so I am widening my review to look across men's tennis," he said.
The fall-out from Lithuania has never been about whether John Lloyd is to blame for the state of the game. Of course he isn't. Daft question, so why answer it in the statement?
And then we learn that only now is this "review" being "widened" to look at men's tennis as a whole. In other words, tackling the key issue.
The main focus should be on why men's tennis in Great Britain, at elite performance level beneath Andy Murray, is clearly in a worse state than when the current regime took charge at Roehampton four years ago.
When things are going backwards, as illustrated by the ATP rankings and Davis Cup results (surely the two most tangible indicators), then something has to be addressed other than who the bloke is on the captain's chair.
We must hope more substantial findings lie ahead, otherwise Martens surely will have failed in his task.
But, hang on a moment, isn't he the man in charge of performance - the man who admits to being in charge of men's tennis? So why is he carrying out this review? That's a bit like putting Alastair Campbell in charge of the Iraq inquiry.
Martens, fuelled by a hefty six figure salary plus bonus, has worked hard to bring about change. He has changed funding structures, talent identification networks and coach education. Progress has undoubtedly been made in many areas but not everyone agrees it is for the better.
There is disquiet about the number of Belgian coaches now on the LTA payroll. Martens, a Belgian, has brought them all into British tennis. Will they still be around in 10 years, one wonders?
There is also concern about the rigid structure of mini-tennis age-groups and a perceived lack of flexibility for talented kids.
Livid parents have complained about junior ratings, which saw a significant change made last year without proper communication and meant some kids had effectively been playing the wrong tournaments.
All this comes under Martens' remit. But will his "review" look at these examples of issues which have held back British tennis?
Greg Rusedski appears to be the clear favourite to be the next Davis Cup captain
Meanwhile, if a "blameless" John Lloyd has been forced out, then where does that leave Martens or, for that matter, Roger Draper, the LTA chief executive, who said last week that he is "ultimately responsible"?
There appears little evidence of Draper leaving despite vocal calls from critics for him to resign, but the pressure is certainly mounting.
An appearance before an all-party Parliamentary group investigating British tennis will test Draper's nerve more than that deciding set in Vilnius.
All of this makes me depressed. The hard work of hundreds of dedicated tennis folk in Britain is being constantly overlooked by this sorry, never-ending debate and the desire, within some British tennis quarters, to cover backs and paper cracks.
Later this year I will tell stories of those coaches on the frontline, battling against the maelstrom. They deserve publicity for their hard work because they do what they can and we need them.
In the meantime, who next for Davis Cup captain?
Tim Henman doesn't want the job - for now - and Mark Petchey won't work for Draper.
Miles Maclagan is tied to Andy Murray and Paul Annacone has just been told he isn't needed as team coach, let alone captain.
Greg Rusedski, the obvious favourite, would love the job and was sounded out a few weeks ago, but he isn't exactly on Andy Murray's Christmas card list.
One option is Steven Martens himself but a more shrewd appointment would be a British coach with vast experience of working with British players.
I'm not here to start a campaign but we could do a lot worse than someone like Dave Sammel, former coach of ex-British Davis Cup players Barry Cowan and Martin Lee and now a director of the Monte Carlo Tennis Academy.