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Brits in pieces

Robbo Robson | 09:15 UK time, Thursday, 25 June 2009

One thing I really like about sport is that by and large the best man wins. If you're not good enough, you'll lose. There's no getting away from that. And if you're not up to scratch, you have to go away and try a lot flippin' harder next time.

Wimbledon is full of talented players but you get the impression that the ones at the top of the game at the mo are the ones who have put the most work in.

They've tried their best to pretty up Murray in the Radio Times but it's not his Kournikova-esque eyes that have got him up to number three.

Andy MurrayIt's more that the lad's worked like a demon on his game - and them spindly stork-legs that cramped up after a couple of hours are now thundering great trunks that hustle him about the court like, well, like a Nadal with new knees.

Andy Roddick hasn't stayed in the top eight on natural talent. Frankly the bloke's got two shots: a serve and a forehand, and both of them have all the subtlety and nuance of a Katie Price Twitter outburst.

(People keep encouraging me to get on them Tweety Bookfacey things but do people really want to read stuff like 'Robbo is on sofa thinking how the fridge should be closer.... Robbo is letting rip continuously on the back of a lamb madras... Robbo is awake... blah bleeding blah...')

But Roddick keeps working at it. Even if it's difficult to suggest his game has one dimension let alone three, he keeps working at it. And he gets the results - not least this lass he's married, Brooklyn Decker. I know - sounds like a bus, doesn't she? A-Rod apparently fell for her after flicking through the bikini section of Sports Illustrated magazine. Eee, I wonder what they chat about, eh?

Every year Wimbledon comes around and we have to put up with two days of national blinking embarrassment. Why do the tournament organisers hand out these cheques for £10,000 - sorry, wild cards - to a bunch of underachieving no-marks who don't deserve to have a first-round berth in a major?

My mate Tony Thompson says we should give each one of 'em 10 grand before Wimbledon starts and tell them to make themselves scarce.

For God's sake, there must be hundreds of more deserving lasses and lads out there from all over the world who haven't been living off the grass-court drip-feed but scraping together money from here and there just to get from A to B.

Alex Bogdanovic was quoted as saying "I'm getting better every year. I'm confident. I just need to play a few challengers, win some matches and then I'm going to start playing more ATP qualifiers." How in God's name did he work that out?

Yes, I think Middlesbrough FC are really getting somewhere too, mate. Better? Confident? You lost in straight sets! You lost for the eighth time in a row in a first-rounder! It could be that you're just a bit rubbish, son!'

Josh Goodall put up a fine fight against some Frenchman with a Welsh name - Llodra? - but at 4-5 down in the fifth you just knew he was going to bottle it.

Someone called Katie O'Brien and someone called Georgie Stoop did the same thing. And that's just it. It's like nails down a bloomin' blackboard every time we hear about the latest 'plucky', 'brave', 'tenacious', 10-grand-richer LOSER!

The lasses are no better. Baltacha got through - and cried so many flippin' tears they were thinking of putting a roof on Court One 'n' all. All right, love. Never mind blubbing. Let's win two matches, eh? I feel a bit sorry for Keothavong 'cos at least the lass has made a lot of progress this year but... FOR GOD'S SAKE, LTA.

No wonder Murray's lamenting the absence of any ability in the players behind him at the mo. I'd be getting small tears in intimate muscles if I had to line up for a Davis Cup match with this lot.

You might think I'm being harsh but I think we need to line all these also-rans up in front of someone like Paul Robinson (the goalkeeper, not that bloke from Neighbours) and he can give them all an almighty kick up the backside. Hard enough to kick them into the nearest strawberry stand.

It's not good enough to faff about, get the odd notable win at Wimbers and finagle yourself a com-box contract off the back of it. It makes you appreciate Henman a lot more. He was made of the same stuff as these tennis club toffs and yet the bloke made four semi-finals and flew the flag as best he could for years.
Alex Bogdanovic
Sometimes it feels like the stripy blazer brigade of cheery amateurs is still pulling the strings in SW19 - 'Give our chaps a little pop of Johnny Foreigner, see what they can do!' Well no. No more hand-outs to the flops. Let them qualify. That's what happens in every other walk of life.

You don't expect a failed medical student to be given a wild card in to your local GP practice, do you? You don't expect your kids to be taught by some half-fit numpty who once spelt a whole sentence correctly.

You don't expect your letters to be delivered by a geographically-challenged idiot, just 'cos he's got his own bag (admittedly that may be what they've done with the postie on our street but that's not the point.)

If we carry on like this we'll have the Cheeky Girls playing the Royal Opera House, the new Poet Laureate will be Wayne Flaming Rooney and the new Speaker of the House of Commons will be John Prescott.

You shouldn't be able to qualify for the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world 'cos your mum happens to have the right *!%!*?! passport!!!

Comments

  • 1. At 10:25am on 25 Jun 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 10:46am on 25 Jun 2009, Tony Torrance wrote:

    A bit harsh to some degree but I agree with the overall points.

    Take your logic and apply it to football where 4th place earns you millions of pounds. Are Arsenal worthy of such exalted status.

    Bottom line to be the best you have to work for it. The LTA time for developing talent in this country must come to an end and soon because in the 25 years I have followed tennis they have only produced one world class player.

    It is also time for the cycling mentallity. If you are not good enough get out and give someone else a go.

    Harsh but the reality of sport is like that. Few people remember 2nd placers and the time of reaching the 1st and 2nd round mentality needs changing and changing now.

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  • 3. At 10:50am on 25 Jun 2009, Betsenbell wrote:

    You dont half write some tosh.....

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  • 4. At 10:52am on 25 Jun 2009, jonthebaptist wrote:

    Yeah, fair point kick out our useless Brits and replace them with fit young Russians ;)

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  • 5. At 10:53am on 25 Jun 2009, Chris Tortise wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 6. At 10:55am on 25 Jun 2009, vertigo_timbo wrote:

    It's interesting to think why we fail as a tennis nation - having played tennis as a kid it's not really the average guy or girls sport - it's a sport set up for the upper crust - all i can remember is getting kicked off the court when I was playing by the grown ups.

    Thinking about the mens game who've we ever had that's any good, Murray, Henman and Rusdeski in the last 20 years.

    Henman perfectly fits the upper crust tennis playing family and is the 1 in 1000 kid who's got the determination to make it.

    Murray mum stuck her fingers up at the lta and coached him herself.

    Rusedski is actually Canadian - and here's my point - if he actually was brought up in this country i don't think he'd have ever made it.

    The system sucks!

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  • 7. At 10:56am on 25 Jun 2009, murraymints4brighton wrote:

    The thing is that for some players this is the bulk of their earnings for the whole year and wether people would want to deprive them of this ten grand that would as you say, get them from A to B, is a difficult decision.

    I think for a few players their number is well and truly up. Bogdanovic has been saying he will be in the top 100 every year for the last 8 years!!! He is like a flipping broken record, repeating himself over and over again and to be honest, would he stay in the top 100 when there? NO!

    However players like Evans who actually have a lot going for them should be given wild cards. He is the highest ranked teenage player in the world or something like that. I am sure he would still be in the draw, if only he didnt draw the russian wall in the first round, Davydenko.

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  • 8. At 10:57am on 25 Jun 2009, Mark wrote:

    What I dont understand is that the Women's winner gets paid the same as the men's winner becuase of equality? How so, all the men's matches are best of 5 and the women's matches best of 3, so are playing far less tennis. Would be like me (a bloke) working a 50 hour week at £10 an hour and making £500 quid and my felmale co worker working a 30 hour week and getting paid the same, whilst also doing a rather inferior job of it!! Not exactly equal is it?????

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  • 9. At 10:58am on 25 Jun 2009, Journeyman wrote:

    No mention of Laura Robson? Shes going far that lass, brilliant in the doubles last night and horribly unlucky/inexperienced in the singles

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  • 10. At 11:04am on 25 Jun 2009, Hold those Cue Cards wrote:

    Is it just me who thinks Andy Murray looks like Butthead in that photo???

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  • 11. At 11:04am on 25 Jun 2009, madcestrian wrote:

    In reply to number 5.

    If all our players were so outmatched that they shouldn't be expected to win their first round matches then surely that's just another argument in favour of getting them to actually qualify rather than giving them a bye when they're clearly not ready for it.

    I'm with Robbo. They should have to earn their places or they're always going to lose.

    And if it hurts their confidence to not get special treatement, well tough.

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  • 12. At 11:09am on 25 Jun 2009, Rulefox wrote:

    Spot on mate I agree 100%!

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  • 13. At 11:09am on 25 Jun 2009, Alex_tree wrote:

    We keep hearing the same story each year Wimbledon comes around. The LTA need to do a lot more to attract kids to the game keeping costs to a minimum. The Womans side is showing signs of improvement, Anna K is inside the top 50, Baltacha moving into the top 100 and Laura Robson, top ranked junior and a future star of the Womans game. It is the mens side where the development of players doesn't appear to have moved forward very much. (Dan Evens aside who is the top ranked in his age group)

    "Why do the tournament organisers hand out these cheques for £10,000 - sorry, wild cards - to a bunch of underachieving no-marks who don't deserve to have a first-round berth in a major?"

    It is traditional for a for a Slam tournament like Wimbledon to give wildcards to home based players, at the French Open i think they had a total number of 19 including wildcards in the main draw.
    One thing to remember Robbo, Wimbledon gives £10,000 to these"underachieving no-marks who don't deserve to have a first-round berth in a major" once a year, the likes of Middlesborough and Newcastle give this and more on a weekly basis to the same "bunch of underachieving no-marks"
    Just trying to keep it in perspective......

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  • 14. At 11:09am on 25 Jun 2009, vcfsantos wrote:

    #7 - If this £10k genuinely does provide the bulk of these players earnings for the year then I think this rather proves the point: if the majority of their income comes as a result of losing a 1st round match in a slam, then they are arguably in the wrong career. Sport is about trying to be the best and all of the challenges and entertainment that come with trying to reach that goal. It is hard to escape the impression that the LTA is seen as a gravy train for a number of players, where mediocrity earns them a comfortable living. It is clear that the likes of Bogdanovich do not have the quality to challenge mid-ranking players consistently, let alone the best. As such, they should have their funding removed. Harsh? Yes, but sport is harsh and professional sport is about winning. Reserve judgement for now on Keothavong (Sp?), who has demonstrated some abilty and, more importantly, potential to improve.

    The issue seems to be that these guys genuinely are the best we've got and so they are the ones who get funded. If this is the case, then we clearly need to increase the talent pool and in my eyes, the obvious way to do this would be to get rid of some of the coaches at the top of the LTA and cease funding those over 23/24 who clearly aren't going to acheive in this sport. That money could then be put into building more tennis courts across the country, including many in more deprived areas. These should be free to play on, we could provide free coaching sessions a couple of days a week and there should be a stock of rackets available for people that can't affors them. Expensive? Definately, but looking at LTA income solely as a result of Wimbledon suggests that this wouldn't be impossible. As it stands, tennis is largely a middle/upper class pursuit. This effectively rules out a significant proportion of the population, so its no wonder our talent pool is so small and the best we can offer is usually mediocre.

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  • 15. At 11:11am on 25 Jun 2009, Chris Tortise wrote:

    Number 11 - yes, you're absolutely right. Playing the 7th best player in the women's game is EXACTLY the same as qualifying. It's not like there is 180 places in the world between them...

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  • 16. At 11:11am on 25 Jun 2009, ArgieWizard wrote:

    I think it's ironic that Robbo starts a paragraph "The lasses are no better" after already talking about O'Brien and Stoop.

    It's even more ironic given that the paragraph then talks about Baltacha who's positvely manly.

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  • 17. At 11:12am on 25 Jun 2009, MeaningOfLife42 wrote:

    "You should not be allowed to comment on tennis if you can't look for the positives" - Chris T

    Looking for the positives? Are you Paul Collingwood in disguise!

    Our players need to be lambasted!! The closest they have probably got to that is Sue Barker claiming "Oh that's a shame, but they'll be back next year!"

    It's good that we back our national players,but then again i can't see how throwing them in the deep end against players ranked far higher is going to help them?(apart from a nice cushty pay check)

    Realistically none of the male wildcards deserved entry whilst only Robson, Baltacha and O'Brien deserved them for the females.

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  • 18. At 11:13am on 25 Jun 2009, Chris Tortise wrote:

    No. 14...Elena Baltacha is 25...should we have cut her funding then?

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  • 19. At 11:13am on 25 Jun 2009, lorus59 wrote:

    I am curious to know where I can find the details of the prize money on offer. Is there a website giving it?

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  • 20. At 11:14am on 25 Jun 2009, Split_loyalties wrote:

    Chris T, crikey mate, your sensitive!

    Robbos blog is a tongue in cheek look at the weeks sporting events with a slight "working class" slant on things. Its jovial, and it makes some good, whilst slightly raw, points. There's stuff on bbc that I don't much like, items on reality tv for instance, but I choose not to read them? Is someone forcing you to read this?

    As for his actual points, whilst maybe being extreme, its true, too many of these players are fully aware they have the financial comfort of the LTA's backing and support in the form of grants and funding. Other nation's players have to qualify, and they work hard for it, if there good enough they make ends meet and become better players, if they don't they have to give up the sport. This is life, no? Why should british players be treated any better. I see your point with the younger players, and they should be backed, but players like Bogdanovic are infuriating. If I was a player ranked above him (and theres a few!) and consistantly had to watch him given wildcards to the biggest major I'd be enraged.

    So start your petition, and you'll get a few signatures, but only off the other deadbeats who spend their time reading blogs they "despise" and then feel the need to tell the rest of us exactly that!

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  • 21. At 11:15am on 25 Jun 2009, Bluefuzz wrote:

    Sorry Robbo, but that's absolute rubbish.

    Look at the players our Brits were up against - Dan Evans v Davydenko, Goodall v Llodra, Bogdanovich v Berdych, Stoop v Zvonareva.

    I suppose you could argue a case that Bogdanovich and Goodall have been around for long enough to have progressed but that still doesn't change the fact they had a tough draw.

    Stoop only turned 21 at the beginning of the year, has had a torrid time with injuries over the last two years, and was playing in her first major tournament. And she gave the world number seven, who won her next match comfortably in straight sets, a real scare. Pretty good going in my book for a player ranked at 185.

    In my opinion Katie O'Brien and Anne Keothavong's results were the only real disappointment but both of them have come a long way this year so your accusations of not enough graft or talent are harsh to say the least.

    As for the LTA - well Draper's been in charge for just over three years now so he should be given more time to get it right. We've got the NTC, a new club structure, a mini tennis system that even Nick Bollettieri thinks is good for developing young players and those changes will take time to bring about results.

    No one is saying the structure is perfect but it has to be given time to work. If we're still in this position in five years' time then maybe it will be time for a change. But until then let's concentrate open encouraging our up and coming players and helping them fulfil their potential instead of running them down at every opportunity.

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  • 22. At 11:16am on 25 Jun 2009, Things were better under Harold Wilson wrote:

    You might think I'm being harsh but I think we need to line all these also-rans up in front of someone like Paul Robinson (the goalkeeper, not that bloke from Neighbours) and he can give them all an almighty kick up the backside. Hard enough to kick them into the nearest strawberry stand.

    ----------------

    He'd miss

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  • 23. At 11:16am on 25 Jun 2009, lordSUPERFRED wrote:

    I agree with Robbo , no other sport gives as much to so little talent , a comparison say with golf where you have to QUALIFY , but the R and A are a world governing body not some gentlemans club like the LTA .
    Wimbledon is a cash cow but the money is bieng wasted, much like the shennanigins at westminster the lunatics are running the asylym

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  • 24. At 11:18am on 25 Jun 2009, andrewtheboom wrote:

    I've fallen for a few girls after flicking through the bikini section of Sports Illustrated magazine, so kudos to Andy "A-Rod" Roddick for sealing the deal.

    http://sportingchameleon.wordpress.com/

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  • 25. At 11:19am on 25 Jun 2009, Chris Tortise wrote:

    PhilW...why did Laura Robson deserve a wildcard?? She's at 488 in the rankings, so how was she going to win a match? And why not Mel South? She's the only other British woman to have broken the top 100.

    And I'm not sure people are understanding how a draw works...apart from the seeding system, it's done completely at random. So you could be drawn against another wild card, or a seed. Look at Keothavong at the French. She was in the top 50 and had to play Safina.

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  • 26. At 11:19am on 25 Jun 2009, megj181 wrote:

    Some people are reacting far OTT in response to this blog - namely 'Chris T' - Calm down mate. Someone is expressing their opinion, and he has every right to do so....

    I think the points are all correct. Our players only get wildcards because they are British. They sure as hell don't deserve them. Robbo, you do however go about about stating your point in a slightly overt way!! In response to Chris T, it is not people like Robbo who are causing our players to lose their confidence, (I highly doubt they read this) it is the LTA for continuing to let them into tournaments where they will not make any progress until they are simply better at tennis. They need to start from the ground up, play more lower level tournaments spend proper time improving their game with people at the same level as them and move up the rankings that way. Instead of being thrown in at the deepest of deep ends, just to flail under in the first wave.

    The Gulf between Murray and everyone else is huge - is it just a coincidence that he didn't actual train in this country when he was a child!!?? I think not.

    Lets move on now, from another years disappointment, and hope that we can see some distinct improvement in the younger guys and girls from now on. Instead of wasting money on those who are being exhibitioned just for the having the right colour passport!

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  • 27. At 11:20am on 25 Jun 2009, Raul Meirrysilieses wrote:

    I quite like having the spades of british cannon fodder in the first round, it gives the tournament a British feel.

    I don't think anyone will disagree when people say the system needs to improve but since its only really going to be established stars or in very rare cases someone from the top 10 who is going to win the tournament why not give British players some experience and a chance ahead of the Serbians/Russians/French etc etc

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  • 28. At 11:20am on 25 Jun 2009, Things were better under Harold Wilson wrote:

    Laura Robson desrved a wild card because she's very good and was unlucky to lose - aftyer a line call that upset her in the second set - to a very good player.

    She'll be back

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  • 29. At 11:22am on 25 Jun 2009, flyinghurdler2 wrote:

    This is why football people should find better things to do than spurt nonsense about tennis for 2 weeks every summer when there isn't anything for them to talk about.

    Honestly, you get paid to right this rubbish??

    You should be doing a column in the Sun mate, not the BBC

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  • 30. At 11:24am on 25 Jun 2009, War Baby wrote:

    £10,000 once a year for a handful of tennis players !
    .
    Peanuts compared with what hundreds of "underachieving no-marks" in football get.
    .
    Even at Middlesbrough

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  • 31. At 11:24am on 25 Jun 2009, flyinghurdler2 wrote:

    Swearing, shouting, general abuse, "my mate Tony says"??

    Is this what the BBC consider journalism nowadays??

    Your a chav Robbo.

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  • 32. At 11:25am on 25 Jun 2009, ArgieWizard wrote:

    Robson got a wildcard because I believe Junior champions from the previous year are given them automatically (or something along those lines).

    She was brilliant to watch and for a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD girl, don't forget, did tremendously - though I won't complain at a few more hours of Hantuchova on TV :)

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  • 33. At 11:25am on 25 Jun 2009, Rovers Return - HKR AWAY DAYS wrote:

    "You shouldn't be able to qualify for the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world 'cos your mum happens to have the right *!%!*?! passport!!!"

    Abso-*!%!*?!-lutely !!!

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  • 34. At 11:29am on 25 Jun 2009, rcirani wrote:

    Sorry but that's all utter nonsense. The only Brit who lost to a lower ranked player was Keothavong, and anyone who says she wasn't trying is a moron. Georgie Stoop took Vera Zvonareva to 6-4 in the third!! How can anybody possibly criticise that! It's insane. Zvonareva has been one of the very best players in the world over the past 12 months, and for Stoop to take it that far deserves the highest amount of respect and praise, which she would be getting if the British press and public knew the first thing about tennis. It's the equivalent of slamming Havant and Waterlooville for losing 5-2 at Anfield. O'Brien lost 6-4 in the third to Benesova, again a great effort, which would get the praise it deserves from people who actually know something. Cutting funding is probably the stupidest possible way of trying to improve standards. But I get the feeling Brits enjoying insulting their tennis players.

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  • 35. At 11:30am on 25 Jun 2009, Morganss wrote:

    I couldn't agree more with this blog. I read about the £10,000 cheques being awarded for being a failure in yesterdays newspaper (seeing as though it applied to all but 2 of the 'British Talent'). It's quite pathetic really

    Quite frankly, I have very little interest in the game anymore. I was doubles champion as a kid for 4 years in a row at my local lawn tennis club (though we didn't actually play on grass). However, one saturday afternoon I was knocking the ball around with my Dad on the tennis courts when, all of a sudden, some old codger who worked for the club gave my dad a telling off for wearing the wrong shoes. I didn't really play again after that.
    Some of the snobbery that surrounds the game is nauseating.

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  • 36. At 11:30am on 25 Jun 2009, bawcock wrote:

    A career founded on failure but wild card entry to Wimbledon with guaranteed first round cheque and a job at the BBC on "retirement" is a well trodden path for British tennis "players".

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  • 37. At 11:31am on 25 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    This is the first Wimbledon in which Murray has appeared where he LOOKS like a tennis player.

    A discontented, scowling stick insect, dressed like Worzel Gummidge, was never going to win anything.

    The lad might do it this year.

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  • 38. At 11:32am on 25 Jun 2009, Count Zero wrote:

    there are 4 Grandslams around the World, Wimbledon is the best at giving overseas player Wildcards. The French, Aemericans & Ozzies are mucxh more self centred, yet i dont see the horads of complaints agisnt them.
    the Americans wouldn't even give Andy Murray one after he won the Junior Version.

    As other have said many sportsmen are paid a lot of money, thats puts the £10k here to shame, week in week out. Footballers get paid for bench warming and whilst they are injured. Tennis players only get paid for competing at matches.

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  • 39. At 11:35am on 25 Jun 2009, tricky-knee59 wrote:

    You've really found the Mary Whitehouses this time Robbo.

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  • 40. At 11:35am on 25 Jun 2009, Foppotee wrote:

    I have to completely disagree with this rubbish, we need to take advantage of having one of only 4 grand slams and look after our own a little bit. Yes it will be wasted on most, but I don't old Timmy H would have reached the heights he did without the exposure and support he got as a youngster at Wimbledon.

    I'm sure the Yanks have an unfair advantage in Golf having three of four majors so lets make the most our tournament. Lets face it, if not our also rans it will be someone elses also rans. It's part of Wimbledon culture watching the plucky brit lose gallantly before watching the real games afterwards.

    Be honest Robbo at some point you've sat down and cheered on the likes of Petchy, Bates, Timmy the Tiger and the other blonde bloke who won a game once to an unlikely victories that you'd never have seen without the wildcard system.

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  • 41. At 11:37am on 25 Jun 2009, ArgieWizard wrote:

    To be honest, any 'sports' blog that links to Jordan's twitter and some image of an actor from Neighbours for references/laughs should be taken with a sack of salt as it is.

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  • 42. At 11:38am on 25 Jun 2009, Jack Bruster wrote:

    I didn't know one gets £10,000 for participating in Wimbeldon. But that Robson girl is star in making

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  • 43. At 11:39am on 25 Jun 2009, faster than our kes wrote:

    "some Frenchman with a Welsh name - Llodra? -"

    Are you asking us? Shouldn't you know someone that's ranked in the top 50? Did you know that Llodra won the Men's doubles at WIMBLEDON two years ago? You really shouldn't be writing about tennis as you clearly have no knowledge on the subject.

    "Someone called Katie O'Brien and someone called Georgie Stoop"

    Someone? I feel like a child has written this.


    "FOR GOD'S SAKE, LTA."

    If you're going to start having a go at the LTA, don't do it because they gave the Brits a few wildcards. Instead, have a go at them for paying Andy Murray's entire entourage (minus the coach). I think Murray's millions can afford to pay for a fitness coach etc and the money could be better spent at grass roots. Agree?

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  • 44. At 11:43am on 25 Jun 2009, flyinghurdler2 wrote:

    A career founded on failure but wild card entry to Wimbledon with guaranteed first round cheque and a job at the BBC on "retirement" is a well trodden path for British tennis "players".


    ------------------------------------------------


    Oh well you have shown tremendous knowledge of the sport with that comment. What on earth will the conversation in the pub revolve around tomorrow!? I bet it will be truly groundbreaking whatever it is.

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  • 45. At 11:43am on 25 Jun 2009, Wildsnoopster wrote:

    I don't have a problem with 1st rounders earning £10,000. The real problem is that the LTA have only turned out one top 10 players in the last 30 years. 30 years and only Tim Henman, that is shocking and shows there are issues in the system. You cannot blame the players (ish), they are clearly not motivated enough and they have no reason to be. They know they are guaranteed a 1st round draw and they will manage to make a living on the circuit (just).

    There are always a few that buck the trend, TH managed to do it inspite of the LTA, AM ignored the LTA as he realised how poor they are and GR was Canadian and so he was not indoctrinated into the coaching talent out and lack of mental toughness that the coaching system seems to promote.

    Don't worry about the £10,000 for poor tennis players, worry that this trend will continue without radical change for many years to come.

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  • 46. At 11:45am on 25 Jun 2009, Rushees_Nose wrote:

    You are all missing the point. In any other job, in any walk of life, if you weren't very good at it you would be fired, let alone paid. We are a nation that backs the under achiever. If I could get paid 10 grand just for turning up, I'd be extremely grateful and grab it with both hands.

    It's no good saying the womens game is going in the right direction either, one woman in the top 50 and one inside the top 100, big deal. The gulf in class from 20 upwards is huge. When was the last time we had a woman in the top 20 or dare I even suggest top 10. I'm not suggesting the mens game is any better, but in Andy Murray, at least we have a credible athlete who just may win a major sometime. As for the others, well it will be a very long time before any of them reach anywhere near his standard.

    I came from an ordinary working class family, but had plenty of access to Tennis Courts, so this suggestion that its only a game for the upper crust is laughable. It's purely a case of the powers that be not taking sport and its development in this country seriously. It's all well done lad, you gave it a go. Time has come to stop being the laughing stock of sports and start acheiving something.

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  • 47. At 11:46am on 25 Jun 2009, bulletsopinion wrote:

    The simple fact is that the majority of the Brits have little experience in the main tour events, let alone in Grand Slam events. Bogdanovic our most experienced player having been around for eight years or so has played in 25 main tour or Grand Slam events, his ranking has got him into just five of those events, he has come through qualifying in just four matches to play in the main draw of events and the rest have come courtesy of wildcards. 21 of those events have been on grass.
    The British obsession with grass tournanments (or just Wimbledon) and producing a player capable of winning Wimbledon is a major problem, on the mens main tour there are six tournaments a year on grass. With 65 tournaments this year that is a very small percentage that are played on the surface were everyone is up in arms if a Brit doesn't perform.
    There is far too much fast tracking, we need our players to build themselves on the lower tours as the French, German and Spanish do. James Ward and Joshua Goodall are doing just that, hopefully their rankings will rise as a result and they will get direct opportunities into main draws if they can get around the 120 mark, it is that regular competition at that level that will improve them as players, not wildcards at a home Grand Slam where the likelyhood is they are going to draw one of the world elite and face the English Inquisition as they have with the British press this week.

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  • 48. At 11:46am on 25 Jun 2009, paul_bcfc wrote:

    Really harsh, i agree with the likes of Bogdanovich but players who are younger deserve there chance. The players the Brits were against were all decent, Davydenk, Llondra to name a couple.

    You get paid shed loads for dishing out your rubbish and ridiculous opinions, you have one of the cushiest jobs going. How can you complain about the money they get, when you probably get more for doing nothing!

    Why the bbc waste time with your shocking blogs i don't know.

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  • 49. At 11:47am on 25 Jun 2009, Justy D wrote:

    19 (lorus59) - details of the prize money can be found here:

    http://aeltc2009.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about/pdf/Prize_Money_2009.pdf

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  • 50. At 11:47am on 25 Jun 2009, slayerfest77 wrote:

    What a stupid blog, firstly you have to take in the quality of the opponents they are facing? Just look at the Mens draw:

    Evans lost to Davydenko (12)
    Bogdanovic lost to Berdych (20)
    Murray (3) beat Kendrick
    Gooddall lost to Llodra
    Ward lost to Verdasco (7)

    So looking at that, Goodall and Murray where the only two people to not play seeded players. So Murray damn well should have won and gooddall had the best chance of the rest. However to call them all losers for not beating some of the best 32 players in this tournament is laughable. Most of the people outside the top 32 wouldn't beat them either!!!

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  • 51. At 11:47am on 25 Jun 2009, dostioffski wrote:

    Robbo,

    you raise a fair point about the Wimbledon wildcard system, especially regarding those who are repeadly gifted entry into the main draw, only to lose in the first round.

    I think the current system could be improved by limiting the age at which players can recieve wildcards. For example, players could be given wildcards up to the age of, say, 25. This would help develop younger players to gain experience, whilst older players (having benefited from previous wildcards) would have to fend for themselves and gain entry to the tournament by ranking or winning through the qualifying rounds or simply not at all.

    p.s. flyinghurdler: the comment "Your a chav Robbo" is very poor in its grammar and, well, somewhat chav-like. A more correct version would be "You're a chav Robbo".

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  • 52. At 11:48am on 25 Jun 2009, megj181 wrote:

    I agree that our guys and gals gave some better players a run for their money, but I don't think that is really the argument here. Of course they are going to play their hearts out, its their only shot, and of course, bar 2 of them, none of them actually had the ability to close out the game, despite giving it a good go!!! The fact is, they shouldn't really have been there in the first place. Anne deserved it, she has had a good year, and it is such a shame she couldn't ice the cake. Laura deserved it, she warmed the hearts of our nation last year, and gave us a real hope. She shows real promise and that is exactly what wildcards are about. But just throwing them around to any Brit is a joke. simple as.

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  • 53. At 11:48am on 25 Jun 2009, whatsinmyburger wrote:

    Britain is well known for leading the way in Science & Design. Let's build a Grand slam Champion. Gasquet's backhand, Nadal's forehand, Hewitt's heart, Ivanisovic's serve, Karlovic's stature, Federer's movement, Borg's temperament, Nastase's sense of humour and Gok wan's wardrobe.

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  • 54. At 11:49am on 25 Jun 2009, ArgieWizard wrote:

    43.
    Yes I know, we'll cut the funding to the sole British tennis player capable of making it to the Final of a Grand Slam tournament, and divide it between a host of less talented, less athletic players whose dream is to make it into the second week.

    Ludicrous.

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  • 55. At 11:52am on 25 Jun 2009, jonaht1 wrote:

    Whilst I agree that most of the British entrants are well below the required standard, it does seem to be a British problem that we still refuse to congratulate those who have got through. It would appear Robbo, that you would rather take a cheap shot at Baltacha and her tears rather than say well done on getting through and good luck for the second round. Laura Robson is the defending girls champion (the first since annabel croft) and is someone who put in a far from disgraceful performance in her Ladies first round match against an opponent 455 places above her in the rankings and a former Wimbledon QF. Also, Laura, in partnership with Georgie Stoop are through in the ladies doubles.

    I agree more needs to be done in the development of British players, but Laura Robson is an exciting prospect. We were all questioning Andy Murray and whether he would make good of his potential and take a look now!!

    Its not about nurturing those good enough to get through round 1, its about nurturing those who are good enough to go all the way!!!!

    Good luck to all those Brits who remain in the tournament!!!

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  • 56. At 11:54am on 25 Jun 2009, bawcock wrote:

    Point out one part that is incorrect in what I have said.

    I would suggest you learn to understand the message and not just read and react. But from what I can see it is a habit of yours.

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  • 57. At 11:57am on 25 Jun 2009, faster than our kes wrote:

    54. You've missed the point completely. Whoosh.

    I didn't say give all the money to the wildcards. Do you know what grass roots is? It's about building the facilites and paying for coaches etc at a young age e.g. 8, 9, 10, 11 year olds etc.

    Also, could you please tell me why you think Murray needs funding now he's earnt $8m in career prize money (+ all the money he gets from Fred Perry, RBS, Highland water etc etc etc)? Thanks.

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  • 58. At 11:58am on 25 Jun 2009, Swedishdan_manutd wrote:

    Hi Robo, think you're best off sticking to the football.
    Even if that means theres no blog over the summer, or god forbid you talk about something other than the bleeding obvious.
    U21's Championship going on at the moment, or the best team in the world being beaten, whilst at full strength, by a team who can't even get the name of the sport right.
    Who cares what the LTA pay players who go out in the first round.
    Why shouldnt we have wildcards, its all part of the tournament, and the format.
    Also, how much do you think the Boro paid their loser players week in week out?

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  • 59. At 12:07pm on 25 Jun 2009, HisDogBelle wrote:

    This blog is self-contradictory. You suggest that you wouldnt want a failed medical student as your GP - i.e. someone who is not good enough to do a job actually is allowed to do that job. Yet, you are allowed to write this for the BBC? An ostensibly poor writer, who wouldnt have made it through the journalistic qualifiers of the tabloids, collecting license-fee money to write this?

    "If we carry on like this we'll have the Cheeky Girls playing the Royal Opera House, the new Poet Laureate will be Wayne Flaming Rooney and the BBC will give Robbo a blog in its News section."

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  • 60. At 12:13pm on 25 Jun 2009, caz9999 wrote:

    couldn't agree more with 57, surely the whole point of taxpayers' money is to invest in kids playing sports, not effectively to subsidise failure. government money is occasionally available to fund other jobs in life (eg teaching) because that is seen as useful to society, but in most careers you pay for your own training and if you're not good enough then tough. why it should be seen as especially useful to society for someone to become a decent tennis player i don't know. and i had absolutely no idea that murray's coach was paid for with taxpayers' money, which seems both staggering and shameful, whether he is no.3 in the world, no.1, or no.33 is irrelevant.
    read an article once on ivanovic - ok, there were a few pictures in there i admit - referring to her growing up and practicing in a drained swimming pool in between bombings of her hometown, she had to rely on sponsorship from local businessmen (well, i might have been tempted...) rather than handouts from the government. bet that type of upbringing would toughen up the brits...

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  • 61. At 12:14pm on 25 Jun 2009, littletennisfreak wrote:

    The LTA aren't just paying them too much - they're also feeding them too much. Have you seen the bellies on some of our girls?? How can they call themselves committed sportswomen if they are carrying at least a stone extra in weight? One in particular really shocked me: Naomi Cavaday. She is positively over weight. Her movement around the court was embarrassing, my 8 year old daughter could move quicker.

    Andy Murray gave up alcohol, pumped up his body and went on a healthy diet because he wanted to be 'THE BEST'. Not just a 'top player' but THE BEST. None of the top players have love handles and pot bellies. Get a grip LTA, stop being mediocre, get these guys fit and then maybe they'll stand half a chance.

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  • 62. At 12:18pm on 25 Jun 2009, ArgieWizard wrote:

    Our Kes:

    He's earned that much 'prize' money because he's a decent player - and it complements the funding (or to make a point, 'wage') like a bonus would to chief executives at successful businesses. Murray's job is to compete in a sport where doing well is rewarded with extra money. He shouldn't have to use his fairly obtained prize money to pay for what is funded by the Association for other players.

    As to sponsorship, brands target successful players like Murray to boost their products. Again these earnings are extra monetary rewards based on Murray's high profile in the sport. It isn't his fault.

    Essentially you're saying that because Murray has proven that he can be successful in sport, now he should suffer for it by reducing his funding. I have no doubt he could afford it (probably him, his brother and Robson and then some) but that isn't the point.

    I know full well what grass roots means so yes I didn't reply exactly to what you said. I think our 8, 9, 10 and 11 year olds need to stop being obese (over 10% if I remember rightly) before they pick up racquets, however.

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  • 63. At 12:21pm on 25 Jun 2009, Nujinho wrote:

    Agree with tonytorra - harsh but true.

    I think the problem seems to be, exemplified by Bogdanovic, that these players lack the bottle/temperament/composure to perform at the top level. By all accounts, Boggo has some talent, but he has displayed at Wimbledon and the Davis Cup that he has clearly doesn't have the mental powers to be successful.

    It sounds draconian but i do think a cut in funding will help focus minds, which is the key element that all these players are missing....

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  • 64. At 12:21pm on 25 Jun 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Robbo, mate always a fan... And this is a corker!

    (Thank you tennis fans for being more touchy than Man U and Liverpool fans... you've done the impossible!)

    Couldn't agree more with these hoorah-henrys (and henriettas) getting 10K for being the best of a bad bunch! Shocking mate, all for supporting the grass roots, but i think maybe if the tornament had more quality players in, more people might actually find this ridiculous game interesting... Me? No, never, it's not my cup of tea at all! Most people that do like it only seem to like it for 2 weeks a year and those that follow it closely seem a bit, well... weird. Just my opinion, before i'm chastised for being a chav, most people in to fringe sports seem that way, like pot-holers or race-walkers... Each to there own though, fair play to you, not having a dig...

    Sorry your getting the harsh criticism aswell fella, some guy above has the audacity to call you a journalist! The cheeky so-and-so...


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  • 65. At 12:28pm on 25 Jun 2009, tom oo wrote:

    I think we need to ask the question, why do we even care?
    Tennis is simply not a mass participation sport in the UK. Your average person in the street has never swung a tennis racquet in anger. It is not your average persons sport in our country. It is a sport reserved mainly for the upper classes, the wealthy elite who have the money and facilities available to them. No wonder were rubbish at it none of us play it!
    So why do so many of us care? Its simple its because the BBC relentlessly forces it down our throats, and into our conscience for 3 or 4 weeks every year! If it wasnt for this massive BBC hype each year then your average person on the street really wouldnt give a monkeys about a couple of toffs hitting a fuzzy ball back and forth. If it wasnt for the Beeb then wed never have heard of this current crop of losers, and they wouldnt be receiving these ridiculous handouts of £10k just to run around a patch of grass for an hour and a half, once a year. If it weren't for the BBC, the general public simply wouldnt care. Ironic, isnt it!
    So come on BBC, lets see some sense and stop this ridiculous over-the-top coverage of a sport that none of us even get the opportunity to play. Lets broaden our horizons and have a bit of variety. There are plenty of other sports out there that were good at, that your average person off the street can compete in, and with real world class British sportsmen and women who we can get behind. Let's say goodbye once and for all to this endless, futile worship of tennis!

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  • 66. At 12:35pm on 25 Jun 2009, faster than our kes wrote:

    62 -

    "Essentially you're saying that because Murray has proven that he can be successful in sport, now he should suffer for it by reducing his funding. I have no doubt he could afford it (probably him, his brother and Robson and then some) but that isn't the point."

    Yes. He doesn't need the funding, it's better spent elsewhere so it should be cut. I wouldn't say he would "suffer" for it though.

    10% obese? So what? A lot of kids aren't obese, do have talent but their potential isn't being fulfilled because of the lack of funding due to it being spent on Andy Murray's haircut. But that's not the point, of course.

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  • 67. At 12:39pm on 25 Jun 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    Why / Who / What thought my first comment broke the house rules?

    And does anyone know how to respond to the auto-generated text?

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  • 68. At 12:39pm on 25 Jun 2009, Feel The Magic wrote:

    Nice one Robbo - the split in reaction to your comments is almost on par with the usual Liverpool/United bunfight that tends to highjack your comments pages.
    I'm with you on the poor (quality) British kids and older also rans being given disproportionate access to Wimbledon - and payment too.
    I must say though, after reading the numerous comments that defend these players, the LTA, etc., that the standards of spelling and grammar are the best I've seen on any of your ealier blogs. Let's hear it for private education!

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  • 69. At 12:46pm on 25 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Bearing in mind that any one of the British men who was knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon is able to wipe the floor with whoever will become the women's champion, the maximum prize for the women's champ should be £10,000.

    Or does the "equality" lobby not work in that way?

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  • 70. At 12:49pm on 25 Jun 2009, Cynicall_Sid wrote:

    We will never consistently produce players who are capable of breaking into the world's top 50 until the elitist attitude of tennis is banished once and for all.

    Tennis club's are the preserve of the rich and the middle classes who aspire to becoming club captain, very similar to the old golf clubs which began to change in the late 1960s, early 1970s.

    Strangely, when that game was opened up to the masses, we began to compete with the Americans in majors and the Ryder Cup.

    Tennis as a sport needs to be opened up. Courts, outdoor and indoor should be built in every town that are affordable for everyone. Coaches should be coaching all young kids, those that are good enough and want to pursue the sport, should receive more one to one coaching to improve their skills.

    Until we have an egalitarian structure in the sport, the same miserable failure at Wimbledon, and the other slams, will continue long into the future.

    Regarding the handing out of first round loser cheques...Make the current crop of failures qualify for the event. All wild cards should be going to promising kids, by which I mean 15-16 to give them experience of a big tournament and then you will discover their mettle. If they cope, they may have a future, if they don't, thanks, but no thanks, who's next?

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  • 71. At 12:53pm on 25 Jun 2009, GregJUK wrote:

    I'm going to blow the dust off my Yellow and Black Head Radical. Get on a tennis court with a bucket of Slazenger Wimbledons. Hit slice serves until I think I can lose a set on grass 6-3. Then show up to Wimby and ask for 10 G's. That'll work right?

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  • 72. At 12:56pm on 25 Jun 2009, Count Zero wrote:

    i find it amazing so many people claim that Bogdanvoic and Goodall have 'failed' when they are both currently within the top 200 in the world. How many posters here who claim these 2 are failures are in the worlds top 200 in their chosen profession? i'm guessing not many.

    Then everyone says we need more kids playign tennis. which i agree with, but how can you persuade a kid that tennis is a sport to dedicate themselves too when, unless you turn out to be Roger Federer, you will get constantly vilified in the press? Henman always got criticised and so will Andy if he doesn't win Wimbledon this year, especially as Nadal is out, he's basically been handed the title on a plate apparently. Why would you want to inflict that upon yourself, better stick to football where being mediocre on a global scale is rewarded with several thousands pounds a week, and a the safety of a contract.

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  • 73. At 12:56pm on 25 Jun 2009, darkvalleysboy1978 wrote:

    Until Tennis becomes a sport for the grass-roots (no pun intended) and not for the aristocrats then we will continue to fail at this sport as the pool of potentially talented players is extremely limited. It's frankly disgusting that these losers get a guaranteed £10k payout every year. If they have no hope of winning their first match they should not be entered, simple as that. After all where is the incentive to improve? Where is the drive if you're guaranteed this payout regardless?
    This money could instead be given to the talented youngsters to improve their skills, or to pay of the exceptional coaches to coach the youngsters who have the potential to return that investment.

    Basically until the LTA make tennis accessible to everyone and not just the rich and well connected then we will continue to fail miserably at tennis.

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  • 74. At 12:57pm on 25 Jun 2009, total_striker wrote:

    To add to "whatsthebeef" comment, number 8.
    I totally agree. Women should get much less money than the men. Why?
    Because as mentioned, they play less tennis(best of 3 as opposed to 5)
    The the primary reason why they shouldn't get paid the same is because the quality is far poorer. The trouble with equal rights botherers is that they want the benefits but not the down sides. "we want the same money as the male winner (Nadal, Federer, Sampras etc) but we don't want to have to play and beat them to have the money."
    If the women would pitch up and play the best men off the court then they should get the same money.
    Look at golf. The times that women have played against the men have been embarrassing for them. Their best players getting thrashed by mediocre, unheard of men.
    Face it, women in any sport should not expect EQUAL pay unless they can prove they are EQUALLY as good as the men.
    Either that or you let men compete in the women's draw and vice versa. I'm sure a few lower ranked blokes would like to bank that winner's cheque. I heard John McEnroe say he would still be able to beat VEnus Williams and he wasn't joking! lol How do you think the girls would fair in the men's draw?? hmmmmm

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  • 75. At 1:10pm on 25 Jun 2009, Dilen147 wrote:

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  • 76. At 1:11pm on 25 Jun 2009, Butch Clown's villainous uncle Claude wrote:

    I've never read one of Robbo's blogs before and I never will again. This is 'journalism' at its worst and least funniest, with not a single original thought or even mildly humourous aside.

    This dross appears to be the epitome of 'dumbing down' at the BBC and I shudder to think that someone gets paid to peddle this rubbish.

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  • 77. At 1:15pm on 25 Jun 2009, Dilen147 wrote:

    I agree with everything said, I have long since said that wildcards should be given in exceptional circumstances and being British and needing the 10k coz you've won no matches all year doesn't count. It should be the same in all grand slams where the 128 playing are the top 128 in the world. Wildcards should be given to exceptional juniors who have had a good year, past champions coming back from injury and deserving cases. The LTA give wildcards to ppl in the top 250, what about the other non British players in the top 250 its unfair to given them a crack at ranking points and prize money they dont deserve. I can only think of one deserving wildcard this year and that is Ferrero who won a slam this decade and can be classed as "enhancing the tournament"

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  • 78. At 1:17pm on 25 Jun 2009, Rick wrote:

    Regardless of which of our up and coming superstars to be should have been given a wildcard, and some of them should have been given wildcards, the main point is surely that we keep throwing money at the LTA and they don't produce results.

    This group of failures is just the next generation of not-even-also-rans. I can't believe that there is something in the British gentic makeup which prevents us belting a yellow ball around a rectangular court and the only common theme is that their careers were all guided by the LTA.

    Crikey, I even felt strong enough about this blog that I registered to post this comment and I don't even like tennis, but I am patriotic and would support an English player in a tiddlywinks tournament (and I would even like to see a Scot win Wimbledon this year in the absence of any Englishman with the bottle and ability to even come close).

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  • 79. At 1:18pm on 25 Jun 2009, englandcomeon wrote:

    I agree with Sweedishdan. Moaning about the monies awarded to the pick of the UK tennis playing crop is like moaning about MPs expenses but squealing about not allowing them to raise their salaries so they they don't claim for all sorts in the first place. The wild card system is no different than the nation putting on say the World Cup, what nation will put up the money for an event where there's no participation of the hosts?

    What's needed is a nationwide network of cheap, modern facilities and spreading funds around the country not just focusing investment in one or two centres. What's the point in begrudging these players a chance to take part in one of the greatest events in the tennis calender?

    Shouldn't we be talking up the fact that the game has its roots in the UK and that youngsters ought to be encouraged to participate in sport instead is rubbishing those that are dedicated enough to stick with it beyond their mid-teens?

    This article is way too harsh and does not do justice to the successes and make those responsible for the failures in UK sport answerable. It's just blaming the "victims"

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  • 80. At 1:19pm on 25 Jun 2009, DT wrote:

    Completely agree.

    But Amongst the tosh, Keothavong is getting somewhere now. And there are a few decent looking young ones who could get somewhere.

    Chris Eaton (21) looked pretty handy for the lads and maybe Josh Goodall (23) might do a 'Keothavong' surge up the rankings at some point . Then Stoop (21) and Robson (15) could well make it somewhere in the game.

    But all the rest are pretty rubbish.

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  • 81. At 1:24pm on 25 Jun 2009, bulletsopinion wrote:

    Heres something everyone should ask themselves, how many of the British players had you heard of prior to this Wimbledon? How many will you here about from August to next June?
    The British fixation with one tournament, plenty of column inches for tennis for the four weeks of the English grass season, then nothing.
    When you have the British Davis Cup captain commentating on a match between two top 50 players and saying the majority of people won't know anything about these players, why? Because tennis gets virtually know media coverage for the rest of the year. Don't be expecting to see anything in the papers about a Brit getting to the semi in a challenger or ITF event. If you get KO'd in the first round at Wimbledon against a player ranked higher than you though, that is headline news. What a joke!

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  • 82. At 1:32pm on 25 Jun 2009, Barkstriker wrote:

    lol

    "You don't expect a failed medical student to be given a wild card in to your local GP practice, do you? You don't expect your kids to be taught by some half-fit numpty who once spelt a whole sentence correctly."

    You don't expect someone who obviously doesn't know anything about tennis to be writing about it on the BBC website.

    Pretty funny blog, but less so when you take into account that what you are asking the young players to do is either beat players who are far better than them or quit tennis. They were tough draws- it would have been a miracle if any of them had won.

    What you are saying about the money is likesaying that a lower league club shouldn't receive the gate money unless they slay the giants in the FA cup. Sometimes in sport you will get money for taking part- FACT.

    Also how much would Paul Robinson charge to "give them all an almighty kick up the backside" probably a lot more than 10K! Let's be honest if you want to look at a sport where losers get rich then tennis isn't top of the list is it. Michael Owen?!

    I normally like your blogs mate, but all you've done here is re-iterate why tennis really isn't a working class sport.... it's because you just don't get it!

    p.s. comment 69 is great!

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  • 83. At 1:33pm on 25 Jun 2009, Barkstriker wrote:

    p.s. I should note however that your comments about Andy & Tim Henman are spot on... maybe you do kinna get it!

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  • 84. At 1:36pm on 25 Jun 2009, Schmicholl wrote:

    # 34 "The only Brit who lost to a lower ranked player was Keothavong".

    This seems to be a fairly common defence at the moment of those players handed wildcards. Surely however this is a defence behind which british players who underachieve can always hide. Presumably they are handed wildcards due to their low rankings.

    As a consquence in the vast majority of cases will they not face a higher ranked player ever year, and if as is suggested implicitly in the defence they can't be expected to beat a player ranked higher than themselves isn't gifting them wildcards preventing other younger talent from taking their place?

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  • 85. At 1:36pm on 25 Jun 2009, HereComesTheBigShow wrote:

    Women's tennis has slumped so far behind the mens game right now that the only reason for tuning into any of their matches is to letch at the fit ones. And Dear God there are some crackers at the moment - Sharapova, Ivanovic, Hantuchova, Dulko, Jankovic (I like her anyway) and many others including one brave girl whose trying to compete despite having a pair of double D's strapped to her front. So why are we giving wildcards to a bunch of complete rotters and a 15 year old? Even if Laura Robson was attractive, I'm not allowed to look. The LTA has got to play to it's strengths to keep the revenue flowing in. None of the current crop are going to win a game but there has to be so stonkingly fit club players out there they could let in? Very strange.

    As for wild cards to the men, well I don't care really. There's so many superb matches in the mens draw that I can punch the red button and watch one. Might as well give them the pay-day if there's no great talents who are going to miss out.

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  • 86. At 1:38pm on 25 Jun 2009, Bluefuzz wrote:

    Some people appear to be under the illusion that wildcards are unique to Wimbledon. They're not. Every Grand Slam has them and in every case the host country gives them out to their own players.


    It's to promote home interest and gives players a chance to pit themselves against some of the best in the world, maybe increase their ranking and, yes, get some money that will help with their funding.

    Would you be able to live on £10,000 a year including travelling, competition fees, coaching expenses, hotel costs as well as domestic bills, food etc?

    The idea that these players are some kind of 'benefit thieves' for getting wildcards is not only insulting, it's ignorant.These players are among the top 250 in the world in a hugely competitive sport.

    And yet I'd bet that a high percentage of those who ridicule our tennis players support football teams made up of no-marks who aren't even in the top 2500 in the world and yet earn a far bigger wage packet.

    A bit of persepctive wouldn't go amiss.

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  • 87. At 1:40pm on 25 Jun 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    As ever Robbo, packed with insight and a good measure of tongue-in-cheek (or something) wisdom. You've rattled a few new cages this week, don't hold back lad.

    Gareth Southgate has about as much chance of winning a Grand Slam in the next decade as any other Englishman. The development of the game in England seems to be a never-ending topic of discussion, very limited success to date but they'll keep on yapping. Maybe the nippers just prefer other English sports? Sure they'll whack a tennis ball against the wall for two weeks each summer but it's straight back to cricket and football after the Champions Ball.

    Besides that, I reckon you already have about 30 Grand Slam Blogging titles, keep it up.

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  • 88. At 1:52pm on 25 Jun 2009, englandcomeon wrote:

    And yet I'd bet that a high percentage of those who ridicule our tennis players support football teams made up of no-marks who aren't even in the top 2500 in the world and yet earn a far bigger wage packet.

    A bit of persepctive wouldn't go amiss.
    ####################################

    I agree, I currently live in Germany and the standard of players compared to the wages/transfer fees is far greater.

    Where did players like Berbatov learn a good deal of his trade, right in Leverkusen.

    There are so many average-to-rubbish play in the EPL, that have been bought at over-inflated prices and earn a fortune just being in the reserves or warning the bench. There is a lot wrong with UK sport, but dissing the tennis players won't help.

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  • 89. At 1:56pm on 25 Jun 2009, idyson wrote:

    I think it sums the total of the british sports mentality everbody loves a trier but nobody pushes for an out and out winner like the rest of the world why we are allways second

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  • 90. At 1:58pm on 25 Jun 2009, hyperchief wrote:

    Without fail every year for the Wimbledon fortnight.

    1) Everyone suddenly appears to be an expert on all things Tennis. From the technical details of a kick serve to Murray's/Henman's life story.

    2) Every public 'pay n play' tennis court is full of people who mark the fortnight with their annual attempt to enjoy tennis. Soon realise thay what they see on TV bares little resemblance to what the vast majority of the population can actually do and reside to another 50 weeks of doing anything apart from tennis.

    3) Commentators and journalists line up to give the 'Britain's not good enough at tennis', we know what's wrong - they're all overpaid. They probably write the story in a slow period in January or something and then just fill in the blanks of the player's names.

    There are lots of things wrong with British Tennis, and having worked within the tennis industry, i know quite a few of them.

    Firstly, if you are good at tennis it costs an absolute fortune. Playing in the park courts once or twice a week is not going to turn you into a player. Players with talent have to play 10-20 hours at least every week from the age of about 6 or 7 to have any chance. Tennis is a completely professional sport - i don't know of any volunteer coaches like other sports.

    Go to your local club and find out how much an hour's squad coaching is for a young person. If you can get it for less than £4 you've got a good deal. The higher you go the more it costs. Also, that's only for a group of about 8:1 player/coach ratio. To really hone your talent you need less than 4:1 with 4 hours a week of individual lessons.

    And in tournaments, travel, equipment, etc and it's obvious to be good at tennis requires money, lots of it. Because of this there is only a fraction of the population that can afford for their children to play tennis to a high level. And quite often the most physically gifted come from the families and areas with the least.

    Secondly, British Tennis and the LTA need to find and agree a plan for the development of the game and the creation of 'world' level players at all levels STICK to it. Too many times the LTA changes direction and focus and moves the goal posts for all involved. There have been too many new appointments at all levels of the organisation and too many policy shifts. I think they need to find a plan and give it chance to work - this may take 10-15 years to fully see the fruits. Changing every couple of years just makes the sport seem amateur.

    Thirdly, why do Britains think that our country should be at the top level of every sport. Whichever sport is in the current public eye if Britain/England aren't the best then we bloody well should be. For a country of 60m we do expect to be the best at everything. I expect there would be hoo-hah if we didn't reach the semi-finals of the European tiddly winks Championships.

    Last point. To get to a stage where you are good enough to play at Wimbledon means that you are a very good player. People do not see the quality of player and the massive gulf between players. I worked with a guy who got to around top 30 in British men and had a world ranking at some point of about 1400. To see this guy up close and watch him play, or play a few games against him, you see how good these guys are. I rate myself as an ok club player - not the best, but certainly not the worst - but i couldn't really get near this guy in any aspect of the game. But in reality the difference between this player and those in the top 15 of the British game is huge. The difference between top 15 and the top 5 or 6 who get wildcards to Wimbledon is again a massive gulf. And ultimately the difference between these 5 or 6 British guys and players who are regularly in the top 100 in the world is again massive.

    The 5 or 6 wildcards are fantastic players who have dedicated so many hours to their pursuit of glory. Their 'inability' at this level isn't through a lack of training or desire. There is no golden bullet for producing tennis players and the difference between a Murray and a Bogdanovic in their development may have been something quite small. What Britain needs are more players at every level raising the quality of game so that there are more chances for the few to make the breakthrough.

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  • 91. At 2:00pm on 25 Jun 2009, BFL wrote:

    I must say, this article is rubbish. How our are British players supposed to get any better without getting exposure in high profile tournements - i.e. Wimbledon. I'll admit Bogdanavic, at 25, should not be considered again for a wild card, but younger players should - even if they lose early on. We have to give our young tennis players every opportunity to prove themselves - take for example Chris Eaton last year (admittedly not wild-carded) but his third round was a great success and only by giving wild cards out to our young talent will we ever see this kind of success.

    On the whole free £10,000 nonsence - why do you think we lack quality tennis players?
    1) Not enough high quality coaches.
    2) Not enough talent scouts.
    3) Not enough money for young talent to live sustainable lives and train consistantly.
    4) Not enough money to attract young talent away from football and the money sports.
    The way to solve all these problems - invest in our young tennis talent.
    This blog has missed the true problem in Tennis - the system, which isn't nurturing young talent. Not Wildcards.

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  • 92. At 2:01pm on 25 Jun 2009, hermannredux wrote:

    Where does this ten grand per first-round loser come from?

    Same place as the rest of the Wimbledon prize money.

    Where does the appeal of Wimbledon come from?

    Among other things, from British presence in the first couple of rounds.

    It's easy to say everyone only wants to see Andy and Roger and Maria, but try telling that to all the spectators crammed into court number 12 or wherever to see the latest Brit hopeful lose. Not to mention the TV cameras glued to their every failed drop-shot.

    The bottom line is first-round losers get paid ten grand because the organisers can afford to pay it. The fact these losers happen to be British only boosts the coffers. Would anyone bother going to the smaller courts, and would the TV cameras be focused on those minor matches, if the players were the world N° 70 from Argentina against the world N° 135 from Ukraine? Unlikely...



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  • 93. At 2:01pm on 25 Jun 2009, Mark wrote:

    Number 86 - Would you be able to live on 10,000 a year including travelling, competition fees, coaching expenses, hotel costs as well as domestic bills, food etc?

    No I wouldnt manage that at all......so I would look to change career like I suspect the majority of British tennis players over the age of 23 should do. If you havent already made an impact by this age I find it hard to believe you ever will.

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  • 94. At 2:09pm on 25 Jun 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    BlueFuzz...

    "Would you be able to live on ?10,000 a year including travelling, competition fees, coaching expenses, hotel costs as well as domestic bills, food etc?"

    No... If my only income was from my Wimbledon wild card though, i would quit, get a real job and stop chasing silly dreams...

    "And yet I'd bet that a high percentage of those who ridicule our tennis players support football teams made up of no-marks who aren't even in the top 2500 in the world and yet earn a far bigger wage packet"

    Granted, i do support a football team... But no one at the mighty Shots gets 10k for one match... Though we are likely to lose in the opening round of any tornament... As for the EPL, if the season were a 2 week spectacle i would agree, its not, it's a constant multi-billion pound industry. A bit of persepctive wouldn't go amiss... (i am not justifying the money footballers get, just putting the 2 sports in perspective)

    BarkStriker

    "I normally like your blogs mate, but all you've done here is re-iterate why tennis really isn't a working class sport.... it's because you just don't get it!"

    Ouch... Almost dropped my benefit cheque reading that one!






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  • 95. At 2:12pm on 25 Jun 2009, cageyvilla wrote:

    I just wanted to say that I hope that the British public and press don't put a huge amount of pressure on Laura Robson in the next couple of years. She is good but not that good. Her serve was very hit and miss. Was it 6 double faults. Every year Henman was going to win Wimbledon and obviously he never did. He was never good enough. The same applies to Murray I think if Nadal had been there he wouldn't have a chance of getting to the final.

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  • 96. At 2:14pm on 25 Jun 2009, EarlThePearl wrote:

    # 29 and 31

    That should have been 'you're', not 'your', looks like you've picked up your English skills from a Sun writer mate.

    This is a blog. Not a column. It is based on opinion. A continually funny and reasoned opinion. If you do not like the way Robbo writes, do not read him. Simple. Those who do like reading about his slant on all things sporting will be glad when you do one.

    Thanks.

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  • 97. At 2:31pm on 25 Jun 2009, Medieval-Evil wrote:

    The truth is, us Brits don't really care for tennis. We like, nay, LOVE Wimbledon, but as to the rest of the tour, we couldn't really give a damn unless Murray gets into the latter stages. The rest of the year we're too concerned with football to be bothering with anything else.

    Combine this with the scarcity of tennis courts, along with the chokehold their wealthy owners have on them, and it's hardly surprising that Britain struggles to produce top talent. I mean, if a few boys (or girls) fancy a game of football or rugby, all they need is a ball and a couple of jumpers. Tennis requires an expensive racquet, multiple balls, membership of the 'local' club and the willingness to stand up to the middle-aged doubles players who hog the courts through all the hours of daylight.

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  • 98. At 2:31pm on 25 Jun 2009, hermannredux wrote:

    Number 90 - excellent post, really worth the read.

    Reminds me a bit of the bit in Fever Pitch where Nick Nornby dissects the process leading a football player from "brilliant" at youth level through to "very good" at senior level then "mediocre" at pro level.

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  • 99. At 2:31pm on 25 Jun 2009, Bluefuzz wrote:

    Red Blue Army

    Of course the players don't rely on the income from Wimbledon to get them through the year but some people around here seem to think they do. £10,000 is not that much and players have to work extremely hard all year round to ensure that they can not only pay the bills but also try to improve and develop their game. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn't worth listening to.

    Regarding your last comment - the tennis season is as long as, if not longer, than the football season. Yet the only money the players see is prizemoney, like the £10,000 at Wimbledon, sponsorship and LTA funding. And as someone else mentioned previously, if they're injured they're not getting 'paid' as they can't compete in tournaments.

    The fact of the matter is, the media love rubbishing British tennis players because it makes so-called journalists like Robbo feel superior and allows them to get in a few cheap gags along the way.

    Hyperchief is spot on and his is the best post on this blog so far, imo. The players deserve far more respect and the LTA needs time for its new structures put in place three years ago to start working. If the system is changed yet again, which is what many people and so-called experts seem to be calling for, then we'll almost certainly continue to witness the kind of results we saw this week.

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  • 100. At 2:38pm on 25 Jun 2009, mark wrote:

    i agree to one extent robbo but i would rather sw19 money going to a young brit rather than a young foreinger. could you imagine the posts on here if that was happening? it all about trying to help the lower ranked people. on a similar scale should the f.a. take away boro's parachute payment?

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  • 101. At 2:38pm on 25 Jun 2009, Count Zero wrote:

    As a side note the guy that beat Boggo, Tomas Berdych, just beat the world number 38 (and previous world number 12) 62 64 64. that's 1 game less than Boggo managed. So maybe Boggo didn't do so bad after all this time.

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  • 102. At 2:58pm on 25 Jun 2009, nd wrote:

    To No. 8 comment.

    I totally agree, finally I read or hear someone else make this point. Don't get me wrong by all means women should be paid the same as the men but surely only if they play the same amount of tennis. I mean the theoretically the women's champion can play less tennis than a man who loses in round three. To me thats not fair. And the argument that women aren't as physical as the men just doesn't fly. Its relative women are only playing against other women.

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  • 103. At 3:02pm on 25 Jun 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    BlueFuzz..

    We can agree on one point, Hyperchief's post is superb... really well written, and he does know what he's on about (more than i can honestly say for myself in regards to tennis, as i said in previous post not my cup of tea)

    I think on other fronts we can agree to disagree, any one who can be quoted as saying "£10,000 is not that much" is never likely to see eye to eye with me... But it does however highlight the classist attitude which many others have commented on... as a grazed knee'd youth from a council estate in one of Britains premier "chav" towns, i was subject to the snooty attitudes of the hoy-tee-toy-tee tennis club members, threatening to call the police, shouting abuse at us chasing us off the courts... We were only playing a bit of three-and-in! Must have had the wrong shoes on!

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  • 104. At 3:03pm on 25 Jun 2009, foxtrot_charlie wrote:

    it wouldn't really be wimbledon if we didn't have just 1 plucky brit to pin our hopes to would it?

    ...and there she is, lovely lucy.

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  • 105. At 3:05pm on 25 Jun 2009, englandcomeon wrote:

    why do Britains think that our country should be at the top level of every sport.
    #####################

    Fair enough, but how then can it be that German athletes are always in and around the medals at nigh-on everything, from handball to Ironman, with just 22 million more?
    According to that argument Scotland should never produce any medals or world champions.

    We are right to expect more, it's a bit like the health service, chucking money at it only works if it used in the right manner and not wasted.

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  • 106. At 3:08pm on 25 Jun 2009, Whiteoutloud wrote:

    A lot of the problem with Tennis today is thanks to successive Councils and government directives.
    When I was at school, Tennis was taught as part of the PE. All the large parks had well maintained Tennis courts that were open to the public and were the responsiblilty of the Local Council. Everybody, but most importantly, young people could all play the game (all you needed was a racket and some Tennis balls) and it encouraged yougsters to get a feel for the game.
    These park courts have all but disappeared now or are so dilapidated that your ground stokes compete with the nettles as you hit the ball through the holes in the net. Schools don't teach sport any longer as children shouldn't be taught competitive sports as they mustn't experience the feeling of defeat.
    British Tennis has no chance in the current exclusive climate!

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  • 107. At 3:10pm on 25 Jun 2009, dmrichkt wrote:

    It's funny rich kid sports(F1,Tennis, golf....zzzz)have the richest rewards. They're a bit like the dole for toffs. No-one minds these jumped up little squirts earning in excess of 10 million a year, but if a working class footballer earns a hundred grand a week it's repugnant to their sensibilities. I'd have thought a northerner like Robbo would have as much time fr tennis as he would for bidets or crustless, cucumber sandwiches. However, perhaps he's gone all Joe Lampton on us. Is it as John Braine said,"Scratch the surface of any working class lad and there's a bourgeois just waiting to get out"?

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  • 108. At 3:13pm on 25 Jun 2009, Bluefuzz wrote:

    RABA - I was speaking in relative terms - £10,000 is of course a lot to you and I but not much to a tennis player. But anyway, this could go on all day so probably best to leave it there!

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  • 109. At 3:24pm on 25 Jun 2009, hristopher wrote:

    it's nothing new to the tennisfollowers the french do the same they enlist a whole range of players to he french open but here's a difference between the french and the brits (players) the french seem not to loose before the match starts whereas with the brits you can draw out the result before the draw is done if you know what I mean.
    chris rosmalen

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  • 110. At 3:26pm on 25 Jun 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Fairplay Bluefuzz mate... I think we both have made valid points, and i have had my rant and given my Working Class chip a good work out... Do it every wimbers! lol.

    Robbo... someone else mentioned this, U-21 & Confederations cup... Your writing about tennis??? The only footy blogs up are Chris Jardine going to see Oasis and Mihir Bose talking about... well.. i'm not sure what, i fell asleep before i got the Jist of it... Get penning something, and a bit of top four bashing wouldn't go a miss, right now thier are Mancs and Scouses not arguing every minor detail of thier teams! Do you want to live in that world?

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  • 111. At 3:31pm on 25 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    And a Williams powers through to Round Three, beating someone no one has ever heard of in inside an hour.

    Wow! Edge of the seat stuff! Wish the men were that good!

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  • 112. At 3:33pm on 25 Jun 2009, Bill T wrote:

    Good Blog Robbo. Britains tennis is at an all time low. other countries, with less population are consistantly putting out players who reach the top 100 and higher.

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  • 113. At 3:43pm on 25 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    And now ANOTHER Williams is through - this time taking an eye-watering 69 minutes.

    These women players. They're just so darned EFFICIENT! It takes the men SO much longer - and, occasionally, there's a degree of doubt about the outcome.

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  • 114. At 3:43pm on 25 Jun 2009, COVENTRYBRIAN wrote:

    Spot on Robbo. I agree 100%, especially with regard to Alex Bogdanovic - a total waste of space. In fact he is continually taking up space that someone else should have !
    At least young Laura Robson is showing real potential for the future.

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  • 115. At 3:46pm on 25 Jun 2009, ArgieWizard wrote:

    Our kes:

    The point is Murray's extra wealth is a result of his success. He has earned it and can spend his Fred Perry sponsorship money on haircuts and buying his bird D&G sunglasses or whatever. Why should his funding for tennis outgoings be cut simply because his success has afforded him a large disposable income? It's like me turning up to my job one day, and the company saying "Right you've earned a promotion and a pay rise, well done! Unfortunately you need to buy your own computer to work at, and pay for the electricty you use here."

    But then your jibe about Murray's hair cut has just gone to show your vitriol directed at the funding, however well intended, is driven by either jealousy or cynicism at Murray's success so I've decided not to take your opinions too seriously.

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  • 116. At 3:47pm on 25 Jun 2009, ArgieWizard wrote:

    Zootmac to use a well worn phrase; you cannot be serious.

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  • 117. At 3:58pm on 25 Jun 2009, whatbill wrote:

    I agree that they players don't really deserve £10k for a wild card entry, but it is peanuts compared to the number of footballers cleaning up the sky revenue and inflated season ticket sales. How much money did the newcastle united squad deserve last season?

    If the wildcards encourage young talent to develop then its worth it. In the case of those turning up for their umpteenth annual first round exit, proably not. Maybe if you're a wildcard, you should get expenses for the first round and then start earning money if you win games. It'll never happen though...

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  • 118. At 4:04pm on 25 Jun 2009, Count Zero wrote:

    There is a downside to being a Wildcard. In tennis your ranking is determined by your best 18 results over a rolling year period. However Grand Slams must count. Normally if you lose 1st rd you get 5 pts (plus possibly more if you cam through qualifying), but if you are a WC entry you get 0 points. So a player who lost 1st rd via WC like Goodall, Boggo etc will now only be able to count their best 17 events, effectively having to carry a Zero pointer all year. Which puts them at a slight disadvantage against some who doesn't have to carry a zero.

    As i said its only small but it is there, as it may mean you end up ranked a few places lower, and therefore maybe miss the cut for some events so have to go into qualifying, or miss out on a seeding spot etc.

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  • 119. At 4:06pm on 25 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    ref 116 ArgieWizard

    Serious? I used to think that the baseline was what Bill Wyman read from his music book. Then I discovered women's tennis.

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  • 120. At 4:08pm on 25 Jun 2009, greenthinker wrote:

    whatsthebeef, comment number 8, i used to agree with you, but actually it is only the matches which women spend less time playing. I don't think the women players practice less, or give up less of their lives to play tennis, so your analogy with a working week is unfair. the prize money should be equal because all the preparation is equal, the "full-time" job aspect of it is equal, including all the ridiculous celebrity pressures etc. and actually, it could be argued that a top woman player gives up more of her life, in that a man can have a family during this time, but for a woman it is much harder. However, i wouldn't argue this. It is also important to set an example that equal pay should exist.

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  • 121. At 4:15pm on 25 Jun 2009, hackerjack wrote:

    There should be no prize at all for losing in round 1, wildcard or not. Just give the £10g to whoever gets through qualifying and make the rest win a match to earn it.

    I'm perfectly happy with the number fo Brits given wildcards, it's our tournament after all. My problem is who they are given to. Boggo is the worst example of a serial failure at this level, instead of allowing him his annual paycheck the wildcards should be going to youngsters.

    Perhaps there should be some limits on who gets a wildcard.

    1. Any Brit in the top 100 can get one
    2. Any Brit outside the top 100 is limited to 3 wildcards.


    That is more than enough for anyone.

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  • 122. At 4:19pm on 25 Jun 2009, alwaysindoubt wrote:

    I'm not sure paying sportsmen/women on the basis of how long it takes to perform competitively is the way forward. Test cricketers would be billionaires and you'd be condemning Usain Bolt to a life of poverty...

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  • 123. At 4:26pm on 25 Jun 2009, Count Zero wrote:

    121

    a Brit in the top 100 wont need one,
    In the past they have said 3 was the maximum unless you were within the top 150, but a LTA regime change brought new rules (Boggo would have bene caught by this rule but was in the top 150 then). Every year rules has been set Boggo met them which is why he has been given one. i suspect next years rules will be set to make sure Boggo doesn't get, maybe saying Max 8 allowed :)

    The other problem is we dont really have any juniors who are good enough at this stage to go out there. The only one with a chance was Evans and was given the WC and got a tough draw. If some of the other juniors went out there and got the draws Boggo etc got, they would have been walking away with horrific loses, which could potentially push their development back even further. Just look how the press would react! The next 3 teenagers after Evans are ranked 623, 702, 818 respectively. and I'm pretty sure they all lost in the Qualies, having received qualy WC's.

    As i said above the player that beat Boggo beat the world number 38 even worse than he beat Alex, can you imagine what he would do to a guy ranked 800!!

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  • 124. At 5:03pm on 25 Jun 2009, bendirs wrote:

    I think Tom oo (#65) is definitely onto something. Listen, I like tennis, but the fact of the matter is that Wimbledon, as great an event as it is, is a glaring anomaly in this country. If you stood on your local high street in March and stopped 100 people and asked them if they were bothered that Britain isn't very good at tennis, I guarantee you most people would shrug and say "not really, no".

    There is this misconception in this country that Fred Perry was the last in a long line of great British players, but go through the record books and you will see there was hardly anyone before him. He, too, was an anomaly, even back in the 30s. When a country produces a handful of genuinely world-class players in 100 years, surely you have to come to the conclusion that that country is not particularly bothered about that particular sport. Do the French media hold inquests every time the Open Championship comes round, asking why they're not very good at golf? Do the Italian media hold inquests every time the Ashes comes round asking why they're not very good at cricket? Of course not, it's just accepted that some sports are part of the fabric of a nation, and some sports are not, and that, surely, is the way with tennis in Britain.

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  • 125. At 5:21pm on 25 Jun 2009, Schmicholl wrote:

    Ben (#124) this is a great point. Fred Perry seen in the light of an anomaly throws a spanner in the works of a lot of points here. Noticeably Whiteoutloud (#106) points out how things were better when he/she was at school. While it can only be a good thing to have more facilities open to more individuals, unless Whiteoutloud went to school 1910-1920 his/her era didn't produce a men's wimbledon champion either.

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  • 126. At 5:42pm on 25 Jun 2009, couch_potato_peeler wrote:

    Ben (#124), although the point you make about tennis not beng a high priority in the average Brit's sporting interest is true, surely the bigger anomaly is that Wimbledon is one of the 4 tennis 'Majors'. The examples you quote about France and Italy are also true, but their national tournaments in those sports aren't 'Majors', so it's no great surprise they don't care.
    As regards Robbo's point about wildcards, I think it would be sensible if the LTA didn't award prize money to wildcard entrants who lose in the first round. In that way, they still gain the valuable experience of potentially playing much better players in a high pressure environment, and if they win the first match they then qualify for any prize money they earn from the second round onwards. The LTA could put any money saved towards proper grass roots tennis.
    I generally enjoy Robbo's blog very much, but this time I think his radar was a bit off. Maybe the Middlesbrough demise has fogged the lens!

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  • 127. At 6:08pm on 25 Jun 2009, bendirs wrote:

    couch_potato_peeler - Well, quite, the fact that we in Britain have one of the majors is an anomaly, a historical throwback if you will, but that just reinforces my point. It suggests people in Britain are interested in tennis, when in fact most people aren't. In Italy and France, there's nothing to suggest that they should be decent at cricket or golf, and so no-one over there gets themselves in a lather because they're not.

    You know, different countries are good at different things, why should we expect to be interested in everything? In France and Italy and Spain they love their road cycling, over here they don't. Over here we like our cricket and snooker, 'over there' they don't. Basketball is massive all over the world, but not so much in Britain; they love handball in parts of Europe, in Britain hardly anyone knows what it is. It's just the way it is...

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  • 128. At 6:47pm on 25 Jun 2009, couch_potato_peeler wrote:

    Ben (#127) I don't agree that most people aren't interested in Tennis, but it does rank below Football, Cricket and Rugby. I think we would have had more success at Tennis if the great British Media didn't heap such expectation on the shoulders of anyone who shows any promise at all. Just look at the treatment of Anne K the other day - that was truly shameful.
    The same could be said of the England Football team, and often the Cricket team. If we win the Ashes this summer, it will be in spite of the Press, not thanks to it.
    Lleyton Hewitt made an interesting point about Aussie tennis having the same problems, and I can remember when they ruled the world with Laver etc., so it is something that can change with time, and maybe we can bring on a future generation of British Tennis Greats!

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  • 129. At 7:12pm on 25 Jun 2009, JohnnyLeigh wrote:


    What are you prattling about Robbo? Baltacha didn't shed one tear. She collapsed to her knees and then immediately got up.

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  • 130. At 7:20pm on 25 Jun 2009, bendirs wrote:

    couch_potato_peeler - Yes, you're right, Australia do seem to be struggling, as are the Americans, and the Swedes. But these are countries with a very deep tennis heritage, who can look back to a time when they were truly a great tennis nation. My point is, we've never had one of these periods. Well, maybe back in the 1890s.

    As for America, it's pretty clear why they're no longer the force they were, having spoken to Americans about this, and it's because far fewer people are interested in tennis than they were, and it's the same with boxing and track and field. Which closes the circle quite nicely.

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  • 131. At 7:56pm on 25 Jun 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    31. At 11:24am on 25 Jun 2009, flyinghurdler2 wrote:
    Swearing, shouting, general abuse, "my mate Tony says"??

    Is this what the BBC consider journalism nowadays??

    Your a chav Robbo.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Tsk. That's 'You're a chav'. And for the last time hgow dare you use the word 'journalism' in relation to my blog!

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  • 132. At 8:01pm on 25 Jun 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    40. At 11:35am on 25 Jun 2009, Dalgrush wrote:
    I have to completely disagree with this rubbish, we need to take advantage of having one of only 4 grand slams and look after our own a little bit. Yes it will be wasted on most, but I don't old Timmy H would have reached the heights he did without the exposure and support he got as a youngster at Wimbledon.

    Be honest Robbo at some point you've sat down and cheered on the likes of Petchy, Bates, Timmy the Tiger and the other blonde bloke who won a game once to an unlikely victories that you'd never have seen without the wildcard system.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Clearly Henman would have got as far as he did regardless of Wimbers hand-outs.

    And yes I have cheered on a lot of plucky Brits in the past - and by and large they've lost and disappeared from view for the next 50 weeks. That is my $@#!*& point!

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  • 133. At 8:09pm on 25 Jun 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    There's one - bonkers - argument coming through from those who disagree with me. You're for the wild card system but you complain that it was very unlikely for any of our players to progress against higher ranked players. So why give them the wild cards? Do we want to watch our so-called top players get tonked for a couple of days a year and then forget about them? Granted, Robson and Evans benefit from the exposure and are very very good juniors, but the rest of them? The evidence would suggest they're not benefiting cos they get beat and are never heard of again! Someone bigged up - if that's the right phrase nowadays - Chris Eaton who did well last year but QUALIFIED!
    If the British game seemed to be benefiting from these free passes then fine let's keep it up. But it's not.

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  • 134. At 8:43pm on 25 Jun 2009, couch_potato_peeler wrote:

    Ben (#130) - Interesting that we seem to be talking about Mens' Tennis, almost as if Ladies' doesn't exist. I'm in my mid-fifties and I clearly remember Ann Jones winning the ladies singles in 1969 (I think) and then Virginia Wade in 1977, so two ladies champions inside 10 years (and I think both of them were up against a full strength field). Also Sue Barker was a pretty good player in the 70's (albeit a bit 'dainty'). I seem to remember that she won the French Open one year, although I think that might have been when some top players boycotted it.
    Anyway, that seems to suggest to me that British Ladies' Tennis has been at a reasonably high standard within the past 40 years, and the fact that we have had nobody of merit in the past two decades only reinforces my belief that these things go in cycles.
    If Andy Murray actually wins Wimbledon (or even another major) at some point, I think that might get the monkey off the back of our mens game and could be the catalyst for a golden period (he said more out of hope than expectation).

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  • 135. At 9:04pm on 25 Jun 2009, BFL wrote:

    But Robbo, wildcards are not expected to make it through to the second round. Surely they are meant to give promising youngsters to give them an opportunity to play at a high level, if they win it's a bonus. Bogdanovic does not deserve another one but from a fans point of view, I'd rather see a promising British youngster "get tonked" than a foreigner suffer a similar result.

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  • 136. At 10:04pm on 25 Jun 2009, Ferdinand wrote:

    Robbo, when I read the opening para I thought "What on earth is he doing having a pop at tennis? He's a football man". Having read the whole blog I must say it's one of your best ever. I usually smile at your wisecracks but today I laughed out loud - very loud. Well done. Before it all gets too creepy - enjoy Doncaster and Scunthorpe next season.

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  • 137. At 10:08pm on 25 Jun 2009, JMK1973 wrote:

    Goran Ivanisevic got a wild card the year he won Wimbeldon. He got the wild card as he'd been injured for ages and his world ranking had slipped so badly he didn't automatically qualify. The only player ever to win from a wildcard entry.

    Wild cards should be there for people starting out or at a pivotal point in their career or who have the talent but because of circumstances beyond their control did not qualify for example returning from a long period of injury.

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  • 138. At 10:14pm on 25 Jun 2009, JMK1973 wrote:

    Oh yeah and Ivanisevic is a Baggies fan. Seems he got into the Albion after their "Great Escape"

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  • 139. At 10:21pm on 25 Jun 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Ivanisevic is also someone who talked about having a 'good Goran' and a 'bad Goran'... which one follows the footy?

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  • 140. At 10:23pm on 25 Jun 2009, JMK1973 wrote:

    There were 3 Goran's. Good Goran Bad Goran and Crazy Goran. I'm guessing it's crazy Goran who's a Baggie

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  • 141. At 10:47am on 26 Jun 2009, onthebreak wrote:

    Visit

    http://onthebreak.wordpress.com/

    for more Footbball opinion

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  • 142. At 11:31am on 26 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 141 onthebreak

    onthemake?

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  • 143. At 11:36am on 26 Jun 2009, possomjenkins wrote:

    Robbo is a legend. Anyone who disagrees with him is a pillock

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  • 144. At 12:59pm on 26 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    ref 140 JMK1973

    There WERE three Gorans: Goran, Goran, Goran. Mrs Doyle regularly referred to them when offering Father Ted a cup of tea.

    Hope this helps.

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  • 145. At 1:00pm on 26 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    I trust that no one finds my previous posting gross.

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  • 146. At 1:34pm on 26 Jun 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Zootmac, i'm just gonna say it... 144 is possibly the best post of all time! Thats what this country needs more of!

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  • 147. At 2:59pm on 26 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    ref 146 RedBlueArmy92

    Thank you, sir. Praise indeed.

    I'll have a word with Robbo - make sure you get your shillings this time.

    Regards,

    Z

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  • 148. At 4:26pm on 29 Jun 2009, bluehellsbells wrote:

    # 134 You've cracked why we Brits are so cr*p at tennis - if they're all playing with a monkey on their backs, no wonder we never win anything

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  • 149. At 2:12pm on 30 Jun 2009, bredtobered-forum troll wrote:

    flyinghurdler2




    ABSOLUTE NUMPTY. are you really so naieve to think 'Robbo' is a serious jurno who writes like this on purpose? its a toungue in cheek article written to make those of us with a slight sense of humour have a few chuckles while we have a few minutes. its been said many a time to other petulant, pedantic back door milkmen (like yourself) and will probably continue to be said as you cretins have nothing better to do.






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  • 150. At 5:48pm on 01 Jul 2009, TBY wrote:

    By the way, Keothavong qualified automatically, and competed in all the other Slams this year too. She's one of our two (2) top 100 players - Murray being the other one.

    Look how many France have to see the difference!

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  • 151. At 8:04pm on 01 Jul 2009, ArsenalIndian wrote:

    Regarding wild-cards: they're not completely worthless. Ferrero got one by virtue of something of a return to form and got to the quarters, and I remember a certain Mr. Ivanisevic.

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  • 152. At 02:02am on 02 Jul 2009, mydadlovedbillybonds wrote:

    Talking about tennis....after Europes leader of football lamented the death of football thanks to the transfer fees/wages given to players in the premier league, I await a lenghthy statement, (He hasn't said anything yet, so he must still be composing it), on how Real Madrid have now hammered the final nail in, (after Franco got the box out in the first place). Has he alerted the media of the date of this statement? Otherwise, it's just not cricket, or tennis, now you come to mention it, is it?

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