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tennis and britains poor performances

by markwood (U5403282) 01 July 2007
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ive wanted to write this article for 20 yeas now . my belief regarding tennis in this contry and its low performance can be summed up in my experience of living in ilkley . ilkley is a very wealthy town and has a great lawn tennis club . there are only two council housing estates tucked away at one end of the town . when i was a teenager i lived on one of these estates . my freinds on the poor estates were very keen sportsmen between us we excelled in football , athletics,rugby , table tennis ,swimming we were able at times to afford to go to the public tennis courts but very often could not afford to play . when we did get the chance it was clear we had between us a natural abbility for the sport of tennis but it was the rich kids who got to go to the tennis club and have coaching and in the end they improved and i guess a few proberbly became semi pro . my point here is ilkey is like a mini britain with the rich taking all the opportunitys and the poor being overlooked . im sure its not done vindictivley but none the less it was a fact . we never ever got the chance to show our true potential at tennis . the rich kids were never better at football rugby etc so why were they better at tennis ?

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posted Jul 1, 2007

"On wikepedia.org, it says Roger Federer is getting married on 14th July is that true"
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If so, that's my birthday!!

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posted Jul 1, 2007

Having played for 7 odd years as a junior, i saw this at first hand. Seniors (anyone over 18) could bump Juniors off courts at anytime, the annual fees were outrageous and the politics (i learned later in my playing years) were ridiculous.
I also went to a county trials at age 12, hit one shot incorrectly all day and got nowhere, while all those who had been in since age 10 got a free pass.
It's a rich kids sport, no matter how hard they try to deny it, you only have to look at the car parks to see that.
I loved playing tennis and would have dearly loved to go further, but it was never going to happen, because i was from the wrong background, the wrong club and had parents without $000,s to allow me to get a personal coach.
How do you change this? i doubt you ever will, everything is so ingrained with the way it is set up. It's kind of like a member's only club, if you don't fit in, you don't have a chance.
I do accept that there will be pockets of people, who ARE looking out for the kids best interests and the best of luck to them, but once you get into the system, it falls back to the politics and class thing.
We need to start all over again from the ground up. Get kids playing for reasonable amounts of money or even free (novel concept that), get the clubs working to make kids the priority (or kick them out of the county associations) and create a system designed for success. $39m on a center of excellence will only help the rich ones who have the power and money to make it. If we are EVER to get tennis onto a proper footing in this country, it has to change. Top to bottom.
i loved the game, but it was ruined by those who were only interested in themselves and not the growth of the sport in England.
Nice going LTA! How about taking the advice of the comments above and actually building courts where we need it. In the towns and cities of England and get some of these "so called" coaches in this center of excellence around the country to find the talent we all know is out there, but we are too elitest to spend the effort to find.
Soapbox over!

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posted Jul 2, 2007

As long as these elite farts are running uk tennis , you will never someone whos family dont have tennis court in there garden , or a holiday home in la manga , the reality is these clubs with the farts who tell the kids to stay off the courts have run uk tennis for to long , As an australian who has worked in this country for over 17 years ,and it is the same in youre clubs and the lta as was years ago , iam not talking about a reveloution , but start from the top , I would say to boris if you know whats wrong help us , but you couldnt could you

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comment by BJ (U1665211)

posted Jul 2, 2007

Many of the responses on this board are stating the obvious.But the worst aspect of our tennis palyers in general is their abysmal lack of fitness and conditioning and that is not down to a lack of courts or other difficulties. Even Andy Murray, our one international singles player of standing was regarded as being woefully unfit by Gilbert when he took him under his wing.Becker and Henman are both right when they also mention the mollycoddling that goes on to protect British players from the harsh realities of the sport.I was reading with interest this morning about the young Russian French Junior champion and favourite to win ths same tournament at Wimbledon.He is an independant soul looking after himself while on tour and with none of the safety buffers under offer to British players.But he has that burning desire to become the best.I think the LTA should be completely ruthless and drop all support for non-achievers once they past 21 or 22 and put all that money saved into the juniors of promise.We do have some juniors of great promise and every effort must be made to make sure they grow up with the right attitude and fitness levels.

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posted Jul 2, 2007

All this talk of tennis in the UK being elitist is frankly, tedious. It is everywhere, so stop using this as an excuse.
Do you really think that tennis champions come from the other side of the tracks in other countries? In the USA Stan Smith,Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, Andy Roddick and so on and on. These were pretty much College educated, middle class kids. Do you think Rafa Nadal's parents are poor ? - think again. Roger Federer, well there's no such thing as an underpriveleged Swiss...............and our own middle class player , Tim Henman, achieved number 4 in the world.
I would wager that Murray is not quite out of the same drawer as these guys, and yet what do we have here? a player who gets injured a lot, and who would appear to lack stamina, I wonder whether he would ever be able to close out a Wimbledon final at 8-6 in the final set as Borg did.
The French system , yes it is great , but it is also there because the people want it. They, like the Spaniards, are much, much more interested in tennis as a nation than we are, it would never get off the ground here. Sport in these countries is a big thing: cycling, tennis, ski-ing, mountain biking, climbing that's what the weekend is for in France, Switzerland , Italy and Spain. Here it is for binge drinking and being a couch potato, which is apparently called 'chilling'.

Although we invented most sports, we long ago passed the mantle to others, but let's not forget who invented tennis , football , rugby and cricket. Yes you got it , the priveliged elite most of you are complaining about. The only one of those sports to have, long ago, crossed the social divide is football, and were not very good at that either............

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posted Jul 2, 2007

It's outrageous for someone to state that Henman and Rusedski are 'mediocre'. Henman was amongst the top 5 or 6 players IN THE WORLD for a decade. Yes, he didn't win a Grand Slam, but he played some superb tennis. Federer and Sampras really dominated over Henman's career.

As for Rusedski, he was at one point the fastest server in the World and reached the final of the US Open. Both these Brits have been great for their country and should be remembered as such, rather than people believing Henman is a 'failure' for reaching four Wimbledon semi-finals.

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posted Jul 2, 2007

GB will never, unless young Mr Murray defies all odds stacked against him, produce a Wimbledon winner all the while tennis clubs across the land view their domain as a social club than a sports club with the people running them more interested in their social standing in the area rather than striving to bring youngsters of all backgrounds into the game. If Andy Murray does win a Grand Slam tournament before he retires then it will be despite the system and not because of it.

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posted Jul 2, 2007

Dicaniolover.
You state Henman didn`t win a grand slam.Think we all knew that one.Playing good tennis AT TIMES is simply not good enough in the end.You can use all kinds of sportsmen as an excuse for our players not winning anything.That will be the same excuse in ten,twenty and even 100 years.You state Rusedski was a fast server.Does that win grand slams??.NO.!!
I have never stated they were not good for there country even though Greg is Canadian just simply not good enough, but make millions out of winning nothing.Why do we as a nation promote and glorify losers instead of being true to oneself and actually admit
NOT GOOD ENOUGH.<peacedove>

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posted Jul 3, 2007

I myself lived in GB until I was 18 from an upper class family, and the comments i've seen are right, it's a game like golf: for the rich. I know reside in Monte Carlo (not my choice, parents moved) I love England. But anyways, British tennis does need to get youngsters involved by building more public access courts throughout the land and leave that stuffy old attitude for the private clubs. I'm sure there's some kids out there with a talent for tennis just waiting to be discovered.

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posted Jul 5, 2007

Can I just say that not all tennis clubs are elitist. Myself and my husband set up a tennis club which is completely the opposite. We encourage anyone and everyone to play the game. The club is based at a recreation ground with local authority courts. We do our best to create a friendly, sporting atmosphere. My husband is also a part time tennis coach - he loves to encourage people of all ages to enjoy the game. However I can't see the likes of Greg Rusedski touting for talent at our club!

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