Sports Letters: In defence of British tennis

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The Independent Online
Sir: I share Mr Gordon's (Sports Letters, 7 April) frustration at our Davis Cup result against Portugal, but perhaps I might reassure him that the progress we all so desire is already under way.

Since 1986 the LTA has been constructing multi-court indoor centres across the country under its Indoor Tennis Initiative. Twenty-seven of the planned 40 centres are now open, the latest two in Liverpool and the Wirrall, a further 11 are under construction and all of them operate under a pay-and-play system accessible to everyone and anyone.

In 1992, the LTA announced that it was committing over pounds 63 million to facilities alone during the ensuing five years. Private clubs are being encouraged to build both indoor and clay courts and much needed County centres are now operational in Derbyshire, Norfolk and Buckinghamshire, with a further eight coming on line shortly. At Edinburgh (clay) and Nottingham (grass) work has already begun on large tournament venues.

The training of our young players now begins at a much earlier age. The Rover Junior Initiative supports some 200 juniors and those as young as 10 are competing abroad in international competitions.

Finally I suggest we have not been too proud to copy others. The LTA Ratings system is almost an exact copy of the system used in France and the Everest National Club League, now in its second year, is again a mirror of that which operates in Germany.

Yes, we all wish we had started earlier, but that should not be allowed to detract from the many good things being put in place for the next generation.

Yours faithfully,


LTA Press & PR Manager


8 April