Tennis: Lloyd's `boarding school' for next Henman

ARRIVING AT the National Tennis Championships at the end of a weary season, when the only matches of consequence involving Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski are due to take place in church, it is tempting to dismiss the state of the British game as two weddings and a breach of promise.

But the message yesterday was that the Lawn Tennis Association's promise - to find and foster young talent in the wake of Henman and Rusedski - is not only being kept, but also may be pursued in harmony by the governing body and by independent means: in other words, the LTA and David Lloyd.

Lloyd, the Davis Cup captain, is in the process of building a new empire of leisure centres, "Next Generation", each of which will have a tennis academy. Generally among the fiercest of the LTA's critics, Lloyd is keen for his coaches and pupils to work alongside the training project outlined yesterday by Patrice Hagelauer, the LTA's performance director.

"The LTA have to let Patrice run his programme and get out of his way," Lloyd said, "but pilot schemes could be allowed to run alongside it. I would opt for boarding schools in various parts of the nation. Costly, yes, but I think it's important. I believe the youngsters should have more to occupy them than tennis, tennis, tennis. Patrice wants the programme to be centralised. That's the only difference between us. I would love to have a squad within Patrice's scheme, but independent."

Lloyd praised Hagelauer's plans, which are based on the successful French junior development programme he helped devise. "Patrice is good," Lloyd said. "He's been around and done his stuff. What he's looking for is co- ordination and continuity, avoiding a break down in communication."

It worries Lloyd that tennis in Britain is not more accessible, in spite of the deeds of it's "best two ambassadors", Henman and Rusedski. "We've still got to face facts," Lloyd said. "I still can't see the increase in participation and standards."

He added, with reference to Britain's record in the men's game: "I really do not believe we have been that unlucky since 1936."

One of Lloyd's brightest former pupils advanced to the semi-finals at the Nationals yesterday. Jamie Delgado, who sent LTA hearts aflutter in 1991 by winning the Under-14 title at the Orange Bowl in Miami, is the No 1 seed in the men's singles at Telford by virtue of being No 3 in Britain behind Henman and Rusedski.

In world ranking terms, Henman is No 10, Rusedski No 12 and Delgado is No 191, thanks to pre-qualifying for Wimbledon and winning his first-round match there against Ramon Delgado (no relation), followed by back-to-back ATP Tour Challenger titles in Brazil.

Delgado, 22, out-smarted Lee Childs, of Somerset, 6-4, 6-2. Childs, who turned 17 last Saturday, is Britain's most promising junior. He has a big serve and is keen to make the most of it. He is also willing to learn, and is being coached by Danny Sapsford, the title holder, who retired after losing to Pete Sampras at Wimbledon.

"In the juniors you can win some matches by putting a lot of balls in the court," Childs said, "but in the seniors you can't just keep the ball in play, you've got to do something with it."

Six feet tall, Childs is still working on his strength (mental as well as physical) and speed and the placement of his impressive serve. "Jamie played a good match against me today," he said, "but I learnt from it. Looking at Jamie at 22, I was thinking that I want to be better than him when I'm that age."

Delgado, acknowledging that Childs is a "dangerous" player, played his best tennis of the week to overwhelm him. "He has all the power in the world," Delgado said, "but loads of players have got great games and have never done anything. It's up to him. The bottom line is you've got to keep a constant work rate over a length of time and not be up and down."

That is sound advice, offered from personal experience. Delgado, 5ft 9in, was considered to be too short to fulfil his potential. "I don't think my physique was a problem at all," he said. "For a while I definitely didn't work as hard as I should have. I can't blame anybody else."

The Nationals may have been scaled down this year, but there is still pounds 7,500 on offer for the winners of the singles events. "I really enjoy playing here," Delgado said. "I have a good opportunity to win a National Championship. I won junior national titles, and if I win this week I'll be very proud of it."

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all