British junior sent home in disgrace as LTA maintains hard line
Monday 21 January 2008
It took until day seven of the Australian Open but a Briton finally entered the winners' enclosure at Melbourne Park yesterday. However, Jamie Murray's first-round mixed doubles victory in partnership with America's Liezel Huber also came on a day when one of the Lawn Tennis Association's most promising juniors was sent home in disgrace.
Marcus Willis had been due to play his first match as No 16 seed in the boys' singles but instead found himself on a plane back to Britain after the LTA, which was paying his way, pulled him out for disciplinary reasons. It was Willis's first trip to an overseas Grand Slam tournament.
The 17-year-old from Berkshire, who had been with the British party here for the last fortnight, was given a final warning last week for bad behaviour, but continued to infuriate LTA staff with his lackadaisical attitude. The final straw came on Saturday, when he missed the bus to a practice session and then arrived without his rackets, having left them at his hotel.
Roger Draper, the LTA's chief executive, has been taking a tough line on misbehaving British juniors. David Rice and Naomi Broady were suspended last summer for "unprofessional behaviour" after publicising a lifestyle of drinking and eating junk food on a social networking website. A number of other British juniors were warned about their future conduct.
Draper told the BBC that he hoped Willis would learn from his punishment. "We actually wrote to him last week explaining that he was in the last chance saloon," Draper said. "A few things have happened in the last few days which have led to him being sent home.
"We said last year we were going to get a lot tougher and hopefully Marcus will come back a better player and wiser as a result of this. It's just frustrating because he's a really talented player, but hopefully these players will learn from their mistakes and realise that they're blowing their chances.
"We're trying to change the culture amongst the junior players. Coming to the Slams just reinforces it. You see the Slovaks and the Croats and the Serbs and they work hard and have the right attitude. You don't see them missing training and leaving their rackets at the hotel. We're trying to explain to all these players that they're role models to the 13 and 14-year-olds."
Jamie Murray, who lost his opening match in the men's doubles alongside Max Mirnyi, partnered Huber to a 7-5, 7-6 victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Martin Garcia. "It was just good to get back on the court and try to get a bit of confidence back," Murray said.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Angel Di Maria injury: Manchester United sweat over fitness of record signing as he is in danger of missing Chelsea clash
Adel Taraabt criticism from QPR boss Harry Redknapp sparked by player walking out of team meeting prior to Liverpool game
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments