British junior sent home in disgrace as LTA maintains hard line

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn