British tennis at all-time low says report
The image of Britain's Lawn Tennis Association is at an all-time low according to a report produced by a group of senior politicians.
Britain's lowly standing in the sport has long been a source of embarrassment and the All-Party Parliamentary Tennis Group has spent three weeks gathering evidence to try and find out where it is all going wrong.
The three-page report sent to Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe on Monday by Baroness Billingham of Banbury, the group's chairman, did not make pleasant reading for LTA chief executive Roger Draper, still reeling from this month's humiliating Davis Cup defeat by Lithuania.
"Given the remarkable level of expenditure, in excess of 60 million pounds ($90 million) annually, it should be possible to deliver better outcomes than at present," the report stated.
Despite a huge budget compared to most countries, Britain only has one man and one woman in the top 100 of the rankings. Even Andy Murray, the world number three, cannot be deemed a home-grown success as he trained in Spain as a junior.
"We feel that the LTA should address its lack of public support and build relations, not only within the sport, but with the general public as well.
"Esteem for the LTA seems to be at an all time low. As a consequence, much of the good work of the LTA tends to be overlooked."
As well as funds generated by the Wimbledon Championships British tennis is a year into a four-year 28 million pound government funding package. The report questioned whether money was being spent in the right areas, namely grassroots tennis.
"We feel it is crucial that the LTA should be more transparent and accountable in the setting of their priorities and the use of their funds," it said.
"The LTA should be asked for costed plans for all of their initiatives, which should reflect priorities arrived at following meaningful consultation with everyone involved.
"It is crucial that grassroots tennis, whether involving very young players or others, that hitherto had no access to the sport, ought to be at the top of the LTA's priorities."
The LTA responded vigorously to suggestions in the report that public funding was being used to fund LTA staff bonuses.
"No public money goes into the payment of bonuses at the LTA, which are determined by strict measures of performance, and overseen by a remuneration committee of the LTA Main Board, including a non-executive member of the Board," the LTA said in a statement.
A tight game could be in prospect here. Northampton have been keeping things very tight of late and ...
by Gareth Purnell
18 May 2013 02:01 AM
I can’t ever watch games of football or rugby without wistfully wondering what it must be like to be...
by Martin Ayres
16 May 2013 05:10 PM
Since PSG’s exit to Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League quarter-final in April, PSG have been sur...
by Matthew Riding
15 May 2013 02:37 PM
Match reports from every Premier League game: Heartbreak for Tottenham as Arsenal clinch fourth place
Arsène Wenger: 'We need stability and to strengthen in the summer'
Rafael Nadal is the Master again in Rome – like a Ferrari to Roger Federer's Fiat
Sam Wallace: The second coming of Mourinho will be a reunion that can only end in tears
James Lawton: For all Arsenal's dreams and prettiness there must be nagging sense of futility
- 1 Asteroid nine times the size of the QE2 liner to sail pass Earth
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 British business: We need to stay in the EU - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 4 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.