The Aegon Championships at Queen's Club this week have underlined the continuing dearth of British talent in the men's game, with Andy Murray, the world No 3 and top seed, the only player in the main draw by virtue of his ranking. Josh Goodall and James Ward, who received wild cards, failed to win a set between them and the five Britons who attempted to qualify all fell at the first hurdle.
"We're always going to be judged by our results at the top of the game and those results aren't good enough," Tim Henman said yesterday. "It's pretty depressing given the amount of money we've had to invest in the game. What we've actually achieved is not good enough."
Henman, who retired two years ago, was speaking during a break from coaching a group of schoolchildren at the Aquaterra Islington Tennis Centre in London. The former world No 4 is an ambassador for the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge, which gives 20,000 boys and girls from all over the country the chance to play in the national finals at Wimbledon in August.
"We've had a lot of good juniors over the years, a lot of talented players, but we've been very poor at making the transition through to the senior game," Henman said. "However, I think there are a lot of positive steps that have been made over the last three or four years at the Lawn Tennis Association and they now have some better people working there. Hopefully that will have an impact.
"It's all about trying to get better strength in depth so that the best youngsters can talk about moving up to the very top of the game – the top 20, the top 10 and hopefully competing for Grand Slams."