Keothavong slams LTA after entering world top 50

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The Independent Online

Anne Keothavong broke into the world's top 50 this morning - and then claimed she would have done it years ago were it not for "unprofessional people" at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

The 25-year-old has leapt from 52nd to 48th in the new WTA rankings, following her run to the semi-finals in the Cellular South Cup in Memphis last week.

She is the first British woman since Jo Durie 16 years ago to make it into the top 50, and it continues the relatively late blossoming of a player who was ranked 134th 12 months ago.

But, although Keothavong is now content with the support provided to her by the LTA, she has criticised the sport's governing body in Britain for hampering her progress earlier in her career.

"There have been times when I've questioned whether I should move on and do something different but I never stopped loving tennis and I was willing to try something different, which paid off for me," she told BBC Sport.

"If I knew what I know now I could've been in the top 50 years ago but I was influenced by some unprofessional people, which didn't help, although ultimately it's down to the individual.

"I'm now working with coaches I trust and, with their help, I'll continue to improve further.

"I still believe there are unprofessional people working at the LTA and it saddens me because I want to see British tennis get even better."

Keothavong has now set her sights on breaking into the game's elite.

She said: "There's still a lot more work to do as I want to climb further up the rankings and pick up a WTA Tour title somewhere this year."

The Hackney-born player, of Laotian descent, added: "The standard of the top players is very high and intense but that doesn't scare me, it just makes me want to be even better so I can play like them."

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