Lloyd calls halt to rift with LTA

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The Independent Online

David Lloyd, the former British Davis Cup captain, has ended his feud with the Lawn Tennis Association. Lloyd, sacked by the LTA last month, had made a veiled threat of legal action over claims he undermined the team spirit and morale of Davis Cup players.

Referring to those suggestions, Lloyd said after his sacking: "That is a direct slander on my character and future. I will not stand by and let people make incorrect accusations."

However, yesterday the LTA announced the two parties have resolved their differences and will continue to work together in the future. It is understood the agreement involves no financial settlement other than paying out the contracts of Lloyd and his brother John, who worked as a coach.

John Crowther, the LTA's chief executive, said: "The LTA believes it can work with David Lloyd in the future to produce a new generation of tennis champions. We are looking forward to continuing with the discussions that began in November 1999 for LTA funding for his private initiative training scheme."

Lloyd repeatedly stood by his controversial claims that certain British players were not fit enough and yesterday he reiterated his desire to help revive British tennis. "I have always had the interest of British tennis at heart," Lloyd said. "I wish Roger Taylor [his replacement as Davis Cup captain] and all members of the team the very best for the future and will give them my full support. My reputation in the game, built up over almost 40 years, has been based on a deliberate and dynamic policy of encouragement and development of young sportsmen. I will continue to believe in this approach and will work wherever possible with the LTA to produce more top-quality players."

In Indian Wells, California, Pete Sampras battled past Byron Black with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win to reach the quarter-finals of the Newsweek Champions' Cup. Sampras won this tournament in 1994 and 1995, but has struggled here over the last two years. After he scraped a three-set win over South Africa's Wayne Ferreira on Wednesday, Sampras had to work hard against the Zimbabwean qualifier, Black.

"I'm just trying to stay positive out there," Sampras said. "I do struggle here, I have over the last couple of years. It's not mental, it's there. The conditions are pretty quick. You've just got to deal with it."

Hicham Arazi, who beat the world No 1, Andre Agassi, on Monday, also reached the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 victory over the qualifier Max Mirnyi, of Belarus. He was due to meet Ecuador's Nicolas Lapentti, who defeated the unseeded Frenchman Nicolas Escude, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6. The defending champion, Mark Philippoussis, seeded 12th, encountered little resistance from Tommy Haas, beating the German 6-2, 6-3.