Tennis: LTA hires former Becker coach Brett to close gap in Slam success

 

Queen’s Club

Nearly six months into his job as the Lawn Tennis Association’s chief executive, Michael Downey admitted here yesterday that “we are not getting the results as a nation that we should be getting”.

 The Canadian, who replaced Roger Draper at the start of the year, has appointed the veteran coach Bob Brett as the governing body’s new “director of player development” and believes the  60-year-old Australian can help turn around the country’s tennis fortunes.

“Britain hasn’t had the consistent success you would expect of a nation that has a Grand Slam tournament,” Downey said. “There is too much of a gap between Andy Murray and the next players in the world rankings.”

Brett, who coached former Wimbledon winners Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic, as well as the current world No26 Marin Cilic, was a consultant to Downey for seven years in the latter’s previous job with Tennis Canada.

Draper was criticised for hiring too many expensive foreign coaches but Downey insisted that the LTA had become more “cost conscious” and that Brett, who joins in September as a full-time member of staff, would be “great value for money”.

Radek Stepanek stretches for the ball in his win over Kevin Anderson yesterday Radek Stepanek stretches for the ball in his win over Kevin Anderson yesterday (Getty Images)
The Australian will be tasked with raising the standards of both the country’s leading players – male and female – and the coaches. “Bob Brett knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level,” Downey said. “He has learned in the trenches with the best and against the best.”

Downey talked about the need to include “mental toughness testing” in identifying young talent and said Brett would seek to “help kids to exceed expectations”. He added: “It’s about coming back to basics. He [Brett] said to me he thinks we have too many bells and whistles. It’s about attention to detail. He wants to make sure the players and coaches know what it takes to succeed.”

Murray is still the only British man ranked in the world’s top 100, while Heather Watson (world No 69) and Laura Robson (No 80) are the only women. There is also concern at the lack of British teenagers making their mark at junior level.

Although Downey did not want to make “grandiose statements about where we are going as a sport in this country”, he said: “The expectations of the public are huge. People in this country expect success.”

Downey said he wanted to use Murray’s success as a way of inspiring young players but admitted, 11 months after the Scot’s Wimbledon triumph, that he had not actually talked to him yet about doing so.

“We’re a little short of senior staff right now,” Downey said. “We also know that Andy has had his own priorities, [having] come off surgery.”

Murray’s conqueror here at the Aegon Championships, Radek Stepanek, yesterday moved to within one victory of his first appearance in a tour final for three years when he beat Kevin Anderson 1-6,  6-3, 6-2.

The 35-year-old Czech, who won the Legg Mason Tennis Classic title in Washington in 2011, will face Feliciano Lopez in today’s semi-final after the Spaniard beat the world No 6, Tomas Berdych, 6-4, 7-6.

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov was handed a free passage into the last four when his opponent, Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, pulled out of their scheduled quarter-final after suffering a thigh injury playing in the doubles on Thursday evening.

Dimitrov now plays Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, who beat Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 6-3.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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.

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering