Woman from the Ministry (of Sound) to run British tennis

John Roberts Tennis Correspondent
Friday 10 January 2003 01:00

A former executive at the Ministry of Sound has been appointed by the Lawn Tennis Association to find and nurture future champions.

Though used to dealing with young people and clubs (and arguably rackets), Rebecca Miskin will have her work cut out as the LTA's director of tennis operations. She will be responsible for bringing on more players at grassroots level at a time when British tennis is far from world-beating.

Wimbledon's massive annual profits are handed to the LTA for the development of British tennis. But in spite of the millions invested, only Tim Henman and the Canadian-born Greg Rusedski are ranked in the world's top 100.

Ms Miskin, 37, who left the Ministry of Sound last month after the dance empire shut its music magazine, acknowledged problems in overturning the sometimes fusty and middle class image of the game.

She said: "I'm not blind to some of the challenges ahead but I feel privileged. I think the LTA have made a very brave move, because they know what I'm about. I have a rebellious streak. I never wear a suit and I didn't wear a jacket when I was interviewed by John Crowther [the LTA's chief executive]."

Ms Miskin is a part-time tennis player who represented Gloucestershire. "I think I know some of the difficulties youngsters face in British tennis," she said.

"I was brought up in Italy, where my father was posted, and kids hang out at tennis clubs in Italy. When we came back to Cheltenham for holidays I didn't have the confidence to join a tennis club or sign on for tournaments. If it wasn't for the kindness of one old gentleman, I never would have. And I was told off by a woman for wearing a cap during one event."

Ms Miskin will work in tandem with whoever succeeds the Frenchman Patrice Hagelauer as director of performance. He resigned last month to coach his country's Davis Cup team.The LTA intends to appoint a replacement before Wimbledon in June.

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