Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Shocking failure to nurture tennis talent

Russia's Maria Sharapova
Russia's Maria Sharapova

By Graham Luney

Wimbledon is back so let’s all unpack the champagne and smoked salmon sandwiches and watch some tennis.

Tickets aren’t cheap and they aren’t giving away the food either.

Apparently, a burger at SW19 will cost you £5 and if you want some cheese on it, £6.

Even Rory McIlroy might blink at those prices!

Wimbledon is unique and there’s something magical about it which sets it apart from Flushing Meadows or Roland Garros.

And when the tennis on the grass courts is of a very high standard, it is sporting theatre at its best.

For a fortnight in the English summer most of us will cheer on Scot Andy Murray, but if we’re being honest, we couldn’t name many more British tennis players.

Credit to Liam Broady yesterday but the Brits don’t tend to last long in the big tournaments. Blink and you may miss them.

Murray has a real chance of repeating his 2013 heroics, but the harsh and painful reality is that the 28-year-old is the only one flying the flag for British tennis.

It’s an absolute disgrace that there are only three British tennis players in the top 100 men’s and ladies players’ lists (combined).

We’ve got clubs and Lawn Tennis Association-sponsored centres, but not enough top class performers.

How much money is being wasted? Perhaps our young sportsmen and women lack the dedication?

That’s a shocking failure to nurture talent and it must be time to implement new ideas so that tennis in Britain is not simply a game played by other people.

Belfast Telegraph


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