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David Lloyd
'We don't have a strategy'
 real 28k

Richard Lewis
'We invest money to develop British tennis'
 real 28k

Monday, 26 June, 2000, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Money can't buy success
British player montage
Wimbledon profits but do Britain's hopefuls?
It has been more than 60 years since Britain last celebrated a Wimbledon men's champion and the signs are the wait will go on. But, in a report for BBC Breakfast News, Mary Rhodes discovers the tennis authorities are not short of cash.

For most British tennis players the closest they ever get to Wimbledon is a pre-qualifying tournament at Chiswick, scoring matches themselves in front of a handful of loyal supporters.

Such tournaments are run by the Lawn Tennis Association and are a far cry from the queues and crowds of Wimbledon.

Almost 500,000 fans will pour through the gates at the All England club during the next fortnight, bringing with them more than 30m a year for the LTA.

That makes Britain one of the richest tennis nations in the world. So why has Britain got so few world class players?

Arvind Parmar
Parmar: Big gap
After Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski there is a huge drop down the rankings before you find Arvind Parmar who was ranked 172 going into the final pre-Wimbledon tournament at Nottingham.

Fred Perry was the last British man to lift the trophy at Wimbledon 64 years ago.

Henman got close last year, reaching the semi-finals where he was beaten by Pete Sampras who went on to win the Championship.

Yet neither Henman nor Greg Rusedski are products of the LTA - Henman was trained by David Lloyd and Rusedski grew up in Canada.

The LTA's chief executive Richard Lewis told BBC Breakfast News that the profits from Wimbledon should not go purely towards finding the next British Wimbledon champion, but towards broadening the appeal of the game.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd: Concerned
They hope that by investing in schools and club tennis and making the sport more appealing to children, a healthy game will produce a better standard of players.

But former Davis Cup captain David Lloyd is one of the fiercest critics of the way tennis is run in Britain.

He feels the structure of the governing body is too bogged down in administration and should become more business- like in its approach.

Although he is a supporter of the new performance director Patrice Hagelauer, Lloyd thinks that British tennis simply isn't improving enough.

He said: "We haven't had a strategy in British tennis, it just seems to go from year to year and we hear, 'We're getting better'.

"Well in reality stakes we aren't getting better. We're probably getting better from our own point of view but other countries are getting better quicker.

"Therefore, if it was a business, a lot of people in the LTA wouldn't have a job - that's the bottom line. You have to suceed."

British tennis certainly isn't short of money, but it is short of champions - and at present, it seems little is going to change.

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See also:

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Parmar ousted by Black
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Trio in Wimbledon quit threat
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