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banner Saturday, 30 June, 2001, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
British tennis is 'pathetic'
John Crowther (l) with performance director Patrice Hagelauer
Crowther (l) with performance director Patrice Hagelauer
British tennis has been described as "pathetic" by the boss of governing body the Lawn Tennis Association.

John Crowther, chief executive of the LTA, believes tennis will become a minority sport unless it undergoes a radical overhaul.

"If any other Grand Slam nation kept on producing results like these, they would be called absolutely pathetic," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"It would become a national issue. Yet we have allowed this to be regarded as the norm.

Tennis is in severe danger of sinking to the tank of a minor sport
  LTA chief John Crowther

"It's not good enough. It's time for a radical change. That time is now."

Crowther insists something needs to be done despite the performances at Wimbledon this year of Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Barry Cowan, who lost to Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras in five sets.

He pointed to the decline of Britain's international performances as a major indicator of the state of the game.

"If we really want to be a Grand Slam nation in tennis performance terms, then we have got to change fundamentally within the British culture," he added.

"We have got to get angry about where we are. We have got to get serious about recruiting children as young as five or six.

"Perhaps the most worrying thing of all is that since 1994, participation has fallen to about 65% of what it was.

"Those that play the sport regularly has fallen slightly more.

"If this decline is not arrested, tennis is in severe danger of sinking to the tank of a minor sport."

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See also:

30 Dec 00 |  Tennis
LTA eyes name change
10 Nov 00 |  Tennis
LTA targets inner cities
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