Scotland Wales Northern Ireland
BBC Homepage feedback | low graphics version
BBC Sport Online
You are in: Tennis  
Front Page 
Results/Fixtures 
Football 
Cricket 
Rugby Union 
Rugby League 
Tennis 
Statistics 
Golf 
Motorsport 
Boxing 
Athletics 
Other Sports 
Sports Talk 
In Depth 
Photo Galleries 
Audio/Video 
TV & Radio 
BBC Pundits 
Question of Sport 
Funny Old Game 

Around The Uk

BBC News

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 22:26 GMT
Childs not getting carried away
Lee Childs has had an outstanding season
Lee Childs has had an outstanding season
Lee Childs has been catupulted into the limelight after becoming national champion. BBC Sport Online's Mark Jolly meets the man being hailed as the future of British tennis.

After his heroics at the national championships in Telford, and winning a match at his first-ever senior tournament, Lee Childs has been hailed as the natural successor to Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski.

With a huge serve, powerful groundstrokes and a temperament that seems able to cope with the spotlight, Childs seems to have many of the qualities needed for success.

There are some big differences. While Henman can drive around in his Porsche, Childs, still only 18, is waiting to take his driving test.

And during his second round match at the Samsung Open in Brighton with Croat Ivan Ljubicic, Childs showed he still has his L-plates on when he is on the tennis court.


My style is a bit more like Andre Agassi or Mark Philippoussis, who play from the back and then look to come in to the net as an option
  Lee Childs
The teenager was never outclassed, but the experienced Ljubicic put him away 6-2, 6-4.

Childs admitted that once he missed one or two shots, the match slipped away very quickly.

Childs was reluctant to come to the net, even behind his big serve, and that is one area of his game he plans to change.

Speaking after his defeat, Childs said: "I will be working on my serve-volley game over the next few months. I won't be like Tim Henman, who comes to the net almost every point. I am a different sort of player.

Impact

"I'm an aggressive player and I like to hit big shots from the baseline.

"My style is a bit more like Andre Agassi or Mark Philippoussis, who play from the back and then look to come in to the net as an option.

"I have had a lot of help from Tim, who is a great guy.

James Nelson and Lee Childs
James Nelson and Childs won the US Open boys' doubles
"I practice with him now and again when he is in the country and he is always there to offer advice."

Another man to offer encouragement was Martin Lee, himself once hailed as the new Henman.

Lee was world junior number one but has failed to make much impact in the senior game.

Lee added Childs would have to be very selfish to get to the top.

Childs agreed: "It is a selfish game. It sounds nasty to think only of yourself but that is the only way to get on in this game.

"Girlfriends have to understand that I am not going to be there all the time because that is my job.


I can't go out to parties and so on because if I do, I am throwing away my career.
  Lee Childs
But if I do it well, then it's better for everyone.

"It is nowhere near the life a normal 18-year-old will lead. I can't go out to parties and so on because if I do, I am throwing away my career.

"I practice four hours a day on court, plus two hours in the gym, five or six days a week. I don't want to throw that away."

But one important part of the tennis player's life seems to have come quite naturally.

What will he do when the praise turns to criticism after a bad loss? "I won't read it. I won't worry about it. I'm down to earth and will just get on with life," he said.

Search BBC Sport Online
Advanced search options

AUDIO/VIDEO AUDIO/VIDEO
Lee ChildsChilds play
Lee Childs is Britain's new tennis talent
See also:

22 Nov 00 |  Tennis
Rusedski continues to struggle
20 Nov 00 |  Tennis
Young Brits shine in Brighton
12 Nov 00 |  Tennis
Childs is champion
19 Jun 00 |  Wimbledon2000
Junior champion comes of age
Links to top Tennis stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to other Tennis stories

^^ Back to top