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Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 22:04 GMT
Henman bangs drum for Felgate

Tim Henman believes that the next performance director of the LTA should ideally be home-grown.

With that in mind, he says there is only one man with the credentials to rescue British tennis - his former coach David Felgate.

The drum is being vigorously beaten by the British number one in Rotterdam ahead of his long-awaited comeback event.

David Felgate and Tim Henman
Felgate and Henman had a successful partnership

The Felgate/Henman partnership lasted for the best part of nine years.

With the help of Felgate, Henman won seven ATP titles, reached two Wimbledon semi-finals, and rose to number five in the world.

In addition to his coaching qualities, Henman points to Felgate's experience of tennis politics - partly through his work with the IMG management agency.

Henman also cites Felgate's dedication, saying: "He wouldn't work 48 weeks a year, he'd work 52".

Perhaps most vitally, Henman believes in Felgate's ability to make decisions regardless of who they would affect.

This column has argued in the past that there is the need for the LTA to appoint an outsider.

If the LTA don't go for Felgate, they would be ignoring the views of the one person who really matters

Jonathan Overend

Someone without pals in high places who will make a few brave, perhaps even radical decisions, the like of which have to be made if Britain is to move forward.

The LTA have been impressed by the list of applicants for the job, vacated late last year by Patrice Hagelauer.

They have even approached a few people who, presumably, don't do applications.

The problem they face, in the light of Henman's public backing for Felgate, is stark.

If they don't go for Felgate, rightly or wrongly, they would be ignoring the views of the one person who really matters.

David Felgate
Felgate is his own man

Henman is the one person who has defeated the sterile system to make something of himself in the game.

What faith should the public have in a committee of suits, if the LTA don't go with the selection of the man around whom the whole of British tennis is sold and marketed?

However, Felgate has his critics.

Some people in tennis believe Henman remained loyal for too long while others question Felgate's coaching credentials.

He wasn't an outstanding player, but then again, few successful coaches were.

As if they have not got enough on their strawberry-soaked plates down in the corridors of The Queens Club, they are also aware of the enormity of this decision.

Henman has - quite rightly - stoked the debate up to a new level.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Jonathan Overend
"The LTA has approached others about the role"
British number one Tim Henman
"David is the only person with the credentials"
See also:

10 Feb 03 | Tennis
09 Jan 03 | Tennis
05 Jan 03 | Tennis
17 Dec 02 | Tennis
Links to more Tennis stories are at the foot of the page.


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