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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 11:13 GMT
LTA backs new centre for success
Andy Murray (left) and coach Mark Petchey
Petchey (right) wants more British players to train abroad like Murray
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has rejected criticism by Andy Murray's coach Mark Petchey that its new 40m training centre is a waste of money.

The Roehampton facility will open early next year and the LTA is confident it will produce the next British stars.

"The national centre is vital in supporting and developing tomorrow's champions," said an LTA spokesperson.

"The centre will ensure we offer the best in facilities, sports services, coaching and medical support."

The national training centre will be a state-of-the-art facility including 22 courts of varying surfaces, a gymnasium and sports science and medical facilities.

The LTA plans to release further news on the centre's progress, which is due to be completed at the end of this year, later this month.

The centre won't be the reason Britain has top-100 players because the kids will have to be produced elsewhere
Andy Murray's coach Mark Petchey

Petchey criticised the centre in Thursday's issues of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph newspapers, questioning whether it will be value for money.

"I think you have to ask whether that money is well spent," Petchey said.

"Where are the players going to come from to fill it?

"The centre won't be the reason Britain has top-100 players because the kids will have to be produced elsewhere.

"If they are not being produced now then you need to go and address that problem rather than go and build a national training centre when you've only got five good kids who are actually going to use it."

Artist's impression of the new LTA centre in Roehampton
An artist's impression of the lay-out of the new LTA centre

Petchey, who began coaching the British number three permanently in the summer, believes more promising players should be encouraged to follow Murray's example.

The Scottish teenager moved to Barcelona when he was 15 to train at the Sanchez-Casal Academy.

The LTA is believed to have contributed 10,000 towards the cost of Murray's training there and Petchey says that is where the LTA should be investing in the short-term.

"Barcelona was great for Andy and it's one of the reasons why he is where he is," said Petchey.

"It's definitely helped his ability to build points, stay out there and construct a rally. If you looked at the large majority of British players, we wouldn't be strong in that department."


SEE ALSO
Felgate hails new centre
20 Sep 04 |  Tennis


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