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Page last updated at 19:38 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 20:38 UK

Murray laments British failings

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
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Brit results not acceptable - Murray

Andy Murray says the depth of British tennis needs to get "way better" after nine of the home nation's 11 Wimbledon starters lost in the first round.

Only Murray himself and Elena Baltacha were left to fly the flag for Britain as the rest crashed out.

And the British number one said: "It's disappointing. The depth needs to get way better. It's not acceptable.

"But regardless of whether there are 10 Brits in or just one I'm still going to take care of my own business."

Scot Murray, 22, seeded to meet Roger Federer in the final, was taken to four sets by American Robert Kendrick on Centre Court.

Brits round-up

Round-up - Brits struggle on Day Two

Baltacha, 25, from north London, won a fierce contest against Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko. She fell to her knees with tears in her eyes as she won the third set in front of an ecstatic crowd late in the evening, having conquered a player 73 places above her in the rankings.

BBC tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend said after Baltacha's 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory: "Had she lost, it would have been collectively the worst performance by British players in the Wimbledon Open era. The cracks are once again papered over, albeit with flimsy crepe paper."

Murray and Baltacha apart, the rest of the Brits were all reflecting on what might have been, none more so than Anne Keothavong.

The British number one has had a good season, reaching the top 50, and was expected to beat Austrian Patricia Mayr, ranked some 30 places below her.

But after dominating the opening stages of the match she missed a set point, then lost seven games in a row before surrendering tamely 7-5 6-2.

She had to take a break to compose herself when facing reporters afterwards.

606: DEBATE
jimmydean2009

In the men's draw, Alex Bogdanovic fell in straight sets to 20th seed Tomas Berdych, completing a run of eight career singles matches at Wimbledon without a win.

However, the 25-year-old stated: "I'm getting better every year. I'm confident. I just need to play a few challengers, win some matches and then I'm going to start playing more ATP qualifiers."

Despite losing, he will still cash in a cheque for £10,750, along with Keothavong, Joshua Goodall, Georgie Stoop, Katie O'Brien, Dan Evans, Mel South, Laura Robson and James Ward.

The issue has also been raised by Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, who said he is "tired of excuses" for the lack of success from British players.

"Two (players in the second round) isn't good enough," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I'm getting tired of the excuses, we need to find a way now to be successful.

"If you look at the Olympics last year, look what UK Sport are doing - we put funding in and we have world-class performances.

"Those athletes don't get paid if they don't perform, and I think that's one of the key issues we need to look at.

"Tennis gets £25m from Wimbledon, £30m from Aegon (as part of a five-year sponsorship deal) and £27m from Sport England, public money that goes into grassroots.

"Why is it that we can't have the players like they have in Spain and Russia? They have people coming through all the time."



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see also
Wimbledon day three as it happened
24 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Murray stays cool to win opener
23 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Baltacha win lifts British gloom
23 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Six Brits lose on disastrous day
23 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Bogdanovic dumped out by Berdych
23 Jun 09 |  Tennis
O'Brien and Stoop both slip out
23 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon: Live map
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Women's singles results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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