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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

John Lloyd considers future as Davis Cup captain

John Lloyd
Lloyd was not able to call on British number one Andy Murray

Britain's Davis Cup captain John Lloyd will consider his future after becoming the first captain to preside over five successive defeats.

The 3-2 loss to Lithuania means Britain face a play-off to avoid dropping into the lowest tier of the competition.

Lawn Tennis Association player director Steven Martens said they will not rush in making a decision on Lloyd's role.

"It is important in the heat of battle you don't do anything emotional," Martens told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I think it's clear that we have to look at this with the captain and review where we were with our players, selection and preparation.

"That is exactly what we will do over the next few days and the captain is going to be fully part of that."

The British team will now face Turkey in a Euro-Africa Zone Group 2 relegation play-off in July.

Defeat in that tie would see the British team relegated to the lowest tier of the Davis Cup competition - into a group including tennis minnows Albania, Luxembourg, Malta and San Marino.

Immediately after the defeat by Lithuania, who only have three world-ranked players, Lloyd told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's too early in the day for me to think about my future yet.

"I am leaving it up to everybody else to speculate."

But BBC tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend believed the LTA would need to make some serious decisions in the aftermath of the most recent failure.

"If Lloyd doesn't go perhaps LTA chief Roger Draper should consider his own position, this is after all a new low for British tennis," said Overend.

"It's not particularity poor captaincy or poor selections from Lloyd, certainly not for this tie when his youthful side couldn't be faulted for effort, simply that someone has to take the rap for such ignominious failure as defeat to Lithuania."

Under-fire Draper has charged Martens with reviewing the Davis Cup team's poor performance, as the LTA attempts to address the decline in British tennis.

"Five defeats in a row is unacceptable for British tennis," Draper told BBC 5 Live's Jonathan Overend. "I have asked Steven to lead a review, looking into all aspects of the tie and I've asked him to be decisive and do that quickly.

"Steven will talk with John Lloyd and Paul Annacone, the Davis Cup coach, see where it went wrong for this tie and improve for the next tie."

He did not clarify if this would ultimately lead to a change of team captain and defended current incumbent Lloyd.

"I'm not happy with the situation but John Lloyd has been a good Davis Cup captain," he said.

"It's always better to look at these things outside of the heat of battle. I certainly don't want any knee-jerk reaction.

"We've got to keep things in perspective and do business as we always do business and review things on a tie-by-tie basis."

Whilst Draper admitted that ultimate responsibility for British tennis rests with him, he stated he was not considering his position and pointed to the progress being made.

08/03/10 Lithuania 2-3 defeat
20/09/09 Poland 2-3 defeat
08/03/09 Ukraine 1-4 defeat
21/09/08 Austria 2-3 defeat
10/02/08 Argentina 1-4 defeat
23/09/07 Croatia 4-1 win
08/04/07 Netherlands 4-1 win
24/09/06 Ukraine 3-2 win

"You've got to put things in perspective across the whole of British tennis," he said.

"We're waiting for the new batch of players to come through. We do know where the players are and the performances are but it isn't going to happen overnight.

"Davis Cup results have somewhat obscured progress being made in growing the game, the grassroots, the schools, the commercial programme and much better events and the progress made by the girls and the juniors."

Meanwhile, Martens denied the suggestion that Greg Rusedski had been lined up to replace Lloyd.

"I can say that we have had no direct contact with Greg Rusedski about becoming captain," stated Martens.

"It would also be very disrespectful to John to do that when we have not even finished the tie.

"I can only say that Greg is a fantastic coach, he works with us and is fully on board with working with some of our male players and John so far has been fully in the loop on everything that we do."

The disparity in investment and wealth between the LTA and Lithuania's Tennis Union brought Sunday's defeat into even sharper focus.

With a budget of £59.7m for 2009, which included £25m for high performance player development, the LTA expenditure dwarfs that of the LTU, which had a budget of around £90,000.

The tie with Lithuania was decided in the final match when Briton Dan Evans was beaten by Laurynas Grigelis - a player ranked 269 places below the Birmingham teenager at 521 in the world and who had never played a match on the ATP World Tour.

Following the match Lloyd, who replaced Jeremy Bates as Davis Cup captain in 2006 after former British number one resigned following defeat by Israel, said he felt "devastated".

"I was only thinking about the winner playing Ireland in the second round and we haven't done that, so where look from here - we'll have to see where it goes in the next few days," stated Lloyd.


While Britain is the only nation to compete in every Davis Cup, the competition has not generated much British success in recent years.

Indeed, the British team has not won the title since 1936, while a 4-1 defeat by the United States in 1978 was the last time the British team appeared in the final, ironically with Lloyd playing on that occasion.

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see also
Davis Cup loss 'devastates' Lloyd
07 Mar 10 |  Tennis
GB fall to humiliating Cup defeat
07 Mar 10 |  Tennis
GB on top after doubles duo win
06 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Lithuania v GB photos
07 Mar 10 |  Tennis
GB tied after Evans loses in five
05 Mar 10 |  Tennis
GB's trip into the unknown
23 Sep 09 |  Tennis
GB reveal six-man Davis Cup squad
08 Feb 10 |  Tennis
Murray defends Davis Cup pull-out
03 Jan 10 |  Tennis
GB relegated after Davis Cup loss
20 Sep 09 |  Tennis
British pair win second ATP title
01 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Lloyd is new GB Davis Cup captain
09 Aug 06 |  Tennis

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