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The current state of British tennis

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George183
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #15 on: March 09, 2010, 05:01 PM »
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I’m by no means an expert on the subject of coaching but I had a really weird experience as a teacher when I visited a family in Oklahoma City for a month to help out with Home-School to find that when I bought the three boys 8yrs 10 yrs and 12 yrs a tennis racquet and balls and put them up against a practice wall at the local FREE tennis centre with six courts, of which there are MANY, to start hitting balls, the 10 yr old who was noted for being an athlete was, after only five minutes, hitting the ball back against the wall hard and fast non-stop, some 50 times without missing a stroke.

I couldn’t believe it. He seemed almost better than me! My impression was that he must be a natural, but his father wasn’t interested because he was already committed to baseball, but I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a good idea for a coach to visit every Junior school in this country to carry out the same experiment.

What do you think?
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #16 on: March 09, 2010, 06:54 PM »
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Yes, very - and it's this lack of British motivation which really bugs Murray.

The LTA do now have a tennis centre in Roehampton, London, but it's early days yet to see how successful it's going to be.  Also Judy Murray has now been given the go-ahead to open a Scottish centre in Stirling, where she's aiming to nurture talent at grass-roots level and get the message across that tennis is not an elitist sport, an image which is unfortunately all too prevalent in the UK, and maybe that's part of the main problem.
 

Oh yes. The tennis centre that cost £40m and that has only FIVE indoor courts. In Britain. Genius. And who's going to play there? Only the established 'top' (as in ranked 500+) players - and they're hardly going to get any better (certainly not playing outdoors in this country).

The whole approach is tits up. Forget sharp-end flash like Roehampton. We need a massive base level of junior players. France and Germany have something like 600,000 competing juniors; Spain have even more. We have about 600.

Face it, we're a nation of chavs, eating greasy burgers at crappy football matches in the drizzle with our arses hanging out of our trousers.
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #17 on: March 09, 2010, 07:02 PM »
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And tennis IS an elitist sport here - elitist, as in it costs a bloody arm and a leg to be any good at it. My two daughters are both county-ranked. They have one squad lesson and one individual lesson (when I can afford it) a week. This costs me in the region of £150 a month.

If I was REALLY serious about them making it, I'd have to shell out for five hours' indoor coaching a day each - that's about £1000 a week for the pair of them.

At the indoor centre, I ship up once a week in my little car and park next to Porsches and massive 4 x 4s driven by stuck-up mums who have money to burn and nothing better to do with their time than cart Oliver or Henrietta off to coaching and tournaments seven days a week. One 8-y-o kid I know got a knock-up with Djokovic in Monte Carlo. It's a different world.

Not an elitist sport? Don't make me laugh.
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #18 on: March 09, 2010, 08:27 PM »
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Our attitude towards the sport needs to change - it's seen as a sport for the upper classes in this country, it's not the same across continental Europe.

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The current state of British tennis « Reply #19 on: March 09, 2010, 11:30 PM »
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And tennis IS an elitist sport here ...

At the indoor centre, I ship up once a week in my little car and park next to Porsches and massive 4 x 4s driven by stuck-up mums who have money to burn and nothing better to do with their time than cart Oliver or Henrietta off to coaching and tournaments seven days a week. One 8-y-o kid I know got a knock-up with Djokovic in Monte Carlo. It's a different world.
Sorry, my choice of words was a bit unfortunate.  What I really meant to say is that Judy Murray is setting out to prove that tennis in Britain does not have to be an elitist sport.  She's hoping to attract and coach youngsters whatever their background, and I believe she does visit junior schools.   I fully acknowlege that tennis is perceived as being elitist, especially when all most people see of it is stuffy old Wimbledon on TV once a year, and tennis clubs can be snooty with high annual fees (when most of the time play isn't possible because of rain/damp courts anyway).  I was taught at the age of 8 by an aunt and at school from the age of 10 had one one-hour lesson a week in the summer.  Brilliant! - but because I loved the game I carried on playing it well into my 30s.

Also it is a different world on the Continent.  When Andy was in Spain he was playing world-class players on a regular basis.  That was the norm there, and some have claimed that his ability to tactically dig himself out of trouble came as a result of having to match up against these players.

 
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Aileen
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #20 on: March 10, 2010, 12:04 AM »
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... the 10 yr old who was noted for being an athlete was, after only five minutes, hitting the ball back against the wall hard and fast non-stop, some 50 times without missing a stroke.

I couldn’t believe it. He seemed almost better than me! My impression was that he must be a natural, but his father wasn’t interested because he was already committed to baseball, but I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a good idea for a coach to visit every Junior school in this country to carry out the same experiment.

What do you think?
I'm not sure what this ability would prove.  I was doing pretty much the same against my grandmother's kitchen wall when I was only 7.  I did have some natural talent for both tennis and badminton, but no way was I ever destined to make the big-time!  Perhaps coaches should visit junior schools, but it would be interesting to know just what criteria they would use to spot potential talent.  To me the only way to do this is to somehow get kids away from their computers and onto the municipal courts, many of which have been virtually deserted for years now.  It's a huge problem.     
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #21 on: March 10, 2010, 12:09 AM »
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And tennis IS an elitist sport here - elitist, as in it costs a bloody arm and a leg to be any good at it. My two daughters are both county-ranked. They have one squad lesson and one individual lesson (when I can afford it) a week. This costs me in the region of £150 a month.

If I was REALLY serious about them making it, I'd have to shell out for five hours' indoor coaching a day each - that's about £1000 a week for the pair of them.

At the indoor centre, I ship up once a week in my little car and park next to Porsches and massive 4 x 4s driven by stuck-up mums who have money to burn and nothing better to do with their time than cart Oliver or Henrietta off to coaching and tournaments seven days a week. One 8-y-o kid I know got a knock-up with Djokovic in Monte Carlo. It's a different world.

Not an elitist sport? Don't make me laugh.
Which is why the solution is to make it harder for the 'hello-hooray' types to be in the same stadium as the duke and duchess of kent, by placing the importance on bringing kids through the club system. This will cut the costs for kids who are good as they'll be sponsored at an early age, and the success of the club depends on these youngsters doing well. The clubs by very nature of being forced to become competitive will try and cherry-pick the best kids and the best coaches, heaven knows they may even talent spot within the state school system.

If the club does well in bringing through kids then the Eton set can have their day pretending to rub shoulders with royalty.
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #22 on: March 10, 2010, 09:41 AM »
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Our attitude towards the sport needs to change - it's seen as a sport for the upper classes in this country, it's not the same across continental Europe.


You've got me thinking - has Wimbledon done more damage than good in this country? The Royal Family, the outdated traditions, the Pimms brigade with their Ralph Lauren sweaters tied round their shoulders. It's not a great image, is it, for the kind of kids we have in this country these days?

Maybe this should be moved to a new thread called What can be done about British tennis?

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The current state of British tennis « Reply #23 on: March 10, 2010, 09:50 AM »
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You've got me thinking - has Wimbledon done more damage than good in this country? The Royal Family, the outdated traditions, the Pimms brigade with their Ralph Lauren sweaters tied round their shoulders. It's not a great image, is it, for the kind of kids we have in this country these days?

Maybe this should be moved to a new thread called What can be done about British tennis?



Never been to Wimbledon, but Queen's is a ******* disgrace for this sort of thing. Overpriced tickets, twats swanning about in boating hats more interested in the bar than the tennis and the ordinary folk being marginalised - British tennis is ultimately the loser, though those running the events won't care as long as the ££££s roll in.

The BBC certainly doesn't help the whole thing with its obsession with the 'tradition' of the British tennis 'month'. Their coverage of the matches themselves are generally very good, but all the crap around it made my blood boil last year. If anyone remembers, John Inverdale interviewed three blokes on the bar terrace at Queen's during the final. All three basically didn't have a clue about tennis and were just there to wear their blazers and take advantage of the free booze. That's the image that is projected to the nation.

It pisses me right off.
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #24 on: March 10, 2010, 11:04 AM »
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Well, there we go. That's why we lost to Lithuania. I remember the same problems being discussed back in the 1970s. Nothing will ever be done about it, so we should just enjoy Andy while we can.
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George183
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #25 on: March 10, 2010, 11:27 AM »
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OK, this is all VERY depressing. It seems that we just suffer from the fact that tennis has very little following in this country.

But what I still don’t understand is why those who DO play it, can’t play it BETTER.

What is Andy doing right that they doing wrong?

Would it help if he adopted one of them as a practice hitter and took him around with him?

As for Wimbledon, speaking as somebody who is totally working-class, and proud of it, I’ve watched Wimbledon on TV for decades, and particularly enjoyed watching Ann Haydon beat Billie Jean King in 1969, but I’ve never thought of it, or Queens as posh or snooty, but just totally devoted to tennis.

I’m aware that there’s a bit of sycophancy about being in the “Royal” box, but I see it the other way round. I think Royalty SHOULD attend Wimbledon to support our players because that’s their JOB, to support US.

I don’t think class or poshness puts anybody off playing tennis. It’s the total lack of facilities, support and esteem. All the esteem in this country goes to Soccer, Rugby and Cricket and those who play them.

That’s what kids see constantly glorified on TV, not tennis. That’s the problem.

We are in the minority, sadly.
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #26 on: March 10, 2010, 12:08 PM »
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Players in this country don't play better, cos it's a numbers game. There are only 600 competing juniors, where continental countries have 600,000-plus. The chances of any one of those 600 coming through are very slim. Also, they're competing against other, relatively poor, British players*. The only way to improve is to do what Andy did and move to Spain.

*I see this problem on a regional basis in Britain. Kids from poorer counties, say Cumbria, tend to play each other. As a result, they get artificially inflated LTA ratings. You can see this when they cross the county borders into stronger counties and lose to players with lower ratings. Just one other thing the LTA has got horribly wrong.
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George183
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #27 on: March 10, 2010, 12:41 PM »
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But would the LTA be able to produce top 10 players when only 600 juniors are competing whatever they did?

On the subject of practicing, what I've always wondered is: doesn't "Practice makes perfect" apply to serving, and if not, as seems to be the case, why not?

It's always seemed weird to me that when all you have to be able to do to be invincible is to be able to serve only one ace out of four serves to hold a game ie. a double fault and then a first serve fault and then a second serve ace, and then finally to be able to serve one ace out of two serves to win it, that no player has ever been able consistently to do it.

How come no ace player can hit the spot one time out of four, however much they try and however much they practice?

Shouldn’t players, including Andy spend more time trying to achieve it, or is it just impossible?
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The current state of British tennis « Reply #28 on: March 10, 2010, 01:34 PM »
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Somebody on the BBC message boards posted this. Seems to make sense:

'The idea that other countries elite tennis players are street kids used to scrapping it out is ludicrous. As he mentioned, you can be sure that most if not all Argentinian players come from comfortable backgrounds and I would challenge anyone to show me a country where this is not the case. The Williams sisters are an anomaly, lucky freaks of nature like Federer who have got an almost irrepressible talent.

No, I have the theory that we are so flooded with football coverage (including endless tittle tattle during the increasingly brief off season) that kids don't even have the ambition to be world class tennis players. Plus, they're no mugs...they know tennis requires more dedication than almost any sport. Four hours per day grooving a particular shot? A shattering 5 set match followed by another two days later? No thank you!

I'd be interested to see how much practice footballers do(and is it mind numbing)and how many miles they run in a year. No, tennis is hard work and for all that effort you receive a fraction of the footballers' easy money and little celebrity status. No, I think we've dug ourselves too deep a cultural hole to pull ourselves out of.

One final chilling thought....IF Murray doesn't win a grand slam, at the rate we turn out world class players, we could be looking at a hundred year drought. So come on Andy, you're all we've got.

Like any business you do unfortunately have to start at the top, they need the right person who is empowered to make changes- not a yes man keeping a committee happy.

David Lloyd is a proven businessman, he has achieved more in sport and in business than anyone currently at LTA and if the powers that be were not so petrified that he would oust every single one of them they would consider him the perfect candidate, he would take the sport by the scruff of the neck and make it happen...but it wont happen because everybody likes the salaries they have and regardless of what's best for the sport wont put their own necks on the line.'

 

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The current state of British tennis « Reply #29 on: March 10, 2010, 02:04 PM »
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Let's face it - for whatever reason Britain has never been a tennis playing nation and probably never will be.  Sadly, I think we may just have to accept this.  I can't see things changing now.
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