Thursday, July 4, 2013

British tennis - is it fair for the media to criticise the LTA every year?

As customary as having strawberries and cream whilst watching Wimbledon, the British press is yet again criticising the state of British tennis. This year Laura Robson and Andy Murray has done the British crowd proud which good wins however what about the rest? Without trying to justify it the Brits have had draws against tough players this year, I will be the first to admit that.

At the moment Britain only has five men in the top 300 whilst the women is doing slightly better with 8 in the top 300. I'm no professional tennis player and to be a good player you need dedication, talent and funding (all 3 of which I don't have) but this is still worrying for a nation with reasonable tennis access. To illustrate why this is worrying just look at this table:-

source - bbc sport

So is it something like a sociological factor such as social classes or our nations love for more mainstream sports such as football which is a more logical explanation to this as suppose to always blaming the LTA for everything? I'm gonna looks at a couple possible explanations:-

In a nation that is football,rugby and some crazy people even say cricket mad it is common sense that tennis will take a back seat at times (except during wimbledon which always encourages people to play some tennis). To back this up one study conducted by Cambridgshire Council asked school children what their favourite sport was (852 boys, 639 girls). 3.3% of boys said tennis and 2.7% of girls. Ok so this is just in one area but you get my point.

Some people are arguing that facilities is a problem but I disagree with this. There are thousands of courts in the UK, just look at . Also Laura robson trained to the national tennis centre and she's now one of the WTA's rising stars. 

In my opinion it's simple what the problem is - money! In society where everybody is looking to save money a lot of parents from the working class segment can't simply afford tennis lessons for them or their children. Now this isn't necessary the sports centres fault after all they need to make money but why don't the LTA subsidise promising tennis players as they develop to higher levels across the cou try and not in one place. If they already do this then they should make sure youngsters know this from a early age as a incentive for them. This is a even bigger problem for adults! The LTA should work harder on getting adults to pay to make them more likely to get their children to.

The national expectation
This isn't necessarily a fault with the general public but its just natural instincts to cheers on your home sports players. Could it be argued that all these hope and build up which is over exaggerated by the media is having a hard psychological impact on the country's tennis youngsters?

These are just some of the issues tennis face.  I am not criticising the state of British Tennis as I don't have any experience of working in this area to justify me to do so. As for the media, yes it is somewhat fair to criticise British tennis but not at the extent they do now a days and they have to take into account other factors as suppose to just saying some of our british tennis players arn't very good.

 Anyway It's not all bad, we do have good British juniors at the moment,such as Kyle Edmund who gained his first ATP victory earlier couple weeks ago. We just hope that a few can transitioned successfully from juniors to seniors.

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