Time to seek net gains

PUBLISHED: 10:46 16 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:04 11 May 2010

Now that the annual angst and catharsis of Wimbledon and its aftermath has subsided for another year, it is time to draw some conclusions about the sport (see Matt s Crow Country, July 2). Suffice to say, for the umpteenth time, British tennis is a disas

Now that the annual angst and catharsis of Wimbledon and its aftermath has subsided for another year, it is time to draw some conclusions about the sport (see Matt's Crow Country, July 2).

Suffice to say, for the umpteenth time, British tennis is a disaster area. We are one of the largest economies in the world, and we cannot produce a successful tennis player. The male British hopeful, who has presumably reverted to being Scottish as he lost, provided stalwart efforts but like all others in the previous 74 year, failed.

The female hopeful, usually looking like a dormouse with a far-away look, tied back blonde hair, and Rimmel lipstick, is hard to recall. She was probably removed from a court on a stretcher suffering from shellshock after an encounter with Serena Williams.

Apart from Ann Haydn-Jones and Virginia Wade there have been no ladies champions from our shores in the 50-odd years since Christine Trueman. Such a performance in soccer, rugby, cricket, or even golf would be the subject of national uproar.

Lets be frank, at least in this country if you down the boxing club there is no concern about your accent. However, if you attend a tennis club it may help if you are white, middle class, and wealthy. The sport has a reputation for being steeped in snobbery, class, and prejudice, unfairly or not. The result is that young talent from lower social groups are not attracted into the game with the subsequent lack of success at the top international tournament organised at SW19.

I appreciated this observation has been made before, but still nothing has been done. Perhaps it may necessary to appoint the equivalent of Joseph Stalin, of the Sandhurst trained Idi Amin as Chief Executive of the All England Club, with a remit to purge!

The apparent Colonel Blimps, ex-colonial administrators, and others with barely a touch on reality that administrate the game should be replaced with hard-nosed professionals' intent on success.

Perhaps it is the sports French origins that give the British antipathy and poor results? Or maybe the BBC can put us out of our misery and remove it from the airwaves. It could eb replaced with something we're good at, like women's competitive rock-climbing or tiddlywinks. After all, it is a national pastime to take sport seriously and politics less so.

Over to you Cliff!

Carlo Zambonini

Gresley Lodge, Old North Road

Royston

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