They’ve done it again…..

Mar 19, 2009

I hate to harp on about it, but once again I’m here to give an update on the progress of the Great Britain team. After some puzzling, I managed to narrow down my impression of their performance to a single verb: struggling. The GB team limped its way through the play-off against Ukraine in the fashion of a group of people who do not quite know what’s going on. Not only did they lose, they lost with very little style. Where this source of confusion comes from is unknown.

Is it the coach? Does he in fact know what to do with a Davis Cup team to push them on?  It appeared that John Lloyd knew exactly what he wanted at the very beginning, but with an X-Factor style selection process for Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins’ team mates, it seems a little unsure. There’s no doubt he’s a great tennis player and he is capable of making this team work on some level. But personally I can’t help wishing we could dispense with the nationality issue and just get John McEnroe instead…

Is it Andy Murray? Murray is the most experienced and talented of the players on the GB team. Is he really encouraging his less experienced team mates to reach their full potential? Or is he too busy in the Indian Wells tournament. It’s hard to criticise him if this really is the case; these ATP tournaments count a lot to his rankings and he needs to get his oar (or racket) in the melee to keep up his profile and his scores. Seeing as he missed the first match of the Davis Cup due to illness, we can only hope he remains invested in the GB team and does not focus solely on his singles career.

Is it the rest of the team? No. I highly doubt it. The reserves and Chris Eaton are all great tennis players in their own right; they lost their matches I know, but they are inexperienced in Davis Cup pressure. Still, I suppose winning matches wouldn’t hurt…

I don’t want to be the doubting Thomas, because I know for a fact there are plenty of fantastic tennis players in Britain, working their way up the complicated ladders. But not only do the GB team need to get their heads down and start winning some matches, the LTA need to stop going into a tailspin every time they lose one. The amount of finger-pointing, and policy-changing, and false promises that come out of the LTA and other tennis organisations is disappointing; can’t we show a united front?

And let’s not even start on the journalists. Either they can’t get enough of Andy Murray or they’re stringing up the GB team for a disappointing first few matches. Getting behind our GB team and smoothing out the creases worked well for every other sport in the Olympics, and look at the results. The British mentality always seems to be ‘back to the drawing board’ whenever something goes wrong. It’s incredibly frustrating.

I will say this one last time: we have a sea of talent in Britain today. Kids love tennis, teenagers of both sexes continue to play it at school, clubs around the country are booked out for both older and younger teams. Let’s just get our all behind the ones on the front line today – Andy Murray, Chris Easton, Ross Hutchins – and do our best to push them on. And all the while keep our eye out for the new talent coming along; they’ll get here, slowly but surely, and let’s hope in a few years time that British tennis is looking up.


-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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