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LTA chief takes swipe at Heather Watson over criticism about lack of young British talent

‘I have absolute belief in the performance strategy’: LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd takes swipe at Heather Watson over her criticism about lack of young British talent

  • Heather Watson is furious about the lack of younger talent coming through
  • No British singles players made it through to the French Open second round
  • It’s the first time that’s happened at a Grand Slam since the 2013 French Open 

The Color Toner Experts

Heather Watson drew a stinging response from the boss of British tennis on Wednesday after her outspoken comments in the wake of GB’s French Open singles wipeout.

Following a full house of first-round defeats, Watson bemoaned the lack of youngsters coming through, funding policies and the politics within the Lawn Tennis Association.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd issued a robust defence of strategy, with a swipe at the country’s No 2 female thrown in.

Heather Watson (above) slammed the LTA for cherry-picking a small handful of youngsters

‘I don’t recognise much of Heather’s interview,’ he said. ‘In particular I think that the “politics” she talks about is not something I see at the LTA. I prefer to try to get things done. I was disappointed to hear the references to lack of support given the wide-ranging support we continue to provide to Heather and our elite players, but they are ultimately responsible for their performances on court.

‘We have confidence in the group of female players coming through on our pathway. After Jo Konta and Heather, 10 of the next best 12 players are all aged 25 or younger. I have belief in the performance strategy.’

His claim about politics is surely disingenuous, as every sports governing body suffers from backstage manoeuvring, tennis more than most. 

And confidence in the strategy is not shared by many neutral observers, with only two of the young women referred to in the world’s top 250. 

All of Britain's top prospects are over the age of 25, and Watson is not happy with the LTA

All of Britain’s top prospects are over the age of 25, and Watson is not happy with the LTA

One coach with knowledge of the junior scene voiced the fear last week that by 2022 no British youngsters would be able to make the Wimbledon boys’ and girls’ singles without a wildcard.

Meanwhile, Sportsmail understands Kent’s genuine prospect Anton Matusevich, last year’s Wimbledon junior quarter-finalist, has enrolled on a degree course at University College London. He is set to do it exclusively online and still intends to pursue his tennis career.

Jamie Murray, an increasingly influential figure, called for British tennis to display more ambition. He said: ‘We are getting excited Liam Broady qualifies and we have six players in the main draw in Paris. But really? We are a Grand Slam nation, we should have at least double that with our resources. I don’t see how anyone can disagree with that.’

It's the first time a British player hasn't made it through at a Grand Slam since 2013

It’s the first time a British player hasn’t made it through at a Grand Slam since 2013



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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