Tim Henman has described the present state of British tennis as 'embarrassing' with Andy Murray isolated in the senior game and an apparent paucity of talent coming through.
Henman was among the coaches working with young players at the Dukes Meadows facility in London as part of the 'Pay and Play' initiative which works at grass roots level to get more children involved in the sport.
Former British star Jo Durie and the LTA's player director David Felgate are also heavily involved in the scheme, and the pair both hold strong views on the state of the British game.
But Henman was perhaps the most animated in his appraisal, the former British stalwart saying: "If you look at the ATP world rankings, you've got (Andy) Murray and only one other player in the top 300. For the money we have to invest and the facilities we have, that is embarrassing.
"There can be no hiding away from the facts, but we have to give the next generation the opportunity to do better than that."
Durie added: "We have to get rid of the 'elite' banner that tennis is under in this country, I'm afraid.
"We have to encourage as many players as possible, and that will give us more to choose from at base level.
"People see the millions of pounds which come into the game through Wimbledon each year and wonder why Britain has so few talented players. It frustrates me greatly."
Felgate, meanwhile, bemoaned the poor links between clubs and schools, while lamenting the facilities available to young players.
"Not many schools now have tennis courts, so the links between the schools and clubs which are absolutely vital are suffering.
"Bring the kids and the schools into the clubs and into the tennis centres, where they can play and enjoy the game."
Henman had the final word: "Kids need to enjoy the game so that they come back to play again, but if I'm honest we do not do a very good job of that.
"Tennis loses a great deal of its talent to other sports, and something needs to be done about it."
Do you think the state of British tennis is 'embarrassing'? What do you make of the LTA's latest efforts to develop young talent, and who do you think is to blame for Britain's present malaise? Post your views below...
OF THE WEEK
"Not sure I can keep my eyes open to watch the golf
anymore. Tiger or Rory to win? I don't actually care..." With
seemingly the entire tennis community tweeting incessantly about golf's Masters
tournament, Anne Keothavong has had enough.
(GB), known at 'Boggo' on his personal website, reached the final of the USA F9
Futures event in Little Rock before losing 6-3 6-1 to Arnau Brugues-Davi of
Spain. The unseeded A-Bog (GB) disposed of top seed Carsten Ball of Australia
in the first round before beating Michael McClune, five seed Nicholas Monroe
and compatriot Jamie Baker.
some deliberation, TL will award a rare point to A-Bog (UK).
Standings: A-Bog (US) 25-14 A-Bog (GB). Season
of last week's competition predragdjuric has not emailed anything in so there is no Reader's
Corner this week.
Congratulations to everton1520 for
the winning entry on last week's photo, below: "OMG!!!!! IS THAT THE JONAS BROTHERS?!?!?!?!"
Email 100 words on any tennis-related topic
and they will appear on next week's blog. Just keep it clean.
is this week's photo. Leave your entry in the comments section and check back
next week to see how you fared.
- Andy Murray
- Tim Henman