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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LTA Again Under Fire; Venus & Corrie Features; Virginia Back on Top in Rankings

The recent Davis Cup debacle in Great Britain, when Andy Murray dropped out of the Europe Africa Zone tie at the last minute and the team was drubbed by the Ukraine in Scotland, has generated the usual spate of articles about what's wrong with British Tennis. The Independent's Paul Newman talks with LTA head Roger Draper, who remains upbeat, apparently because a sponsor, Aegon, is underwriting development grants. Newman writes,

A key reason for Draper's optimism is a new system of support for the country's elite competitors. Thirty-six players, including 15 juniors, have been given performance-related "Team Aegon" contracts. Aegon, a financial services company, last year signed a £25m sponsorship deal with the LTA.
And then the story goes on to detail who gets what and how much among the top British players.

There's one commenter, Simon Reed from Eurosport, who's pretty certain this whole scheme is a bad idea.

Neil Harman of The Times relayed an expansive quote from Steve Martens, who Harman calls "head honcho" of men's tennis at the LTA, in his weekly Net Post column (scroll down to the "On Track Message" heading if you don't want to read about Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova). Harman is trying to nail down what the LTA means when it says its players are on track. After reading it, I'm as confused as Harman about what Martens means.

But it is Mark Petchey, formerly head of men's tennis at the LTA and now a television commentator, who has come out and said that the entire organization should be disbanded, and then goes into great detail about how to rebuild it, where to spend the substantial funds to achieve the greatest impact and who to ask to help with it. For the complete story, click here.

Britain's Ed Corrie, who plays No. 2 or 3 singles for the University of Texas, has his own take on the British press in this feature from The Daily Texan.
Corrie plans to return to the U.K. after graduation and play professionally, so he’ll have to deal with even more pressure when he is done at Texas, as the British press and tennis community are known for their criticism of professional tennis players. Currently, Andy Murray is the only {male} British tennis player ranked in the top 150 worldwide.

“Everyone wants a big player to emerge, but they’re so negative as well,” Corrie said. “Anytime you are making positive strides, they love you, but when it’s not going well, they quickly jump on you,” he said. “That’s just the way a lot of the British media is.”
In other college tennis news, D'Novo ITA All-American champion Michael Venus of LSU is the subject of the latest USTA Collegiate Spotlight. Click here for that question and answer session. And the Virginia men have regained their No. 1 ranking after Stanford's one week in the top spot, with Ole Miss going from 10th to third after beating Georgia and Tennessee over the weekend. The women's top spot remains in the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats. For the complete Campbell's team rankings (no new individual rankings this week), see the ITA website.


scott said...

Georgia men extended their home win streak to 55 with a 4-3 win over Florida. Georgia won a tight doubles point, which was the difference as the teams split singles. UGA #1 doubles won 9-8, #2 won 9-7, Florida won on court 3. Singles, UGA got wins from Hunt, Garrapiz and Bernstein on 1,3,5 and UF got wins from Lacroix, Burkhardt and Dadamo. Match played indoors due to weather.

The Florida women extended their home win streak to 59 with a surprise win over #2 Georgia, 4-3. Finally Florida is on the right end of a 4-3 score. Still playing without Megan Alexander, but they pulled out a tight doubles point, winning 9-7 on court 1 to clinch it. Then took the top 3 singles, as Boonstra rolled over Gullickson 2 & 3, Revzina clinched the match at 2 with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Hyndman and Mather pulled another upset over Gilchrist on court 3, 7-6, 6-2. UGA won easily on the bottom 3 courts. Florida is playing a walk on at court 6, who has been skunked in all 3 SEC matches and won a total of 2 games in 4 matches.