British tennis is ‘moving in the right direction’, says LTA chief executive

British tennis is ‘moving in the right direction’, says LTA chief executive

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd insists British tennis is “moving in the right direction” despite having just three direct entries in Friday’s Wimbledon singles draws.

Cameron Norrie, a semi-finalist at the All England Club in 2022, Dan Evans and two-time winner Andy Murray are the only UK players to have qualified for the Championships based on ranking.

British participation at SW19 will be swelled by a host of wildcards, including Katie Boulter, who replaced the injured Emma Raducanu as her country’s number one female player earlier this month.

Emma Raducanu will miss Wimbledon through injury
Emma Raducanu will miss Wimbledon through injury (Steven Paston/PA)

National governing body CEO Lloyd believes there are plenty of reasons for positivity.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve had four men in the top 50 of the world, which we’ve never had in the history of our sport in this country before,” he told the PA news agency.

“We actually had more players – men’s and women’s singles players – in the top 200 of the world than we’ve had for the last 40 years, so we’re moving in the right direction.

“Obviously we always want more players at the very top of the game inspiring the fans to follow tennis and to watch on their televisions and that’s very much what we’re striving for.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd, top right, alongside the Princess of Wales at Wimbledon in 2021
LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd, top right, alongside the Princess of Wales at Wimbledon in 2021 (Ian Walton/AELTC/PA)

“We’re looking forward to a good Championships.”

The enforced withdrawals of 2021 US Open champion Raducanu (wrists and ankle) and Jack Draper (shoulder) have deprived Britain of two of its most talented young players for the Grand Slam tournament.

Norrie, who is ranked 13th in the world, is the only seeded British player, with Evans, Murray and the wildcard entrants at risk of drawing a star name in the first round.

While there was a complete absence of British players in the women’s singles draw at this year’s French Open, that doom and gloom has been eased by a raft of encouraging results on grass, including world number 88 Boulter beating compatriot Jodie Burrage to win her first WTA title in Nottingham.

Katie Boulter triumphed in Nottingham earlier this month
Katie Boulter triumphed in Nottingham earlier this month (Nigel French/PA)

“I think we’re the only nation in the world that has had a men’s and a women’s Grand Slam singles champion and doubles and mixed doubles champion in the last decade,” continued Lloyd, speaking in Eastbourne as part of a £30million investment by the Government and LTA which has led to 1,000 public tennis courts across the UK being refurbished.

“And I think ourselves and Spain are the only nations in the world that have had men’s and women’s singles champions (during that time).

“We’re right up there at the top of the game but obviously we want to keep doing better and better.”