LONDON (Reuters) – Andy Murray has criticised Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association for failing to build on his success and grow the game over the last decade.
Three-times Grand Slam champion Murray went out of the Australian Open in the first round on Monday, and said the match could be the last of his professional career due to pain in his right hip.
The 31-year-old Scot has been hailed as one of Britain’s greatest sportsmen, a double Olympic gold medallist who in 2013 also became the first British man to win a Wimbledon singles title in 77 years.
“I’m not sure Britain has really capitalised on the last seven or eight years of success we’ve had,” the BBC quoted the former world number one as saying.
“Whether it be myself, my brother, Jo (Konta), Kyle (Edmund), the Davis Cup, those sorts of things, I’m not sure how much we’ve done there,” added Murray, who has been critical of the LTA in the past.
“Maybe it’s something I should have given more thought to while I was playing but I never felt that was my job to do that.”
Murray said he could not understand how the number of people playing tennis had dropped over the past decade despite unprecedented success.
“I know in Scotland that there have not been many indoor courts built in the last 10 years. That seems madness. I don’t understand why that is. You need to get kids playing; you need to have the facilities that allow them to do that,” he said.
Older brother Jamie echoed the concern to British media as he prepared to start his Australian Open doubles campaign on Thursday.
“My greatest worry was that he would stop one day… and you would look around the country and there wouldn’t be much to show for it. And if you go around the country you probably see that,” he said.
“And that is sad because how on earth are you going to grow a sport if you can’t do it when you’ve got one of the biggest stars in tennis for the last 10 years, and one of Britain’s most prominent sportspeople?”.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)