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Brit tennis is showing signs of some life.


British tennis undergoes its annual health check over the next month, as ever in the scientifically dubious laboratory of a grass court season.

Conclusions will be leapt to, sweeping statements will be made and public perceptions shaped and if - as has been the case for the last 76 years - the Wimbledon men's singles title goes overseas we'll all be asking 'What's wrong with British tennis?' Given the fact the sport only comes to these shores for one of its tenmonth season the whole process is a bit like holding a referendum for Scottish independence on a show of hands on a Friday night in Paisley.

Britain's, or when he loses Scotland's, Andy Murray doesn't win Wimbledon ergo the whole sport is doomed, the Lawn Tennis Association are incompetent and a whole generation just isn't as hungry as its Eastern European counterpart.

Examination complete, 'Sorry sir, there really is no cure for what you have. Same time next June?' However, scratch beneath the surface and it's not quite all doom and gloom. Now don't get me wrong, I'm as bored by the LTA's summer counter offensive as the next journalist and one wonders where they all are in January, February, March...

But that doesn't mean there aren't reasons to be positive and not just because in Ivan Lendl, serial flop to serial champion, Murray seems to have found the head coach he's always needed.

And this time the heart beat isn't only evident in the women's game. The boys are starting to come through too, albeit only at a very junior level.

But nevertheless one can't ignore the fact that three of the four semifinalists at last year's Boys' US Open came from Britain and the champion, Oli Golding is as English as they come. A month later a squad of Evan Hoyt, Kyle Edmund and Luke Bambridge became the first British boys to win the Junior Davis Cup.

Throw US Open semi-finalist George Morgan, Wimbledon Boys runner-up Liam Broady and his partner in taking this year's Australian Open doubles title, Josh Ward-Hibbert. into the mix and it's possible to detect a pulse.

On the women's side Laura Robson and Heather Watson are further into their senior careers and both are showing signs of significant potential although in Watson's case, rather strangely for a Brit, that progress is better demonstrated on a clay court than grass. Robson, meanwhile, could be a real threat on the natural surface. So this year hang fire before dismissing the sport out of hand.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 31, 2012
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