Why isn't tennis free in Britain???
Wimbledon 2008 draws to a conclusion and it has been another successful year of showcasing British tennis. For two weeks of the year the British public go tennis crazy, pile into SW19 in their thousands and get behind the Murray brothers, fall in love with an unknown (Chris Eaton)and then go home and forget about the game for another year.
It is at this time that we should ask ourselves hard questions about the state of the game in this country and in particular grass roots tennis. Why are there so few FREE courts for kids to turn up and play around the country? Courts in our parks are usually derelict and if functioning, there is often a fee to use them. Did you know that this money disappears into the local council's coffers and is not ringfenced for improving the courts? It is essentially an EXTRA TAX, on top of council taxes.
Roger Draper, Chief Exec of the LTA, promised a publicity campaign that would run during Wimbledon - the only time that the media and public attention is focused on the game - to get rid of this TENNIS TAX. The LTA has not delivered on this promise just as it has not delivered at helping developing grass roots tennis amongst kids that cannot afford to play at clubs.
It is a national disgrace. The shambolic state of British tennis at the bottom is easily hidden behind the glossy facade of what happens at Wimbledon.