Baltacha stands up for British tennis



Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:36

British interest in the women’s singles was brought to an abrupt end when first-round heroine Baltacha let slip an early advantage to go out 7-5 6-1 to former junior Wimbledon champion Kirsten Flipkens.

“A lot of people think that everything revolves around Wimbledon but it is just one week of the year for us,” said Baltacha. “If nothing happens at Wimbledon, it’s not the end of the world.”

Baltacha was one of just two first-round winners from Britain’s 11-strong entry and, although Andy Murray continues to carry genuine hopes of lifting the men’s title, Sutcliffe insisted home performances were “just not good enough” and suggested tough action.

“If you look at the Olympics last year, look what UK Sport are doing – we put funding in and we have world-class performances,” he said. “Those athletes don’t get paid if they don’t perform and I think that’s one of the key issues we need to look at.”

Baltacha, whose first-round win over world number 33 Alona Bondarenko on Tuesday was her fifth at Wimbledon, described Sutcliffe’s comments as “harsh” and dismissed claims that British tennis is in a sorry state.

“I can only speak on the women’s behalf but, if you look at the bigger picture and look at how the girls have actually done through the year, I don’t think that anyone’s budget should get cut for that,” she said.

“Just because the girls lost in a tight two sets or a tight three sets, you’ve got to look at what has actually been going on for the whole year.

“We play 30 to 35 other tournaments and there are four or five of us fighting for the top 100 who are not far away from that spot.

“All the girls’ rankings have gone up. It’s the most exciting it’s been for years.”


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