Lloyd resigns in aftermath of Davis Cup debacle
Originally published on: 18/03/10 10:32
John Lloyd has taken the fall for Great Britain’s humiliating Davis Cup showing, resigning 11 days after overseeing his side’s 3-2 defeat to European minnows Lithuania.
The defeat marked his fifth successive loss in eight ties as team captain, and with British Tennis once again under the spotlight the 55-year-old felt his position had become untenable.
LTA chief executive Roger Draper had asked the LTA’s player director, Steven Martens, to conduct an internal review of the factors leading to the team’s dismal performance. But rather than wait for the Belgian’s conclusion, Lloyd – who had not won a Davis Cup tie since September 2007 – chose to walk.
“I am very proud of my time as Davis Cup captain and grateful to all the players for their support,” said Lloyd, who, in his playing days, achieved a level the current crop of LTA-produced players can only dream of – having made the Australian Open final in 1977.
Fellow former Grand Slam finalist Greg Rusedski is believed to be the leading candidate to replace Lloyd, but Britain’s Andy Murray urged the LTA not to make any snap decisions in appointing his successor.
“It’s important the players have some say,” said the world No.4, who chose not to compete in Lithuania. “But there’s no rush, there’s not another match for four months. It’s important they take their time and get the right person – and I’m sure they will.”
Miles Maclagan (Murray’s coach) has also been touted as a potential candidate for the role.
“There are quite a few guys being talked about with Miles being one of them, which I’m not a huge fan of happening,” added the Scot.
In the meantime, Davis Cup coach Paul Annacone has followed Lloyd in leaving his position, and will instead focus on his role as head coach of men’s tennis.
Ironically, Martens’ initial findings of his review into the men’s game have cleared Lloyd of any blame for their latest Davis Cup failure – which leaves the British team needing to beat Turkey to avoid sinking into the lowest tier of the competition.
“My initial findings from the review recognise that he (Lloyd) is not to blame for our current lack of depth in the men’s game and so I am widening my review to look across men’s tennis,” said the Belgian.
Ken Skupski, who won his tie in Vilnus with partner Colin Fleming echoed the view immediately after his nation’s defeat, distancing Lloyd from any blame.
“John isn’t coaching the players,” he said. “He’s the captain for a short period of time, three or four times a year.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily say everything needs to be based around how John is doing, it needs to be the bigger picture.”
It’s too late for Lloyd, fingers crossed the same won’t soon be said for British Tennis.