Andy Murray and Davis Cup stars issue a 'call to arms'
Triumphant British tennis players lay down a challenge to the LTA not to let their efforts go to waste
Having dispatched Belgium to win the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years, Andy Murray and his Great Britain tennis team-mates have found a new opponent in the Lawn Tennis Association.
Instead of revelling in their triumph, Murray and co have expressed concern about the legacy of their triumph.
They stand at the "summit of world tennis", says Matt Dickinson of The Times. But the view is "deeply troubling".
"The Davis Cup has been an extraordinary journey but their fear is that not only is the team about to come to a juddering halt — Murray distracted by grand slams and defending his Olympic crown, Smith tempted away to coach on the circuit — but that all the wider gains of this historic triumph will be squandered."
Murray himself said he felt like he was "wasting his time" with the LTA and had only spoken to Canadian CEO Michael Downey once since his appointment in 2013, which he said was "a shame".
He also lamented the fact that when he was at the National Training Centre in Roehampton he found no-one to practice with.
"There was not one person using any of the indoor courts and not one person in the gym. I took photos of it because the place cost, like, £40m and there are no people."
Team captain Leon Smith echoed his concerns. "I would guess £25m has gone into junior programmes but it's not worked, because there are no juniors.”
The comments are disturbing, says Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian. "[It] sounds as if the Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, Michael Downey, does not have the total confidence of the game's leading players, most importantly Murray."
There has been "no convincing push to capitalise on the deeds of the nation's best player since Fred Perry – nor has there been since Murray won Wimbledon two years ago," he says. "Where are the indoor courts in a country that for many months is drenched and cold? Where are the training partners at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton? Why is Murray's face not plastered over every bus in London?"
The post-final press conference should have been a joyous affair, says Dickinson in The Times. Instead the team "queued up to smack the governing body like it was hitting practice but these were not cheap shots, more a heartfelt plea that all Murray's astonishing accomplishments should not go to waste".
At the end of the meeting with the media "there was an uncomfortable sense that a first Davis Cup victory since 1936 had just been submerged by a call to arms", says Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph. "First they gave British tennis the trophy, then they handed it the truth on a Belgian breakfast plate... It was the final valiant act of an encouraging weekend."