Tennis

Andy Murray not expecting radical changes in British tennis

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Andy Murray is not expecting radical changes to British tennis in the wake of his Davis Cup victory.

Speaking the day after his heroics earned Great Britain a 3-1 win over Belgium to win the cup, the world number two said that "nothing ever gets done" when it comes to changing the direction the game is heading in on home shores.

Murray's words came after Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Michael Downey said he was confident the Davis Cup triumph could lead to a growth in the game.

The LTA was heavily criticised by figures inside and outside the game for the failure to capitalise on Murray's Wimbledon success in 2013.

Participation actually fell in the months following his victory over Novak Djokovic and the LTA was faced with losing part of its funding from Sport England.

The latest figures were more encouraging but the relatively narrow base is widely seen as the main reason why Britain's strength in depth at the top of the game is so poor.

And speaking to a number of national newspapers, Murray said: "It's almost sometimes like I feel like a bit like you waste time because nothing ever gets done so I also don't want to waste my time talking about stuff. That's also the reality.

"I'd rather concentrate on my own stuff and when I've finished playing, I'll have a lot more time to try and help or give back to the game. But just now, I've just got to concentrate on trying to win as much as possible."

Murray added: "I don't know where the next generation are. I feel like I am saying 'I don't know' a lot but I genuinely don't know."

Murray's comments will likely worry LTA executives but speaking earlier in the day, Downey - who took over at the start of 2014 - insisted the Davis Cup win will not be wasted.

The Canadian cited Britain's first Davis Cup tie next year, against Japan in Birmingham in March, as the ideal time to really push participation, and said: "These are very special, emotional moments that can actually drive interest in our sport, there's no doubt about it.

"We need to keep in mind the time of year we have got. Participation peaks when you head into the spring/summer period. We've probably got a couple of great weeks of coverage (now). That is going to encourage participation.

"We are hoping this team wins team of the year (at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show). That would happen later in December.

"Then we will head towards that March period. Our team gets to come back to a home tie in Birmingham and that's going to be the time when we really want to see the activation hit a high level."

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith wants the opportunity to be seized upon.

He told the BBC: "At the end of the day, we all care about British tennis a lot. What we want to see is more people playing, so there should be a bigger talent pool in years to come.

"It really is an important time to get strategies rolled out as quickly as possible, not only to get people on the court but to keep them on the court.

"We need to offer them good clubs and good coaches that turn up in all weather and bang out great sessions. Let's hope it has a positive influence, because it should do."

Former Davis Cup captain David Lloyd criticised Andy Murray in an interview ahead of the tie for not putting enough back into British tennis.

His comments have been widely slated, and Downey, who has only had a brief meeting with Murray, stressed that winning on the court is the best way for Britain's number one player to contribute.

"He not only led this team to a grand championship that this nation hasn't had in 79 years, but no one can question his commitment to this country, the commitment to the game, the commitment to the team," Downey said.

"He was all about the team, and clearly the best thing that we've always said about Andy Murray is he keeps winning, and especially when he wins in special moments like this."

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