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Murray mania masks missing men

Posted 07-12-2013 at 11:43 AM by Philip Oliver
Andy Murray's stunning Wimbledon triumph has been celebrated across Britain as the Scot has finally ended the 77-year wait for a men's champion at the All-England club.

The gushing praise directed at the British number one has undoubtedly been justified as he powered through Wimbledon showing his quality, guts, determination and desire to finally claim the most coveted of all the Grand Slams.

His final victory over Novak Djokovic in straight sets, a match he began as outsider in the tennis betting, was mightily impressive and equally as deserved. It's true to say the 26-year-old appears in great shape to now go on and win many more of the major tournaments and push Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer all the way in the coming years.

Yet, despite the obvious hype surrounding Murray, the question needs to be asked - where are all the other British men challenging for a place in the world's top 50?

In fact, forget the top 50, you have to - rather amazingly - go way down into the top 300 in the world before more British men finally make the list.

Dan Evans and James Ward, despite encouraging displays in the Davis Cup, are ranked the second and third-best Great Britain male players but, at a lowly 252 and 264 in the world respectively, the pair have nothing to shout about at all and the betting suggests they will not berising up the rankings any time soon.

Yes, the bigger picture really is that bad.

Examining things further and it emerges that British No 5 Brydan Klein was actually born in Australia, No 7 Jamie Baker has now retired and No 6 Josh Goodall is likely to join him soon.

It really is no wonder Murray has been the only British man in the last decade to make it into the second week of Wimbledon and, considering all the money that has been pumped into the sport at lower levels to try and generate more top players, that record needs to be rectified if we are to move forward.

Yes, Murray is a superb player and he has rightly deserved all the accolades thrown at him since his Wimbledon victory but the overall picture of the men's game in Britain is, quite simply, embarrassing.

Murray is a great role model and an inspiration to young players coming through as to what can be achieved, but surely it's time we had more players - maybe even one would be nice - following in his footsteps?
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