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Old 07-01-2007, 08:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Max articles, interviews and news!

a rather old article but I found it only today

MIRNYI: EASY LIFE HAMPERS BRITS

By Brendan McLoughlin, PA Sport

Former Nottingham Open finalist Max Mirnyi has identified a lack of individual commitment as one of the main reasons behind Britain's failure to produce more world class players.

Just two British players, Andy Murray and Tim Henman, can be found inside either the men's or women's top 100, while the rankings are packed with players from European countries like Serbia, Croatia and Slovakia who invest far less money on the game at grassroots level.

The Belorussian, who is expected to begin what will be his sixth appearance in the east midlands on Tuesday, left his home nation aged 14 to develop his game in the United States before training at the famous Bollettieri Academy.

The 6ft 2ins giant has since gone on to win one singles title and 32 tour doubles titles as well as topping the world doubles rankings in 2003.

And the 29-year-old believes the fact players from developed countries such as Britain have other opportunities outside of the sport to fall back on means they may be less likely to devote themselves to it.

He said: "Tennis is a great way of coming through and achieving something in life whereas perhaps for somebody from a developed country you don't have to make such a harsh commitment.

"Perhaps it has to come from an attitude within, from the parents, from the kids, because to have full commitment from such a young age on a child's side and full support from your parents is a lot to ask for.

"In my mind this is the main reason why some better countries don't produce tennis players."

Asked if this was the problem in Britain, Mirnyi responded: "Certainly it's part of the reason. You can't say there has not been support from the Lawn

Tennis Association and there have been enough tournaments."

Last week Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper claimed a more "ruthless" approach was needed if things are going to change.

He said: "It's been a pretty bad culture in British tennis, largely due to the lack of success. Everyone has their own views but at times it's like running some sort of kindergarten.

"Getting people aligned to a common goal is a huge challenge.

"Over the years, when you look back at the talent we've has, I think a lot of that talent has been wasted and it's been wasted because people haven't been leading professional lifestyles.

"Rafael Nadal doesn't look like he is going out partying every night. He goes in the gym every day."

The LTA have succeeded in recruiting top coaches including Brad Gilbert, Paul Annacone, Peter Lundgren and Carl Maes, who have all nurtured grand-slam winners, to work with Britain's leading players.

And while Mirnyi agrees the influence of such illustrious names will help, he warns it will take time for their labours to come to fruition.

"I hear there is a great system in place now with great foreign coaches and with new facilities being built.

"There are a good group of kids coming through and I think it is due to change in the near future.

"Certainly you see more players and there are more top-ranked coaches involved with the children and I'm sure sooner or later it will show its results and it will pay off.

"But it is not an overnight thing and it takes a long time to develop a top-class tennis player."
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