Tennis boss hits out at the moaning Brits

Last updated at 13:57 27 June 2007

Paul Hutchins hit back today as the row over Davis Cup coach Peter Lundgren rumbled on. The controversial decision to send Lundgren on extended leave "for personal reasons" meant he was banned from attending matches at Wimbledon, as revealed yesterday.

The head of British men's tennis could not hide his disappointment at comments by Briton Josh Goodall, who had lambasted the Lawn Tennis Association on Radio Five Live.

Goodall complained he had only been told Lundgren, who was acting as his coach, would not be in his corner for his match against Feliciano Lopez, which he lost 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, only 10 minutes before he went on court.

He said: "For the first set my mind was completely elsewhere - I couldn't even think straight. I was so disappointed that the LTA had done this before the biggest match of my career. I felt the timing of it was absolutely disgraceful.

"I am really disappointed and couldn't have had worse preparations for my match. I now need to get some questions answered by the LTA as I haven't got a coach and still have some big matches coming up."

Hutchins subsequently had a long conversation with Goodall at Wimbledon to clear the air over the issue and suggested the player had also been at fault in his relationship with Lundgren.

"I was left in a situation where I had to speak to Josh just before hismatch to tell him that Peter would not be around," Hutchins explained.

"If Josh had not been told he would have been looking around for Peter during the match and he wouldn't have been there.

"However, it was Josh who didn't go to see Peter at all at Queen's Club when Peter wanted him to come there and practice and train, and Josh and I have had a few ups and downs recently.

"Not only with Josh but we can't start blaming other things about the defeat.

"There is this blame culture going around British tennis and there are certain people who just love to blame the LTA.

"I'm getting pretty tired of it, of people thinking whereby they expect the LTA to be their life-blood, they expect the LTA to pay for too many things. And they expect the LTA to do too many things."

Hutchins refused to confirm claims that Lundgren has a drink problem, which allegedly surfaced at last weekend's LTA coaching conference.

He added: "I have to stay straight faced on the claims about Peter. He is very popular with coaches and players and John Lloyd, the Davis Cup captain, chose him as the coach for the team. We fully support Peter and look forward to his return."

Lundgren was alleged to have slurred his words and did not perform a presentation as planned.

Peter Lundgren

But the LTA statement said: "Peter Lundgren is on leave of absence for personal reasons and we look forward to him returning ahead of the Davis Cup tie in September."

Britain are taking on Croatia on Wimbledon's Court One in a match they must win to earn a place in the prestigious World Group.

The loss of Lundgren would be a massive blow to the team and Lloyd, who picked him for the role.

Alex Bogdanovic, the British No3, was another player who had been working closely with Lundgren.

He had to rely on the courtside support of LTA coaches Paul Annacone, Brad Gilbert and Hutchins yesterday but lost 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Australia's big-hitting Chris Guccione.

Bogdanovic revealed that he had spoken to Lundgren after his match but refused to blame his absence on his defeat.

"It was very tricky," Bogdanovic said. "I only heard yesterday and it was difficult because we worked really hard throughout the whole year.

"We come to a big slam and it's just a shame that he wasn't just there to watch me. I think he'll be okay and we're going to go back to work after this tournament."

However, Hutchins insisted that Tim Henman's heroic efforts in SW19 was still a bigger story than the Lundgren row. He said: "The Tim Henman story is so much bigger than what's happened to Peter and I don't accept that it has detracted from the outstanding win over Carlos Moya."

Alex Bogdanovic

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