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Wimbledon 2010: The LTA Gets a Consolation Prize Through British Duo

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIJune 27, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 26:  Chris Eaton (2ndR) and Dominic Inglot (R) of Great Britain in action during their doubles match against Daniel Nestor of Canada (L) and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia of France on Day Six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 26, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Eight bites of the British strawberry headed into Round One of the singles events at Wimbledon.

Only one, however, was to emerge victorious. But then everybody had already expected Andy Murray to progress. He is after all a player of the highest calibre, and one who has the ranking to prove it.

The critics were quick to attack the efforts of the Lawn Tennis Association. They were disgusted with the lack of progress.

For the first time in Wimbledon's history only one homegrown talent had triumphed in Round One.

For all the funds that had been allocated to the LTA to bring British stars to the forefront, nothing had been yielded.

For all the cash provided answers were subsequently and immediately required.
The past few months had been promising. Expectations were higher than usual.

Andy Murray was still the only seeded British player. Scottish player Elena Baltacha had finally emerged into the top 100 to join him, and went into Wimbledon optimistic for a successful campaign and a climb into the worlds top 50.

As she headed onto the all to familiar courts of SW19 for Round One she was expected to win. She was leading 6-2, 5-3 and was serving for the match against an opponent ranked below her.

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She was the favourite to win, but she threw it all away and went down in three sets. This was the closest a British woman got to Round Two.

Others like Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson put up a fight. Although mainly the battles were always losing ones.

The last couple of days have seen a slight reversal of the misfortunes in the singles events. Elena has redeemed herself somewhat in aiding a recovery from the downfall.

The doubles game and its variations is seeing a little more competitive action from the Brits.

In the mixed doubles Elena partnered little known Ken Skupski to a comfortable first round win over European opposition. Their 6-2, 6-3 victory has set them up with a second round tie against seeded duo Mark Knowles and Katarina Srebotnik.

The fifth seeds will provide a more difficult proposition for the British pairing, so many will expect a loss for Elena and Ken.

Their victory in the first round though does at least give a glimpse of hope. They are joined in the second round by two further British pairings.

Colin Fleming and Sarah Borwell came out on top in the first round, defeating Chris Kas and Vania King 6-3, 6-4. They also face seeded competition in Round Two.

Their chances of progression will seem slightly more advanced than the final pair to make the next round. Jonathan Marray and Anna Smith took three sets to win their first round fixture and will do well to battle through to Round Three.

Arguably the three pairs are against the odds for a continuation in the second week. The safe choice would be in expecting them to bow out.

So is there anywhere else to turn if they all fail to progress?

The answer is yes. One pair in the men's doubles has got the British critics in a frenzy.

Where the women's doubles threw up no wins, Chris Eaton and Dominic Inglot caused a commotion today by beating the defending Men's doubles champions. Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic had claimed the title twice at Wimbledon. They could not halt the emergence though of a promising young pair in Eaton and Inglot. The Brits came through 7-5, 5-7, 7-6, 6-7, 8-6.

It was indeed a very tight match.

Chris Eaton may be remembered by some for a spirited first-round win in the singles event in 2008. He did appear to be a prospective talent that could accompany Andy Murray at the top of the men's game.

Sadly this did not come to fruition, and his attention focused more into the doubles arena.

Little had been done by Eaton up until this point, but now he may see something among the horizon that entices him in.

You would expect now that the British duo have much to anticipate as such a scalp to the magnitude of today's must signal the beginning of something special.

It may be a welcome consolation prize for the LTA. They are so in need of a celebration that they will shower this victory with a vast amount of praise and attention.

The duo may progress beyond the third round. They may even go all the way to the final.

We should of course not hold our breath given the recent hard times that have fallen upon the British contingent.

It is, however, a step in the right direction, and one that can eventually signal the opening of a new era.

It may not be the singles triumph that we would hope to acquire, but then our last title was won in the form of the mixed doubles event in 2007.

Jelena Jankovic partnered Jamie Murray on that occasion and brought a small amount of nationalistic pride back to Great Britain.

At this moment in time, with Andy Murray looking to progress in the singles and some doubles wins under the LTA's belt, things are on the up.

If only Murray was part of the LTA partnership, then it would be a full house.
There will still be no accepted excuses for the failure in the singles game. For the doubles however a saviour or a pair of them to be exact may just have been found.

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