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Sport

Watson concerned about future of British tennis

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Second Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 23, 2020 - Britain’s Heather Watson in action during the match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

(Reuters) - Heather Watson has painted a bleak picture of the future of British tennis and called on its governing body to provide more support to promising young players.

Watson joined compatriots Andy Murray, Johanna Konta, Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady in exiting Roland Garros after a 7-6(4) 6-4 defeat by Fiona Ferro, leaving no Britons in the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2013.

“I feel like we’ve got a good little group of players right now, but little. I don’t really see who’s next. I don’t see who’s going to be top 50,” Watson, 28, said.

Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) offers aid to a limited number of elite juniors through its national academies in Stirling and Loughborough but Watson believes it needs to widen its pool of support.

“I think personally that more players need to get help rather than just helping your selected players - I don’t know how many there are, but a handful of players,” she said.

“I feel like there needs to be a bigger pool of support. That way you’re not spoiled and not given everything at a young age. You need to work for it, learn the grind and hard work of the tour, what it takes. It would give more people the opportunity.”

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel

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