11:57am Wednesday 22nd June 2011
By Omar Oakes
Martina Navratilova said she was unable to say why British tennis consistently failed to produce more than one realistic contender to win Wimbledon.
The nine-time singles champion - the most successful singles player ever at Wimbledon – also denied the women’s game had weakened despite the continued domination of the Williams sisters, who are favourites again to win this year.
After playing a tennis computer game in 3D at new Sony Centre in Centre Court shopping centre, Ms Navratilova claimed it would take “half an hour” to explain why Britain could not produce more players like Andy Murray who can realistically win tournaments.
She explained: “After Serena and Venus, there’s nobody in American tennis that’s upcoming. We’re thinking there’s something wrong with American tennis as well. After Andy Roddick, who knows on the men’s side as well?
“So it’s cyclical and also tennis has become much more international. I wouldn’t look it as a failure for Britain, but a success of all the other countries – 80 countries are represented in this year’s Wimbledon. Fifty years ago it was only English-speaking countries.”
The 54-year-old strongly denied that women’s tennis was in crisis, even though Serena Williams is again the bookies’ favourites despite not having played tennis for most of the last two years.
She said: “Serena’s won it four times, she’s a great champion so I think we need to look at it in context and talk about how good she is rather than how bad the women’s game is.
Ms Navratilova also criticised the speed of the grass courts for being too slow, claiming there was less differences between the different surfaces played in tennis.
She said: “I don’t think it’s any slower than it was last year but yeah, it’s too slow. It’s playing slower than the clay, so go figure – the clay is playing faster and the grass is playing slower, which is why it’s easier to win on both b because it’s playing very similar.”
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