March 8, 2010 / 5:37 PM / 8 years ago

Britain plan immediate inquiry after humiliating defeat

LONDON (Reuters) - British Lawn Tennis Association president Roger Draper condemned a fifth successive Davis Cup defeat as unacceptable on Monday and called for an immediate inquiry into the humiliating loss to Lithuania.

Britain's Daniel Evans returns the ball to Lithuania's Laurynas Grigelis during the Davis Cup match in Vilnius March 7, 2010. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Britain, without their number one Andy Murray, lost the Europe/Africa Zone group II first round match 3-2 in Vilnius on Sunday.

They now face a relegation playoff against Turkey in July to avoid dropping into group III, the bottom tier of the men’s team competition.

“I share the deep disappointment and frustration at this result. Five defeats in a row is unacceptable,” Draper told the association’s official website (www.lta.org.uk).

“So I have asked LTA player director Steven Martens to review last week’s performance and result and report back to me and the LTA main board as soon as possible.

“That review needs to be swift and decisive as it is clear some real improvements need to be made,” added Draper.

Captain John Lloyd told BBC radio it was too early to speculate about his position.

“We’ll see about my future, it’s too early yet. We’ll just have to see how it goes in the next few days,” he said.

“I said it was going to be a rebuilding process. I would have liked to start with this win but it hasn’t happened.”

Martens denied a media report that former British number one Greg Rusedski had been approached to take charge of the team.

MEDIA MYSTIFICATION

“We have had no direct contact at all,” he told the BBC. “I think it would also be very disrespectful to a guy like John to do that.

“Clearly we have to be swift and decisive. But it is very important that in the heat of the battle you don’t do anything emotional.”

British media expressed mystification on Monday that a country awash with money from Wimbledon should lose to a nation containing only three players with world singles rankings.

“There are at least 29 million reasons why the Lawn Tennis Association’s officials should have been burning with embarrassment in the Baltic last night,” Mark Hodgkinson wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

“Britain’s governing body received more than 29 million pounds ($44 million) from the surplus of last summer’s Wimbledon championships and have had that sort of money at their disposal for years.

“Yet the grand slam nation yesterday experienced the greatest indignity in more than 100 seasons of the Davis Cup by losing to Lithuania, a country with an annual tennis budget of less than 100,000 pounds,” wrote Hodgkinson.

Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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