Only two Britons make Wimbledon men`s singles draw

London: Only two British men have made the 128-strong draw for next week`s Wimbledon championships, the lowest number for the tournament.

World number four Andy Murray is the only home player to gain entry via his ranking while fellow Scot Jamie Baker, ranked 259 in the world, has been awarded a wild card.

Britain`s number two Alex Bogdanovic was one of 10 home players who fell in the men`s qualifying event at Roehampton. Bogdanovic, ranked 161, was not offered a wild card by the All England Club after eight first-round defeats at Wimbledon.

Apart from Murray, and before him Tim Henman, British men have rarely survived more than a round at the grasscourt grand slam, but to have only two in the draw is further evidence of the lack of depth in British tennis.

"There are fewer British men in the main draw because fewer wild cards have been handed out," Leon Smith, head of men`s tennis at the LTA, said in a statement.

"We accept that this is where we are in the men`s game, but what I saw in qualifying this week was British players fighting for every point, battling for a place in the Championships.”

"That`s what we need to concentrate on -- creating an environment where more British players aren`t just in the first round because of a wild card, but on merit."

The women`s side is far more encouraging although only British number one Elena Baltacha, who reached the quarter-finals in Eastbourne this week before losing to Samantha Stosur, and Anne Keothavong, qualify by virtue of rankings.

They are two of six British players in the women`s singles, including 18-year-old Heather Watson and 2008 junior champion Laura Watson.

Bureau Report


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