Swede’s sacking causes Wimbledon furore

British tennis, already reeling from another disastrous Wimbledon, was plunged into new controversy on Wednesday when Davis Cup coach Peter Lundgren was suspended.

Lundgren, who took Roger Federer to his first Wimbledon title and led Marat Safin to the 2005 Australian Open, had been accused of appearing at a tennis seminar where he slurred his words.

“Peter Lundgren is on a leave of absence for personal reasons and we look forward to him returning ahead of the Davis Cup tie (against Croatia) in September,” said a statement from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) which governs the sport in Britain.

The 42-year-old Swede was hired last year and along with Brad Gilbert, who coaches Andy Murray, and Paul Annacone, who looks after Tim Henman, was charged with trying to revitalize British tennis.

But his suspension was criticized by the country’s legion of under-performing players who, with the notable exception of Henman, once again failed to get beyond the first round at Wimbledon.

Joshua Goodall, who lost 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, was furious after being told of Lundgren’s suspension just 10 minutes before he walked on court.

“I’m so disappointed and angry that the LTA did this before the biggest match of my career,” Goodall told the BBC.

“The timing was disgraceful. Ten minutes before the match I’m looking for my coach and I get wind from the head of the LTA on the men’s side that my coach for the whole year has been relieved of his job for the next month.

“I haven’t had the best of years and I was looking to sort out tactics. It couldn’t have been worse preparation.”