The “Greens” have walked the courts of Marcq-en-Barœul with great enthusiasm and the determination to continue to progress. They finish sixth, a place better than in 2016.
It may have gone unnoticed but Ireland is on the upward slope. Eighth in 2015, seventh last year, the island country is improving: it finishes the sixth tournament after its defeat against France. On a historic rugby land where tennis is neglected, the team of Jaime Pilkington finds in the competition the ideal opportunity to harden. And this despite a lack of obvious means.
“There are many competitions in Ireland, we can consider that we are a sport of the second category, the eighth or ninth in the hierarchy, we do not have the same financial support as rugby or football”, concedes, lucid , Irish coach Jamie Pilkington.
Despite a stronger team, “the best we’ve ever had,” the adventure stopped in the first round. The loss to the British neighbors (6-1) conceded on Friday tipped the Irish into the losers table game. Once again. But this is not a consolation prize. “We try every year to do better. We love being here. Sixth or seventh, it’s not the same, “says the coach.
The ever greener grass elsewhere
The culture of sport in the country is present but the tennis does not manage to take advantage of it. Member of the team this week at Master’U BNP Paribas, Peter Bothwell struggles to understand. “We have an incredible number of golfers, boxers and footballers of good level, it’s a pity that it’s not the same in tennis,” he pleads.
The talent pool is not completely empty. But the diet is not effective. “We do not really have infrastructure for indoor play, this is the main problem,” said the player, 648th World ATP. “The infrastructure of other European countries is much better. We play mostly on synthetic grass. This is not ideal for working tactics and technique. ”
“There are only two synthetic grass tournaments held each year. We are performing two weeks a year. But it’s starting to change. ” Still a little patience. A four leaf clover will eventually germinate.