Ex-Jo Konta star coach quits LTA academy a year after opening

Esteban Carril – the coach who masterminded Jo Konta’s rise to the top of the women’s game – quits LTA academy just a year after it opened

  • Esteban Carril has quit the Lawn Tennis Association’s academy after just a year
  • The Spaniard is known for transforming the career of tennis ace Johanna Konta
  • Carril, 43, was the star attraction for pupils at the National Academy in Stirling

One of the Lawn Tennis Association’s two flagship academies has been hit by its highest profile coach quitting barely a year after its inception.

Esteban Carril, the highly-rated Spaniard best known for transforming the career of Johanna Konta, will no longer be working at the National Academy in Stirling.

Parents have been notified that the 43 year-old is leaving, having been billed as its star attraction for scholarship pupils when it opened in September 2019.

Esteban Carril (right), former coach of Johanna Konta (left), has left the LTA’s tennis academy 

He had not been seen there since March, and the official reason given was difficulties involved travelling from his base in Gijon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Sportsmail understands that at least one British player has been able to travel the other way round to him. Katie Swan, who has struggled to crack the professional game after showing much promise as a junior, is said to have been working with him in Spain over the past month.

Carril’s official title was Performance Adviser on a part-time contract, and he was the highest profile coach working at either Stirling or the other newly-established LTA Academy in Loughborough.

He enjoys an enviable reputation and is credited with having done a remarkable job in his time with Konta, who he took from being a little-known outsider to world No 14 before they split in late 2016.

The two academies, into which the LTA are investing millions, were the brainchild of now departed Performance Director Simon Timson and are enthusiastically supported by Chief Executive Scott Lloyd.

The initial intake was of eight players, seven of them from England lured to a remote outpost of the game whose main claim to fame in tennis is that it is close by where the Murray brothers grew up.

Carril took Konta from being an outsider to reaching world No 14 before they split in 2016

That Carill found it difficult to go there from where he lives in Spain is hardly a surprise even in normal times, and sources say he had been little in evidence prior to the Covid crisis hitting.

Outside the governing body there is much scepticism about whether a UK-based academy in a far northern climate, cherry picking a small number of players at a very young age, will ever result in a production line of tour standard talent, and there is scant evidence it has worked before.

For all its huge payroll compared to most other countries, there is little sign of an upturn in the governing body’s efforts to unearth significant new talent. This at a time when the country’s few elite players like the Murrays, Dan Evans, Jo Konta and Heather Watson are in their late twenties or thirties.

Carril’s replacement at the centre, which pays for the chosen teenagers to attend the independent Dollar Academy, will be LTA coach Nick Weal.

This is traditionally a time of coaching changes in tennis, with Konta, Evans and Kyle Edmund all on the lookout for people to work with on a permanent basis.

The 43-year-old coach will no longer be working at the National Academy in Stirling

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