British captain quits after Israel loss

Jeremy Bates steps down from Davis Cup role as team faces relegation.

Jeremy Bates quit as Britain's Davis Cup captain Monday, a day after the team lost to Israel and fell further out of the tennis elite. Britain was beaten 3-2 by Israel in a Europe/Africa Zone Group I tie on grass in Eastbourne, England. Britain will face a relegation playoff in September against Ukraine to avoid dropping into Euro/Africa Zone Group II. The Lawn Tennis Association said Bates, 44, would remain as the interim head of performance for the LTA. Bates, formerly Britain's No. 1-ranked player, took over as Davis Cup captain in April 2004 after the departure of Roger Taylor. Under Bates, Britain won just two of six ties and lost its last three in a row. Britain lost 5-0 to Switzerland in Geneva last September and 3-2 at home to Serbia-Montenegro in April. It's last win came in Israel in March '05. David Lloyd and John Lloyd have been mentioned as possible replacements for Bates. Tim Henman has retired from Davis Cup play and 32-year-old Greg Rusedski missed the Israel tie with an injury. Top player Andy Murray injured his neck in Saturday's doubles and missed Sunday's singles. Jamie Delgado lost in five sets to Noam Okun, giving Israel an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series. "I have enjoyed my time as Davis Cup captain and it has been a privilege both to do the job and to work with the players," Bates said. "Nobody can doubt the effort and commitment that they showed, particularly in Eastbourne over the weekend."