LONDON -- The improbable chance of a U.S. man winning a Wimbledon singles title this year has spawned a number of opinions on solutions to the current mediocre state of U.S. tennis at the highest levels of the game.

The U.S. Tennis Association has appointed a Special Committee on Player Development to make recommendations at its next annual meeting in March 1988. Its mandate is simple and direct: make the United States No. 1 again. As one of this committee's co-chairmen, I'm charged with providing a fair hearing for all points of view. But I do have some ideas of my own.

The problem, I believe, is two-fold. First, we need to create a much larger group of junior players between the ages of 8 and 11. This automatically will allow for more selectivity for advanced play. Secondly, the most talented of these players need more and better coaching and support earlier in their development.

Unfortunately, the United States simply has too few superior athletes learning tennis at an early age. Our studies show that the typical nationally ranked junior is a member of a private club and comes from a family where the annual aggregate income is almost $50,000 a year. But clubs have not historically produced athletically gifted players, nor could they possibly provide a critical mass of them from which would emerge a large, permanent pool of talent.

The USTA/Schools program, which is oversubscribed, is an important thrust in this regard. All 17 USTA sections have tennis introduced at selected local elementary and junior high schools where a USTA/National Junior Tennis League follow-up summer program is available. These two programs will help make tennis a natural option for talented youngsters who ordinarily would stick with the Big Four -- football, basketball, baseball and track.

Along with overtures to public schools, attention should be paid to our public parks. In a survey of U.S. tennis players' attitudes toward the game, 90 percent of those claiming to be serious players said they played primarily on public courts. It would seem to follow that more junior events and quality instruction in public parks will result in more juniors in more events at more sites.

Once this country's youngest talented group emerges under our current system, the players begin a destructive chase for a high sectional or a national ranking at the expense of the long-term development of an all-around game.

It is difficult -- impossible at times -- to convince parents of promising 13-year-olds that their children need to change their games, even if they are having some success. Yet we know that what wins at age 12 or 14 probably will not win at age 18 and up.

The high rankings and the acclaim, free clothing, rackets, shoes and college scholarships that come with early success now have proven to be a damaging influence on the youngest of our promising juniors, some of whom burn out from too much, too soon.

I also believe we could provide more competition for more juniors at much less cost if we made regional or sectional events just as important as a handful of national events.

I believe something must be done to stop juniors, parents and coaches in their ill-advised, destructive pursuit of a ranking up to age 15. Another study of past 12-and-under national rankings since 1972 showed no correlation whatsoever between a high national ranking and professional success.

Another dilemma is the tenacity of some teaching professionals in holding onto their prized pupils. Few instructors or coaches have all the answers. So many of our best juniors are woefully deficient in the basics. Chuck Kriese, the coach at Clemson University, recently said, "It is really a shame the way some of these kids were allowed to develop with such bad habits. And we {college coaches} can't change strokes at our level. It's too late."

One solution would be to have groups of coaches assume responsibility for all the talented juniors in a particular geographical area. Then our best juniors would have the benefit of their primary coaches as well as all the others within, say, a one-hour driving radius. The collective pride of the group would force constant reappraisals of their young pupils' games.

This collectivist approach leads me to my final recommendation. Our best juniors are singled out much too early for their own good.

The primary unit of competitive junior programs should be a team of at least a dozen boys and girls. Team integrity should remain as long as possible to assure three desired outcomes: 1) to keep a feeling of peer pressure that forces all players to give their best efforts all the time; 2) to create an environment where improvement and a well-rounded game can be institutionalized, and 3) to create a vehicle for which fund-raising is easier. It is more effective to raise funds for a team on a permanent basis than for individuals now and then.

There are other solutions, of course, such as more clay court play and smaller courts for beginners and they certainly are being seriously discussed. I hope our present leading professionals can hang on until our fortunes are revived.