Draper seeks to serve up the net gains from a glorious 12 months

 

Revelling in the success of a remarkable year would be easy. But Roger Draper’s responsibility as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association is not just to the top of British tennis and the present, but to the roots of the game and its future too.

So Draper knows he would be betraying the British game 20 years from now if he did not harness 2012’s momentum. “We want to make sure we leave a legacy,” Draper said at the European Club Leadership Summit held at Wimbledon this week.

“So those board members in 2032 don’t think ‘what did those idiots do in 2012 when they had all those great events and great players and they didn’t actually build on that?’”

It has not always been this enjoyable. In March last year, one newspaper ran a story saying, “Lame Duck Draper Must Go”. Draper returned home that night and received an email from Sir Alex Ferguson headed, “It takes years to be an overnight success”, reminding him that Ferguson took a long time to win the league title at Manchester United and was once supposedly one game from the sack.

But this is the moment British tennis had been waiting for. “You don’t wake up in the morning and say ‘Oh, Andy Murray won the US Open, what should we do?’” Draper said.

“But if you had said to me a few years ago, if Tim Henman or Greg Rusedski or Andy Murray won Wimbledon was Britain ready, I’d have said ‘no, absolutely we’re not’.

“So the key to legacy is when you get great athletes coming through, making sure all of our 3,000 clubs, 6,000 coaches, teachers, and volunteers are ready for that moment.

“It is about being ready for key moments. There’s no point having wonderful events and great winners if our places aren’t ready, our people aren’t ready and we haven’t got our programmes in place.”

That is precisely what the LTA is now doing, hoping to take advantage of increased interest. Draper has identified groups which would be particularly keen to get more into tennis.

Mini Tennis is a new programme for under-10s and is already played by 100,000 children. The LTA is also pursuing a group of roughly 400,000 women keen on fitness, aged generally between 35 and 45, who might be bored of the gym. Cardio Tennis is already huge in the United States and there is a hope it will catch on here.

The LTA knows that too many of the clubs are inaccessible to new players. “I can’t stand here and say ‘all of our 3,000 clubs are fantastic and affordable and accessible’ because they’re not,” Draper said. “But we are now at a state of readiness where we probably got about one third of our clubs ticking all the right boxes.”

There has been a significant growth in the last year. The number of British tennis members has increased by 26 per cent to 480,000. Weekly participation is up by 18 per cent and monthly participation by 12 per cent.

Roger Draper was speaking at a  meeting for heads of sports clubs from across the world held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club this week.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape