Draper hopes to seal Gilbert deal

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The Independent Online

Roger Draper, chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, soon hopes to secure a deal with the leading American coach Brad Gilbert to oversee the next phase of Andy Murray's career.

Draper has earmarked about £500,000 to get the best possible support for Murray, who has indicated that he wants to work with Gilbert, whose previous charges include Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, and whose book on coaching bears the evocative title of Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis.

"Nothing has been signed or sealed," Draper said yesterday. "I know Andy wants the very best coach to guide him through the next phase of his career, and we want the very best coaches working in British tennis. Hopefully, we can tie something down with Brad, as we are doing with some other coaches as well, in the not too distant future.

"Andy Murray decides who coaches Andy Murray. Andy has got to keep his options open. Brad is clearly his first choice, but if things fall through with Brad, then he's obviously got to look at other world-class coaches."

Draper confirmed Gilbert would not work exclusively with Murray, but would also be involved in developing other players and coaches.

"Clearly, if the LTA were to support Brad's appointment, it wouldn't just be working with Andy," he said. "Andy's our biggest asset in British tennis, but we have also got a lot of other talented youngsters also coming through, and we have got a lot of talented coaches coming through who I am sure somebody like Brad could really improve their confidence and inspire them on to greater things."

Asked if Gilbert would be expected to spend part of his time in Britain, Draper replied: "We would hope so, yes, because clearly we are here to improve the level of British tennis.

"Andy Murray is a big part of that, but we have got a lot of other players and coaches that we have got to look after as well."