Draper seeks 'next level'
You certainly cannot accuse Roger Draper of hanging about. Three months after becoming chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, the 36-year-old former CEO of Sport England took a large axe to the ancient oak that is his new preserve and hacked off three top branches, firing most notably David Felgate, the performance director charged with reviving flagging British fortunes.
So how does he proceed from here? With caution, it seems. Like Andy Murray and his proposed new coach, Draper plans to take his time over finding a new performance director, as well as replacements for the tennis operations director Rebecca Miskin and finance director Paul Keen.
So what was wrong with the departed trio? "It was more what was wrong with British tennis," said Draper, "the amount of squabbling, backbiting and infighting. We have to get everyone working as a team and raise the bar. It is not about the LTA, it is about British tennis. David and Rebecca moved things along, but now we have to take it to the next level."
Perhaps it goes with the territory, but in talking about "a clear plan and clear vision" and "driving things forward", Draper did not sound markedly different from his predecessors, Ian Peacock and John Crowther, as they reeled off one five-year plan after another. Perhaps the key difference was in Draper's unspoken acknowledgement that it might take twice as long.
"We have to focus on the 10 to 14-year-olds for the future. The country wants a Wimbledon champion, Grand Slam winners, Davis Cup success. But to do that you have to create the environment. Our job is to remove the excuses for people not to perform and not to deliver."
Nothing, said Draper, would happen before Wimbledon, five weeks away. "We have had 50 years of not being successful, so a few weeks more isn't going to make any difference. If you are going to go for the world's best, you have to look all over the world.
"There is a lot of quality around, so I don't want to get bounced into rush appointments. But we can't leave it too long. With Wimbledon coming up I am going to be seeing a lot of people. I am still listening and understanding and will continue to do so for the next few months."
The good news is that Draper reported having "a few chats over the past few weeks" with David Lloyd, the tennis centre millionaire and former Davis Cup captain who was incensed not to be offered the job Draper now holds. "I would be stupid if I didn't look at the people already experienced in the running of the sport," he said. Hear, hear to that.
Guus Hiddink leaves Netherlands: Louis van Gaal's replacement resigns less than a year after taking Dutch job
Sergio Ramos to Manchester United: Real Madrid defender 'wants' Old Trafford switch
Petr Cech joins Arsenal: key dates for the goalkeeper after Chelsea move - including Stamford Bridge return on 19 September
Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray tests himself with practice games against Rafael Nadal
Arsenal sign Petr Cech: Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey - and even Wojciech Szczesny welcome goalkeeper
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato