LTA urged to ditch Draper after Davis Cup defeat

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andy Murray's former coach Mark Petchey has called on Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper to resign - or be pushed.

In a blistering attack on Draper's four-year reign, Petchey believes the Davis Cup defeat by Lithuania last weekend should be used as an opportunity for change at the top.

The 39-year-old, formerly the head of men's training at the LTA, told the Daily Telegraph: "This is about the structure of British tennis, about the vision of the LTA.

"Either Draper has to resign or the (LTA) council has to get off its hands and force him out. Unfortunately, I very much doubt whether Draper will resign, so it's going to take the council to do something.

"Draper has failed as the chief executive, his whole vision for British tennis has failed.

"He has spent an extraordinary amount of money over the past few years, millions and millions of pounds, and where has it got us? Nowhere. I think we're in a worse position with men's tennis than we were when Draper took over.

"It would be expensive to sack Draper and pay him off, but that would still be better than for him to carry on."

However, the LTA have received backing from Davis Cup player Jamie Baker, who believes the current regime need to be given more time for the results of their work to bear fruit.

The Scot was named in captain John Lloyd's squad for the Europe/Africa Zone Group II tie in Vilnius but had to fly home before the start of play after suffering an ankle injury.

He said: "I'm worried we could lose out in another, far more significant, contest: the blame game. I've heard the calls for John Lloyd to quit as Davis Cup captain. I was part of the squad in Lithuania and I respect him hugely.

"And I've heard the complaints about the Lawn Tennis Association. 'Rip it up and start again' seems to be the mantra. Nothing would be more damaging for the sport in this country."

Baker highlighted the treatment he has received for his injury at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton as evidence of things moving in the right direction and believes it is time for the players to step up.

"The whole level of professionalism has gone up massively," he continued. "Everything is in place for the players to succeed.

"It's not up to the LTA to churn out winners. Their job is to look after the wider game and provide the environment for success at the elite level. And we as players need to grab that opportunity.

"I don't think the Davis Cup is an accurate reflection of the state of British tennis. We've got so many talented youngsters coming through the ranks.

"Success will come but, if we start again now, there's a danger that losing in Lithuania won't be inexcusable. It'll be the norm."