Roger Draper to quit LTA after years of criticism


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The Independent Online

Roger Draper, one of the most criticised figures in the recent history of British sports administration, is to step down from his post as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association in September. The announcement follows the recent appointment of David Gregson as independent chairman of the LTA board.

Throughout his seven years in charge Draper has come under regular fire from many quarters, despite the fact that the country has been enjoying increasing success at elite level through the likes of Andy Murray, Heather Watson, Laura Robson and a number of male doubles players.

However, the biggest successes have been achieved by players whose careers have developed largely outside the LTA's training programmes and critics point instead to what they see as the governing body's failure to spend its annual Wimbledon windfall wisely.

Millions were spent in Draper's early years on recruiting highly-paid coaches and administrators from overseas, such as Brad Gilbert and Paul Annacone, nearly all of whom have now left. Draper himself earned £640,000 last year, including a £200,000 bonus.

In recent times Draper has been roundly criticised for the declining numbers of people playing tennis in Britain, which led to Sport England withholding around £10m of grant money last year.