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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
LTA boss targets 'soft' players
New LTA chief executive Roger Draper
Draper wants to reorganise the structure of the LTA over time
Lawn Tennis Association chief Roger Draper wants to end the culture of funding under-performing players.

Draper insists much of the blame must go to the players rather than the LTA.

"I think it's been far too comfortable and I think that's part of the problem when you are a resource-rich governing body," Draper told BBC Radio Five Live.

"It has surprised me the amount of funding the LTA are spending on players who are 300, 400, 500 in the world and are stuck there."

There are currently only three British players - men or women - inside the world's top 100, and Draper is keen to look at the next generation and beyond.

We've had 50 years of people saying we're getting this wrong so a few more weeks or months isn't going to make too much difference

Roger Draper,
LTA chief executive

"I don't mind funding players who actually have a chance of making it through to the top 100," he said.

"But we have to start really focusing on our younger age groups, the 10, 11, 12-year-olds. They have to be the warriors and competitors coming through.

"You can't teach a youngster to compete when they are 16, 17 and 18. It's down to individual responsibility, it's not the LTA's fault.

"It's down to the players' commitment, not putting in the training, not putting in the effort.

"Our job is to remove all the excuses for those players not to perform and that's what we are going to do, but ultimately it's down to the individual player."

Having overseen the departure of performance director David Felgate last week, Draper said he is determined to find a world-class replacement.

"I think you have to," he said. "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

"At the end of the day it's about getting quality people in place so we've got to incentivise those people to deliver success.

"I'm in no rush. We've had 50 years of people saying we're getting this wrong so a few more weeks or months isn't going to make too much difference.

"I want to use the opportunities Wimbledon throws up to talk to all the best people in the world like Nick Bollettieri, Bob Brett, Craig Tiley....

"We have to get this right."

SEE ALSO
Lloyd keen to land key LTA post
17 May 06 |  Tennis
What next for British tennis?
18 May 06 |  Tennis


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