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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Draper slams British 'negativity'
British tennis chief Roger Draper
Draper took charge at the LTA in April 2006
Tennis chief Roger Draper has renewed his criticism of the game in Britain and slammed what he sees as the negativity surrounding the sport.

"Sometimes you wonder if there are as many people who want the LTA to fail as there are who want it to succeed," said the Lawn Tennis Association boss.

"There are people who would rather British players lost than won, because it damages the LTA.

"There's so much baggage at the LTA and everyone seems to have a gripe."

The former chief executive of Sport England took charge at the LTA in April 2006 and has introduced a number of major reforms.

He has recruited a team of overseas coaches including the highly-rated Brad Gilbert, who guides British number one and world number nine Andy Murray.

We are trying to start afresh and I'm not interested in the past

Tennis chief Roger Draper

"Brad told me he had never encountered an atmosphere in which so many people fail," said Draper.

He also criticised the physical application of the British players who, apart from Murray and Tim Henman, show little sign of threatening the top 100.

"I don't think the players are fit enough. You look at them as a group and they have got work to do from the perspective of fitness and conditioning," said Draper.

"I was surprised by the attitude in tennis. You go and look at cycling, rowing and swimming and the athletes are training at 6am.

"Then they go to university or work, they're in the gym at lunchtime and then back in the evening for another training session.

"Tennis in this country has lacked that professional approach and the standards are simply not in place.

"But it is difficult to make the argument direct to the players because of the agents, coaches and hangers-on.

"But we are trying to start afresh and I'm not interested in the past."

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