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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 06:33 GMT 07:33 UK
LTA chief sets brave 2012 target
LTA chief executive Roger Draper
Draper says players must now take more responsibility
The boss of British tennis has set a bold target of at least five players in the world's top 100 by 2012.

Tim Henman's retirement after this weekend's Davis Cup tie against Croatia will leave Andy Murray as the only Briton in the men's or women's top 100.

But LTA chief Roger Draper told BBC Sport: "By 2012, we should have five or six players in the top 100.

"There can be no excuses anymore. We've got some of the best facilities and the best coaches in the world now."

Draper said he also wants to see the same number of British players in the doubles top 100 by the time London hosts the Olympics in 2012.

Nobody can really blame the LTA anymore

LTA chief executive
Roger Draper

Since taking over as chief executive in April 2006, Draper has instigated some major reforms at the LTA, cutting administrative staff back while making a number of high-profile coaching appointments.

He has also overseen the opening of a new 40m National Tennis Centre at Roehampton.


However, without Henman, Britain will be left with only Murray in the singles top 100 and three men in the doubles equivalent.

Behind Murray, there are only a further three men ranked inside the top 300.

The women's game is in an even worse state, with no Briton ranked above 100 in either singles or doubles.

But Draper said: "Nobody can really blame the LTA anymore.

"We've got a very clear plan and world-class people in place. We've got probably the best facility in the world. We've got some of the best sports science back-up.

"Now it's really down to the players."

Henman, who has spent 12 years in the world's top 100, told the BBC this week that players had to take more responsibility for their lack of success.

"There are too many players that want to blame the LTA. I just think it's weak and we've got to get away from that," the former world number four told Inside Sport.

Draper says the right system is now in place to ensure that players coming through have the right attitude as well as the necessary talent.

"Our job is to support but to make it quite an uncomfortable journey," he said.

"We've got the talent in this country - it's about getting them doing the right things. It's about coaching versus competition.

"We've got some of the best stroke players in the world but they can't win tennis matches.

"That desire, hunger and competitive edge has got to be drilled in at a much earlier age.

"All the new approaches we're taking are going to take four or five years to kick in but we are going to have numbers in depth going forward."

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17 Sep 07 |  Tennis
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