Thursday 19 October 2017

Tennis: British Tennis Chief to step down

Eleanor Crooks

Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper has announced he will step down from his role at the end of September.

Draper took over at the head of British tennis' governing body in 2006 after fulfilling the same role at Sport England and has endured mixed fortunes in his seven-year reign.

The success of Andy Murray has provided the greatest moments for the sport in this country in more than 70 years while some progress has been made in other areas.

But Draper has also been heavily criticised for continued failures at elite level despite record levels of income and in December tennis had £10million of funding withheld by Sport England due to falling participation figures.

Draper has faced calls for his resignation from critics inside and outside the sport but the LTA were keen to stress the decision was taken solely by the chief executive, who feels it is the right time to stand down.

Draper said: "It has been a huge honour to serve the sport that I love so much and to play my part in leading British tennis.

"I have been very lucky to work with fantastic people both at the LTA and across the wider tennis community, and I would like to thank them all for their passion, commitment and hard work.

"As a result, the sport is entering a very exciting phase, and now is the right time for me to hand over the baton to a new leader who can build on what has been achieved in recent years and take British tennis to new levels."

Critics will note that news of Draper's departure comes only three months after David Gregson was appointed as independent chairman of the LTA board.

Gregson said today: "Roger has made a significant contribution to the development of British tennis and (LTA president) Peter Bretherton and I would like to thank him for all his hard work in driving these changes.

"His passion and enthusiasm for the sport will be much missed. Roger will be staying on as CEO until the end of September, and we shall now start the process to appoint his successor."

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