Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Draper Banks on Young Jet Set; LTA Will Send Top Kids to Train in California, Florida and Barcelona

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Draper Banks on Young Jet Set; LTA Will Send Top Kids to Train in California, Florida and Barcelona

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

BRITISH tennis chiefs will fund a world-wide training programme to find the next Andy Murray - despite spending [pounds sterling]40million on a new National Tennis Centre at Roehampton.

The Lawn Tennis Association is planning to send top youngsters to three international centres - in California, Florida and Barcelona - to raise the standard of our top players.

Roger Draper, the new LTA chief executive, voted against the National Tennis Centre during his previous period within the organisation and believes British tennis has to utilise every available training option to try to develop men and women capable of reaching the top 100 in the world.

Draper denies that the Roehampton centre, which opens in February, will become a liability and insists the facilities will be the automatic choice for youngsters who prefer to train at home.

However, those with wider horizons will be given the money to chase their tennis dreams. That will entail sending youngsters to learn under the the world famous Nick Bollettieri - who has produced a host of stars including Andre Agassi, Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova - at one of his satellite clinics in California; to Saddlebrook in Florida, which was the base for Pete Sampras and Martina Hingis; and to the Sanchez-Casal Ac a de my in Barcelona, where Murray completed his training.

Draper said: "Can I see top young British players training at the Bollettieri Academy? Yes I can.

We are in discussions with Saddlebrook where Pete Sampras and James Blake trained.

"The more high performance places we can involve the better and then it will come down to what actually suits individual players.

It may be that training at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton is the best option for players and we are determined to establish a network of options around the world.

"It is my belief that there are no boundaries if you want to develop more winners and players in the top 100 in the men's and women's games."

Draper met Bollettieri at Wimbledon and has agreed to visit his Florida-based Academy to see what LTA money might buy. He added: "When I started the discussion process I discovered that people involved in British tennis were split into different camps. …

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