Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

McEnroe Is Lined Up for Major Role with British Tennis; Former Great Is Set to Join Fellow Americans Paul Annacone and Brad Gilbert in Coaching for the LTA, Reports Chris Jones

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

McEnroe Is Lined Up for Major Role with British Tennis; Former Great Is Set to Join Fellow Americans Paul Annacone and Brad Gilbert in Coaching for the LTA, Reports Chris Jones

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

JOHN McENROE, one of the game's greatest players, is ready to join an American invasion of top coaches attempting to rescue British tennis. McEnroe will meet Roger Draper, the Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, in London this week while he is taking part in the BlackRock Masters at the Royal Albert Hall from tomorrow.

The American superstar is keen to take on a part-time role with the LTA designed to increase the number of youngsters playing a sport in Britain that has millions in the bank but only 19-year-old Andy Murray and veteran Tim Henman in the top 100.

McEnroe could join fellow Americans Brad Gilbert and Paul Annacone in a 'dream team' put together by Draper, who has defended the six-figure salaries that have tempted two of the world's top coaches to spend 20 weeks a year at the LTA's new National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, which is due to open in February at a cost of [pounds sterling]20million.

Gilbert and Annacone have been given contracts that allow them to continue coaching Murray and Henman while helping develop other senior and junior players at the NTC and in America.

Lee Childs, the British No13 and world ranked 395, is in San Francisco working with Gilbert and Murray, hoping to find a way of climbing up the ranking ladder.

The p revious LTA regime discussed involving McEnroe but nothing concrete was put in place and Draper is determined to utilise the unique skills of the multi-titled Grand Slam champion.

His successful move to respected commentator allied to his continuing presence on the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions circuit - which concludes with the Royal Albert Hall tournament - has maintained his profile.

McEnroe has no problem with Draper's strategy, saying: "I don't fear a 'Brain Drain' of American coaching talent to Britain - there is enough for everyone.

"I received an email from Roger Draper and am keen to meet up about what he is planning in Britain.

I am open to suggestions and would like to explore a part-time role with the United States Tennis Association in New York. …

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