Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

LTA Supremo Is Ready to Swing the Axe Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

LTA Supremo Is Ready to Swing the Axe Again

Article excerpt


BRITISH tennis is bracing itself for another wave of job losses despite nearly 100 employees having being axed as the Lawn Tennis Association undergoes radical change.

Roger Draper, LTA chief executive, is masterminding a remarkable reorganisation that will see the staff cut from 295 to below 200. Those remaining will have to justify their positions, even former Davis Cup captain Jeremy Bates.

Draper is attempting to instigate root and branch changes and among his proposals is the closure of the Loughborough tennis centre, Leicestershire.

Those employees who have survived the first cull will, like Bates, have to identify jobs they "match" to secure their positions.

Not surprisingly, the situation has led to considerable disquiet. Employees have seen Draper recruit top American coaches Brad Gilbert and Paul Annacone on six-figure salaries while cutting jobs at home.

Many believe the LTA will discover the cuts have left the organisation short of manpower in key areas but Draper is adamant the process is vital to the future of a sport that has failed to deliver on the international stage.

Draper said: "The existing staff level of 295 will drop to around 195 and the process is ongoing."

The extent of the cuts was revealed last night at the Lawn Tennis Writers' dinner in London, where Andy Murray, the British No1, received the Player of the Year award.

It was collected by his mother Judy, who explained her son was in California with Gilbert working on his fitness. "Andy wants everyone to know he was sprint training with Michael Johnson today so that is one area of his play he won't face questions about next year,"she said.

Meanwhile, Goran Ivanisevic, the former Wimbledon champion, has increased the pressure on Murray by predicting the 19-year-old will become the world No1. …

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