By James Crook

74594087March 13-  Roger Draper will step down as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in September after seven years in the role.

"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," said Draper as he announced that he would be leaving his role.

"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,"

Britain finally won its first men's singles Grand Slam since 1936 last year when Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in the final of the US Open, and young British stars Laura Robson and Heather Watson became the first two British women to be ranked in the top 50 female players in the world for 25 years.

56952730Andy Murray (left)'s former coach Mark Petchey (right) could be a contender to succeed Draper as LTA chief executive

Andy Murray's former coach Mark Petchey could be a contender to succeed Draper, the former chief executive of Sport England, after he threw his hat into the ring to take over back in January, stating: "If the LTA board agreed with my vision for British tennis, it's a job I would want to do."

"Very basically, the LTA needs to focus on grassroots, not the elite end of the game," he said.

"The lion's share of its money should be directed to the bottom of the game rather than the top.

"This would be a massive 24/7 job, but seeing British tennis succeed has always been a passion of mine."

Petchey also stated that he 'would do it for substantially less than Roger received this year.' after details of Draper's salary were leaked in December last year.

Draper's £640,000 ($950,000/€740,000) salary from 2012, particularly the £201,000 ($310,000/€240,000) bonus he received despite falling participation levels in grass-roots tennis, was described as "outrageous'" by Baroness Billingham, chairman of Parliament's All Party Tennis Group.

"Think of all the children in primary schools who could be getting to know tennis if that sort of money was available." said Billingham

"I stand by what I said in the Lord's, which is that the LTA are useless."

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