ROGER DRAPER (pictured) has marked his first year as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) by launching a bitter attack on his critics.
"I would like everyone to have belief and confidence in British tennis," he said in an interview published in the Daily Telegraph today.
"I've never known an environment with such poison.
"There are so many cynics, snipers, gossips and people passing on tittle-tattle.
"I would like to get everyone working towards helping British tennis, and just being open and honest."
Draper, who joined the LTA from Sport England, where he was also chief executive, admitted that the amount of money that the sport earns from Wimbledon each year added to expectations about producing world-class players.
He said: "British tennis has that poisonous environment because of lack of success.
"The common question that people ask is always about the money: 'What do you do with your £30 million?'
"So there's this assumption that £30 milion should equal success.
"People all have a view on tennis but they don't really understand it.
"They're always saying, 'Oh, we don't have people in our schools', or it's the parks, or it's the clubs, or we need more world-class coaches.
"What we're trying to do is cut through all that and bring some leadership and direction.
"The more people we can get who wake up and ask, 'What am I going to do today to improve British tennis?' , rather than, 'Who can I blame today for something that's going wrong/' then I'll think we'll make a huge dhifference."
The full article can be read at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/04/20/sthodg120.xml.