Saturday, 14 March 2009

Put'Em Up!

And so the fightback begins.

I know I said I wouldn't make any more postings on the LTA, but in keeping with "Tennis Is Served's" world renowned reputation for independence (huh!) and fair play (almost) I thought I had to give Roger Draper a chance to present his rebuttal.

I had a feeling that the
LTA (and by extension Draper) wouldn't take too kindly to Mark Petchey's somewhat high profile attack (more so, considering they are his former employers). After all, calling for the dismantling of the organisation (which presumably includes Draper's job) isn't the subtlest form of criticism.

I'm inclined to not be too hard on Draper as he's only been in charge since 2006, and I do agree with his assertion that change cannot be brought about overnight. But he does himself and the LTA a disservice by not squarely addressing what was presumably Petchey's most pressing complaint: that not enough of that £10 million Draper suggests is being channelled into facilities, is being used to build the game (to quote Petchey) 'from the bottom up' by 'putting rackets in the hands of kids' and subsidising coaching. Instead he talks at length about coaching, high performance centres and marketing, which frankly contains little to convince me that the LTA has started to think of anything other than leafy middle class clubs as their target market.

However, I also can't help but think that the headline "We're getting there..." is the brainchild of a particularly fiendish cynic. That phrase was adopted by British Rail as a slogan in the 80s during it's death throes and only a couple of years before it was privatised. It's considered by some to be (to quote the BBC) "the greatest marketing own goal of all time", as BR were at the time, getting nowhere fast.

A little unfair to Draper though perhaps: a bit like tripping him up on his way to the podium before he's had a chance to present his defence.
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