Brad Drewett Leaves Lasting Legacy
ATP Executive Chairman and President succumbs to ALS
ATP Executive Chairman & President Brad Drewett passed away earlier today in Sydney aged 54 following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
The ATP issued a statement, saying: “We are deeply saddened to announce that Brad Drewett passed away at his home in Sydney, Australia, earlier today. Brad, who served as ATP Executive Chairman and President since January 2012, had been suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. Our thoughts are with Brad's family on this extremely sad day for them, the ATP and the entire international tennis community. He will be sorely missed by all.”
The tennis world first learned of Drewett’s condition in January and immediately rallied around the Australian. Following today's announcement the tennis community mourned Drewett's loss with an outpouring of tributes on social media. Rafael Nadal was one of the first, tweeting: 'Today is a very sad day for sport and tennis in particular. Our president Brad has passed away.'
Roger Federer said, "We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of our dear friend and leader, Brad Drewett. He was a great player, a tremendous ATP CEO and most importantly an amazing friend to all of us. In his short time running the ATP, he achieved a lot and his dynamic personality and steadfast loyalty to the entire global tennis family was so evident. We loved this man and send our condolences to his wife, Jo and their four children. The sport of tennis has lost a great figure today, but we will ensure his legacy and contributions to our sport remain part of the ATP's fabric for years to come".
A moment of silence was observed Friday at the draw ceremony for the Mutua Madrid Open and on Saturday the Portugal Open will hold a one-minute silence on centre court prior to the first men’s semi-final.
Last year Sports Business Journal named Drewett among a list of the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. It is the first time that an ATP executive had featured on the list and the Australian was the only tennis executive to make the list. Recognising Drewett for his work in securing a greater share of Grand Slam tournament revenue for players, the SBJ wrote that “Drewett took over the ATP in 2012… [and] already has won huge concessions from the Australian Open.”
Drewett’s discussions ultimately led to significant prize money increases from all four Grand Slams, culminating in Wimbledon’s recent announcement that this year it will offer the largest purse in tennis history to players, with the biggest increases allocated to losers in the early rounds. Drewett also was instrumental in growing the game in Asia, the success of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and building ATP’s commercial strength through a number of key partnerships.
Drewett began serving as ATP Executive Chairman & President in January 2012, having previously served as the ATP's Chief Executive Officer for the International Group since January 2006, overseeing the growth and success of ATP's operations in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific regions.
Prior to that, Drewett led the region as Managing Director from 2003 to 2005 and was Executive Vice President from 1999 to 2003. He previously served as an elected ATP Player Council representative and, from 1993 to 1999, as an elected ATP Player Board Representative. From 2001 to 2011, Drewett served as Tournament Director of the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. As well as managing the event when held in Sydney and Houston, Drewett was responsible for a number of significant ATP commercial agreements including the negotiation of a multi-year deal with the Shanghai Municipal Government to stage the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai from 2005 to 2008.
As a player, Drewett reached the Top 40 in singles and Top 20 in doubles. He amassed 181 singles match wins and claimed two titles (South Orange, NJ, in 1983 and Cairo in 1982) and won seven doubles titles. He captured the Australian Open boys’ singles title in 1975 and one year later reached the Australian Open singles quarter-finals in his Grand Slam debut. He also reached two Australian Open doubles semi-finals and the Wimbledon doubles quarter-finals.
In addition to his work with the ATP, Drewett developed and managed a number of successful businesses in the sport and fitness industry. Drewett had also worked as a commentator for Channel 9 and Channel 10 in Australia.
Brad is survived by his wife Joanne and four children Jack, Ally, Joe and Tom.