Former Tennis Pro Brad Drewett Succeeds Helfant as ATP Chief

Former player Brad Drewett will succeed Adam Helfant as executive chairman and president of the ATP World Tour, the governing body of men’s tennis.

Drewett, who is chief executive of the ATP International Group, will begin his new job Jan. 1, the ATP said in an e-mailed statement today. Helfant announced in June that he would leave at the end of the year “for professional reasons.”

Drewett, 53, was ranked as high as 34th in the world by the ATP during a 12-year pro career. He won two Tour titles and played for Australia in the Davis Cup.

“The ATP World Tour and men’s tennis are stronger than ever and it is my intention to continue to lead the organization on this successful path, working hand in hand with our players and tournaments,” Drewett, who is also tournament director of the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, said in the statement. “I am very excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Drewett’s appointment was approved unanimously by the ATP Board of Directors, the organization said. He will work out of the Tour’s offices in London, according to the statement.

Helfant boosted the Tour’s commercial revenue by 80 percent through sponsorships with companies including Grupo Modelo SAB’s Corona Extra beer brand, FedEx Corp., champagne brand Moet & Chandon, Johnson & Johnson’s Compeed and a tourism agreement with Rio de Janeiro.

The graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Law School and a former vice president of Nike Inc. also shortened the men’s tennis season, a focus of his tenure. From the end of 2012, the offseason will be extended to seven weeks from five weeks to give players more time to rest and recuperate.

Player Complaints

Second-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain was among players who criticized the 11-month-long season, saying it didn’t give them enough time to recover.

“Brad is a very experienced executive and has been an effective leader within the ATP for many years,” Roger Federer, 16-time Grand Slam champion and president of the ATP Player Council, said in the statement. “He understands the global nature of the business as well as the complexities of dealing with all of the Tour’s stakeholders. I am confident that Brad’s work ethic and leadership will help contribute to the continued success of the ATP World Tour.”

Richard Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion and promoter of the ATP’s tournament in Rotterdam, withdrew from the race for the top job last week. He told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that his candidacy lacked sufficient support on the board.

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