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Tennis Leaders Honour McManus

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

McManus© McManus FamilyJim McManus worked for the ATP for 28 years.

Distinguished members of the tennis community from across America and across the world joined family and friends to pay tribute to Jim McManus during a memorial service for the founding ATP member in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Saturday. During the service the ATP announced that its administrative headquarters would be now known as The McManus Building. McManus, 70, died last month following a lengthy illness.

Butch Buchholz, Mike Davies, Tony Trabert, Paul Flory, Bobby Kramer, Horst Klosterkemper, Brian Earley, Marshall Happer, Brian Gottfried, Todd Martin, MaliVai Washington, Bob Green, Tom Ross and Lee Fentress were among an estimated 300 people who attended to pay their respects at the ATP Tennis Club.

Former ATP professional Gottfried, former ATP President, Europe Klosterkemper, who flew in from Germany, and ATP CEO, Americas Mark Young were among those who delivered emotional speeches. A number of colleagues and friends also paid tribute to ‘Mac’ after the service.

In dedicating The McManus Building, Young said, “Jim ended up being the longest-serving employee at the ATP and as a founding member of the players’ association it seemed fitting that we name our building today as The McManus Building, as it will be forever known. Everybody loved Jim and when people come in in the morning and pass the plaque in his name they will smile and be happy and it will set the tone for the day.”

Tributes to Jim McManus

Marshall Happer, former Chief Administrator of the Men’s Tennis Council: “Jim did a lot of things that he didn’t take credit for. Jim McManus was the ATP person who figured out a way to develop Satellite circuits to allow new players to enter professional tennis through Satellites and Challengers. In 1978, the first year of points and Satellite circuits, the number of players on the computer rankings went from 300 to 750. That opened professional tennis then and forever.”

Butch Buchholz, Hall Of Fame Member and former ATP Executive Director: “We’ve lost a behind-the-scenes person who gave so much to the sport. He was right there at the beginning of the ATP and everyone who plays the tour today should think about Jim McManus and how much he gave to the sport. All the years I have known him I haven’t met anyone who was more dedicated to the sport. We’ve lost a great friend.”

Bobby Kramer,  Los Angeles Tournament Director: “He was a champion on and off the court. Some of my fondest memories of Jim are his great smile, his great attitude and of him being unbelievably supportive. Around the world Jim was often mistaken for Rod Laver and he’d play along with that, signing autographs as Rod Laver. He was a great guy, a wonderful person, a guy who could disagree without being disagreeable He was a great friend of tennis.”

Brian Gottfried, former World No. 3: “He was a giver, a server, a champion of the underdog. He was loyal. For us to be making a fuss over him, he would probably be saying ‘What are you doing?’ In my mind he is the type of person you want to make a fuss over. He gave so much to everyone else.”

Paul Flory, former Cincinnati Tournament Director: “If I had a problem, the first guy I would go to was Mac. He was a guy who would always do the right thing. I’m a better person because I knew Jim McManus.”

Weller Evans, former ATP Executive Vice President and Men’s Tennis Council Board Member: “We used to do our acceptance [entry] lists for tournaments by hand using different color highlighters. We’re a long way from that now and Jim is a big reason why the ATP has come that far. He was a fantastic individual who not only shared a tremendous passion for the sport of tennis, but also a tremendous passion for life. He’s been an inspiration for me and he will stay in my memory and my heart and will always bring a smile to my face.”

J. Wayne Richmond, former ATP Executive Vice President: “I can’t think about being in tennis without thinking about Jim. He’s been a part of my life since I started out on the tour in 1975 as a rookie. Jim was like a big brother taking care of me. The first time I went to Wimbledon he made sure someone took me to dinner each night so I didn’t get lost. All my good friends seem to have come from me having known Jim. It won’t be the same without Jim around.”

Horst Klosterkemper, former ATP President, Europe: “I am so happy to stand in front of a building that now carries the name of Jim McManus. Jim was vitally important to the ATP World Team Championship in Düsseldorf. His support and help behind the scenes was unbelievable. We will certainly miss him, but not just because of that, but because of his fantastic character and friendship. I am also so happy that he got his fantastic book of tennis history published before the US Open, and he could achieve a life’s dream.”

Todd Martin, former World No 4 and ATP Player Council President: – I recognised his love for the game and love for people. He’s one of the few people who has made me doubt my own love for tennis because of his boundless love, compassion and dedication to the sport.”

As a founding member, and member of the original Board of Directors at the ATP in 1972, McManus spent 28 years as an employee with the ATP Tour working in various departments: the ranking system, tournament representation and development, pension plan, player entry department, Senior Tour and alumni services.

McManus attended the University of California at Berkeley where for two years he attained All-American honours in tennis having reached the NCAA Doubles final. Before the advent of the ATP Rankings, he was twice ranked in the Top 10 of the US singles and twice No. 2 in doubles (with Bill Hoogs in 1963 and Jim Osborne in 1969). He reached the 1968 US Open semi-finals (w/Osborne).

Growing up in Northern California, Jim’s interest in playing came from his parents. He learned the game at the Berkeley Tennis Club from a series of coaches, the most prominent being Tom Stow, who taught 1938 Grand Slam champion Don Budge.

McManus is survived by his wife Carole and their two children, Kate and Jordy.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to ATP Tour Charities (attn. Jim McManus Fund), which will provide assistance to an individual or program demonstrating passion and dedication for the game, its heritage, sportsmanship, altruism and camaraderie.  The fund will also assist those who inspire others to give back to the sport of tennis.  Donations may be sent to: ATP Tour Charities (attn. Jim McManus Fund), 201 ATP Tour Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, 32082      

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