AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012
Drewett Optimistic About State Of Men's Game
by ATP Staff|
Newly appointed ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett expressed that men’s tennis is in an “unbelievable position, arguably the best ever” during an introductory press conference Wednesday at the Australian Open.
“Really this current crop of players is something really, really special,” said Drewett, who highlighted both the star power of the players and their dedication to improving the game.
“I feel very fortunate coming into this job having such an engaged group of top players,” he said. “I can’t remember ever in the history of the game, maybe right back at the beginning of pro tennis it was different, but certainly in the last 20 or 30 years, when you’ve had a player like Roger Federer as the President, Rafa [Nadal] as the Vice President. You have people like Novak [Djokovic] and Andy [Murray], they're all engaged.”
The 53-year-old Australian has worn many hats at the ATP, starting with his 12-year professional playing career. A two-time Australian Open Junior champion, Drewett reached a career-high ranking of 34 in singles, won two ATP World Tour titles, and reached the quarter-finals in his first Grand Slam in Melbourne in 1976.
He has also served as an elected member of the Player Council and an ATP Player Board Representative, Tournament Director of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and CEO of the ATP International Group, and felt his extensive experience would prove valuable in his new position.
“I feel confident about this role from the point of view that I go into it with my eyes wide open,” he said. “I’ve been around a while in senior management. I know what the job entails. I know it's not at all times easy. I also know it comes with enormous responsibility, and that responsibility is to the entire organisation. It includes the tournaments and also, importantly, the players.”
While he stated he wanted to spend time with groups within the organisation before talking publicly about what he hoped to achieve, Drewett shared two positive developments for 2012: the shortening of the ATP calendar by two weeks and the increase in prize money, to total approximately 20 per cent over the next three years.
“There's every reason to believe the success and the interest in our sport will continue,” he affirmed.