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International Group Pays Tribute To Brad Drewett

Drewett© Getty Images

Since his death on Friday, 3rd May, Brad Drewett's colleagues have paid tribute to the Australian's tireless work to transform the image of tennis in the International Group region.

Before stepping up as ATP Executive Chairman & President, Drewett had 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. Among his feats in the IG region, Drewett negotiated a multi-year deal with the Shanghai Municipal Government to stage the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai from 2005 to 2008. 

Charles Humphrey Smith, ATP Board of Directors, Managing Director Shanghai Rolex Masters
“Brad's legacy will be as one of the great builders of the game - from his push behind the tremendous growth of the ATP in Asia to tirelessly working on behalf of players and tournaments to improve the sport he so loved. Brad did so in his own style- by working harder than anyone and making friends in every corner of the globe. We will miss him dearly.”

Graham Pearce, Former ATP International Group  Board Member (2000 - 2010), Heineken Open, Auckland
“Brad ticked all the boxes and it is a cruel blow that the family that he loved and the tennis world have lost such a talent so young.

Brad had so much to offer us all and so much to look forward to. It was an honour and a privilege to work closely alongside Brad for 15 years as he led the International Group of the ATP World Tour and the ATP World Tour Finals. The respect that he earned in Asia and throughout our world-wide region was exceptional and the tennis growth and success, particularly in China, that ATP tennis has enjoyed is testament to his leadership.

To achieve what he did, involved a tremendous amount of time away from his beloved family and Sydney home. He could not have done that without the loving support of his wife Jo and our thanks to Jo, Jack, Ally, Joe and Tom for sharing so much of Brad's time with us. Our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.

Thank you and farewell my friend, I will miss you more than you will know. I am so sorry I could not say goodbye to you properly.

Rest in Peace Brad.”

Craig Watson, Tournament Director, Apia International, Sydney
“I am deeply saddened by Brad's passing and feel the pain that his family and many friends are feeling right now. To lose someone like Brad so young is just not fair.  He was a giant among men, one of life’s true gentlemen and who relished the opportunity to support us all. It has been a privilege to have known Brad for nearly 30 years and to call him friend above all else. My heartfelt condolences go to Jo and the family and hope that the love shown around the world for Brad will in some way help at this very sad time.”

Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend Brad and my deepest condolences to his wife Jo and his children. Brad was a great leader and lovely human being and we will all miss him. He wanted to do so much more and had so much more to achieve, and it’s unfair that he was taken from us so soon. The sport of tennis has lost a great person today but Brad’s contribution and legacy will live on. A very sad day in our world. May Brad’s soul rest in peace.”

Bharat Godkhindi, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
“Brad was a very dear friend and an amazing person, and it’s incredibly sad that he was taken too soon from us. Words fail at this time in expressing the huge sadness and void felt by me in Brads passing, and my heart goes out to his wife Jo and his children - and to all those who knew him as a warm and gentle person who was passionate about his family, the ATP, the sport of tennis and life in general. We loved Brad and today I have lost a true friend, and the world is lesser for it.  I will miss him terribly. May Brad rest in peace.”

Allon Khakshouri, Tournament Director, Thailand Open
"Brad was a remarkable man.  

I remember him from the days on the Player Board, where he seemed sharper, wiser and more dedicated than most people I had encountered.
Later, as the head of the IG region, Brad surprised every one of us, showing unprecedented commitment, attending all our events and showing how much he cared for our individual events and needs, as well as our region as a whole. Under his guidance, the International Group evolved from a third world category to becoming a viable part of the Tour: With Shanghai as the host city of the Masters Cup and later of a premium event, he created the backbone of a strong and prosperous Asian swing, and the emergence of a handful of emerging world class Asian players. Thanks to Brad’s vision, the Tour was able to tap into a region that has now become such an important global force, and we will continue to reap the fruits of his hard work for many more years. 

Brad became a friend of each and every one of us, and I remember numerous dinners and drinks, where I was fortunate enough to enjoy his pleasant personality, wisdom, and caring friendship. On one occasion, he recommended me to adopt a healthy lifestyle to counter my travel, and take a personal trainer, which is something I have done ever since. 

Finally, as the CEO of our Tour, he proved that he was able to tackle the most difficult tasks, such as engaging the Slams to increase their prize monies, and was able to achieve more during his short time, than anyone else before him.

Brad was doubtlessly a brilliant leader. However, I will remember him most for his amazing character traits that will make him a role model for the rest of my life. He was always approachable, humble, open to new ideas, and most of all, a man of courage and integrity. He was dedicated to helping the Tour prosper, because he loved our sport as well as everyone involved, calling us his tennis family. Nothing was going to stop him, and he continued fighting for us all, up until his last days, with so much dignity.

Of course, it is hard to grasp, why such a role model to all of us, had to leave this world at such a young age, and in the midst of his true calling. Unfortunately, life does not give us all the answers. What I do know is that Brad proved that people can be both amazing leaders and human beings, and that success and humility can go hand in hand.  

I feel privileged to have enjoyed Brad’s leadership and friendship. He will live on in my heart, and inspire me for the rest of my life. I miss you, my friend."

John Newcombe
"Brad was a good friend of mine for over 30 years. When he left the circuit and began a business career we ventured into several things together. Being older than Brad, and more experienced in business, I was able to closely observe his growth and understanding of how things worked. Brad was an exceptionally quick learner and developed the unique skill of being a good listener. The other great skill of honesty was completely natural to him – his word and his handshake was his bond.

"Brad rose to the top job in tennis but I believe he was just touching the edges of how far he could go. He had become Australia's best ever international sporting administrator by a country mile. He was taken from us way too early and I, along with hundreds of others, will miss him greatly."

Michael A. Luevano, Tournament Director, Shanghai Rolex Masters
"There are very few people that I have met in my life time that have had more impact on so many people like Brad Drewett. The sport of tennis in our region, especially China, has benefited unlike any other part of the world inspired by his leadership and passion. My fondest memories of him are during the Shanghai Masters Cup days. He built the entire event from the ground up. His grace under pressure, confidence and cross cultural expertise are things of legend. My love and sympathy to Jo and the kids, all the ATP Staff, especially in Sydney. We will never forget Brad, my fellow TD." 

Fernando Soler, On behalf of IMG and the IMG Tennis Division
"It is with profound sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our good friend and colleague, Brad Drewett. We are hard pressed to identify anyone who loved our game as much as he did. His contributions as a player and as a leader of the ATP are innumerable. His knowledge of the game, his love of his job, and his understanding of the delicate relationship between the players and the tournaments was critical to the game's success. He was an outstanding leader, a dynamic personality and a fair and strong executive. He dealt with his illness in the same way he lived his life, with grace and dignity. We will miss him very much."

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