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Ross Hutchins Named Queen's Tournament Director

London

Hutchins© Getty ImagesRoss Hutchins (front) has been appointed Tournament Director for the Aegon Championships.

British tennis player Ross Hutchins has been appointed the new Tournament Director of the Aegon Championships, the annual grass court tournament at The Queen’s Club in London.

Hutchins, who returned to the court this year with partner Colin Fleming after recovering from Hodgkins Lymphoma last year, joins the tournament’s managing director Stephen Farrow in taking on the responsibilities of Chris Kermode, who recently became the Executive President and Chairman of the ATP. Hutchins will be responsible for tennis decisions and player/ATP relations during the tournament week, advising on tournament strategy throughout the year, and speaking publicly on behalf of the tournament. He will report to Farrow, who has overall responsibility for the event.

Last year at the Aegon Championships, Hutchins led the organisation of Rally Against Cancer - a charity tennis match played on finals day which featured Andy Murray, Ivan Lendl and Tim Henman, as well as London Mayor Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross and Michael McIntyre - to raise money for the Royal Marsden, the hospital that had treated him. The event set out to raise £100,000, and eventually brought in more than £300,000.

Watch Ross Hutchins Feature

Michael Downey, Chief Executive of the LTA, said: “Ross is a very impressive young man and he is the perfect fit to be the new Tournament Director of the Aegon Championships. He has the respect of his peers, is well known and liked throughout the tennis world, and brings with him current, direct experience of the ATP World Tour. Ross will work closely with the tournament’s outstanding team, led by managing director Stephen Farrow, and I am confident that under their stewardship, the tournament, which was recently voted ATP 250 Tournament of the Year, will go from strength to strength.”

Hutchins said. “I am honoured to have been given this opportunity. The Aegon Championships is one of the longest running and best tournaments on the ATP World Tour, and I will do everything I can to make it even better. It has always been a special event for me as a player because it was the first main tour tournament I ever played, but my appreciation for the event grew further last year when I had the chance to work with the fantastic tournament team on the Rally Against Cancer charity match. I was fascinated by how much work went on behind the scenes, and I loved being involved with it. Chris Kermode invited me to join him in meetings, I was able to work alongside Stephen Farrow and the team, and I embraced the opportunity to learn from them. When Chris moved on to head the ATP, I knew that this was a role I wanted. I have the same passion and desire to succeed at this as I have in my tennis career, and I think my experience on the tour will equip me well. I know and understand what matters to players, I’ve spent a lot of time with Tournament Directors, sponsors and the media, and I think I have a good understanding of what makes a great tournament.”

Chris Kermode said: “I worked with Ross on the Rally Against Cancer last year, and with Stephen Farrow and the rest of the tournament team for many years, and the tournament is in safe hands. The way Ross threw himself into organising the charity match last year at a time when he was going through chemotherapy, was an inspiration. Everyone likes Ross, and his drive, determination, passion and positive attitude will ensure he is a huge success in this role.”

Aside from not competing in the Aegon Championships, Hutchins will continue his tennis playing-career as normal.

ROSS HUTCHINS INTERVIEW

A year ago you had just started chemotherapy for Hodgkins Lymphoma. Now you are back playing tennis and also the new Tournament Director of the Aegon Championships. Quite a journey.
It is and I’m very proud of it. I’ll forever see that as the biggest achievement of my life - to come through the illness and to get back on court winning matches. To now have this role as well could not be more special. I have always believed that if you can get through tough parts of life with a positive attitude, good things will come, and this is further proof. Regarding the role at the tournament, I have always had a great attachment to the Aegon Championships and I want to help to make it even better.

You were involved in organising the Rally Against Cancer last year. Did that give you a taste for this kind of role?
Yes. That was when I realised just how special the event is. I’d always played it and loved it, it was the first event I played on Tour in 2007, and it was the event at which I had my first tour event match win, but when I got involved with the Rally Against Cancer, working with the team and seeing it from a different angle, I was struck by just how much went on behind the scenes. There is so much work that goes in to making this event that everyone enjoys, and I was fascinated by it. Chris Kermode invited me to join him in meetings, and I embraced the opportunity to learn from him. When he moved on to head the ATP and the job became available, I immediately had a huge passion and desire to do it.

What do you believe you can bring to the role?
I think I am very well equipped to slot into this role because of my experiences as a player on the tour. I believe it fits my personality perfectly, I know and understand what matters to players, I’ve spent a lot of time with Tournament Directors and I think I have a very good understanding of what makes a great tournament.  We want the players to feel and be at their best on our courts, and I believe I know enough of the intricacies of what matters to them to ensure that this happens. We want to attract more players to the tournament, so I will be speaking to them. We want the world to understand that the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club is a huge tournament with a field of quality players playing high octane, competitive tennis on some of the best grass courts in the world, so I will be spreading the word.

How will this affect your playing career?
Nothing will change except that I won’t play the Aegon Championships tournament week. As soon as I knew that this position was going to be available and that I was keen to do it, I spoke to Colin Fleming, who has been my doubles partner for the last four years. He immediately said: “You should go for it, it’s a great opportunity and it’s a great fit for you.” It was important that my doubles partner was ok with it, and that he was supportive of me doing this because I am still very dedicated to our team, and ambitious as a tennis player. Colin will have another partner for the Aegon Championships, but either side we will be together as normal. It isn’t unusual for doubles players to have different partners, and we have been partners for so long that we are quickly able to slot back in together, so we are both comfortable with it.

More generally, I have always felt it important to have different roles and not to just be a tennis player. I am a diligent professional, I never take short cuts with my training, but there is still a lot of down-time for a tennis player, and I have always looked to fill it with something productive throughout my career. In this case, if I am at tournaments I will be speaking to people about the Aegon Championships and learning from other Tournament Directors. With Stephen Farrow and our excellent tournament team running the operational side of the tournament throughout the year, I will be able to combine the role of Tournament Director of the Aegon Championships during the tournament week, and playing tennis the rest of the year. I couldn’t be more excited and determined to succeed.

ROSS HUTCHINS BIOGRAPHY

Age: 29
Born/Lives: Wimbledon
Turned pro: 2002
ATP doubles titles: 5 (2012 Eastbourne, Delray, 2011 St Petersburg all with Fleming, 2010 Montpellier and 2008 Beijing with Stephen Huss).
Grand Slam highlights: 2012 Wimbledon quarterfinal (with Fleming), 2011 US Open quarterfinal (with Fleming) and the last 16 at both the Australian and French Opens.

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