- Age: 79 (09.01.1936)
- Birthplace: Swansea, Wales
- Height: 6' (183 cm)
- Weight: 158 lbs (72 kg)
- Plays: Right-handed
- Turned Pro: 1960
As of 02.03.2015
Singles & Doubles combined
Singles & Doubles combined
Former British No. 1 Mike Davies is a well-known tennis promoter and administrator, who was instrumental in introducing the coloured tennis ball, the tie-break and bringing tennis onto mainstream television.
Swansea-born Davies started to play tennis aged 11, who came under the guidance of Fred Perry and Dan Maskell. He was a junior Welsh champion for four years between 16 and 18, and went to train in Australia with Harry Hopman during the winters of 1952-54.
Davis was ranked British No. 1 in 1957, 1959 and 1960, when he finished runner-up in the Wimbledon doubles final. Partnering Bobby Wilson, they lost to Rafael Osuna and Denis Ralston 7-5, 6-3, 10-8 in 80 minutes. He compiled a 15-8 Davis Cup record for Great Britain. At the end of 1960 he signed a two-year guarantee of £4,500-a-year on Jack Kramer's professional tour. He wrote two books in 1961.
He retired as a player in 1967, but soon signed on to help a new group, World Championship Tennis (WCT), led by legendary sports businessman and millionaire Lamar Hunt. From 1968-1981, Davies served as Executive Director of WCT, where he stood at the forefront of staging tournaments and selling sponsorships and television rights, thereby creating a platform for professional tennis to expand into large stadiums and major cities.
The Dallas-based WCT made a quantum leap in 1970 when Davies formalised the concept of the first $1 million Tour with tournaments throughout the world and 32 players under contract, culminating in the top eight players with the best record (points race) qualifying for the WCT finals in Dallas to compete for $100,000. As a part of this concept, Davies extended television contracts and raised $1 million in advertising dollars to bring big time tennis to the United States.
Davies introduced other innovations and rules to the game that are now standards in today’s tournaments such as the tie-break, coloured clothing on the players, a coloured tennis ball (first orange, then yellow), the 30 seconds between points and the 90 seconds between games rules, and chairs on the court for the players during changeovers.
After 13 years with the WCT, Davies moved to New York City where he served as the Marketing Director and then Executive Director for the Association of Tennis Professionals (1983-86) - the fourth person to hold that position after Kramer, Bob Birner and "Butch" Buchholz. He then became the General Manager of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
"Just as the professional game has changed, the ATP has increased its role in the game and has been able to help the players obtain the best possible conditions in which to follow their profession," Davies explained in 1986. "It is in the players' best interests to have healthy tournaments. If the game is strong, then present and future ATP members will have a healthy environment in which to play. The game has come a long way since I started playing back in the 1950's. All the contributing factors have helped, but none has helped more than the players themselves through the influence of the ATP."
Davies almost tripled the sponsorship and international television revenue for the ITF; created the Grand Slam Committee, which to this day administers the four Grand Slam events; revitalised the Davis Cup - putting the team event back on firm financial footing and ultimately increased the future value of Davis Cup around the world - and created the Grand Slam Cup, which still holds the record for most prize money awarded per player at $2 million for the champion.
A quiet, but impactful behind-the-scenes personality, Davies is still active in the sport almost 60 years after launching his tennis career. He currently serves as CEO of the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, which has an economic impact of more than $26 million in the region and has helped introduce more than 5,000 inner-city kids to the game of tennis. In 2011, he was nominated to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
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