Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A.T.P. Chief to Resign with Illness

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A.T.P. Chief to Resign with Illness

Article excerpt

Brad Drewett, who has been leading the men's tour for only a year, said Tuesday that he had A.L.S., also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Brad Drewett, executive chairman and president of the A.T.P. Tour, announced Tuesday that he had been diagnosed with A.L.S. -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- and would resign from his post after little more than a year in the position.

"I hold the A.T.P. very close to my heart, and it's with sadness that I make the decision to enter this transition period due to my ill health," Drewett, 54, said in a statement announcing that he had the incurable wasting disease.

The news came as a surprise in the tennis community, leaving some in tears in the Australian Open players' lounge, and also in the meeting room where Drewett announced his decision to members of the A.T.P. board of directors in the morning.

"He read a release, and it was very, very emotional," said Justin Gimelstob, a former American player who is on the board.

The search for Drewett's eventual replacement will now begin.

Drewett, an Australian, was a compromise candidate as the leader of the men's tour. He was offered the post after considerable infighting on the board and disagreement among the game's leading players, including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

But he has deep experience in the game and its administration.

He played professionally, reaching the quarterfinals of the 1976 Australian Open, and has served in numerous key positions for the men's tour. He played a particularly prominent role in promoting and developing the men's game in Asia as the A.T.P.'s regional director. He was also instrumental in taking the season-ending championship, then known as the Tennis Masters Cup, to Shanghai and served as the tournament director both there and when it moved to London.

He took the A.T.P. chairmanship at a time of increased tension between the players and the leaders of the Grand Slam tournaments over demands by players for increased prize money. …

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