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The ATP said that its Exec Chair & President BRAD DREWETT, who announced in January he suffered from ALS, has died, according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS DAILY. "Sadly, the news is true,” an ATP spokesperson said, confirming a post RAFAEL NADAL had put on his Facebook page Friday morning. The 54-year-old Drewett, a former player and longtime administrator, became a compromise candidate to take the reins of the ATP in Jan. '12. He immediately embarked on a goal of dramatically increasing the percentage of pay players got from the four Grand Slam tournaments, which paid levels far below that of other team sports. He lived long enough to see the fruits of that success, with all four now committed to dramatic increases. The ATP is in the midst of replacing him, with two internal candidates -- LAURENT DELANNEY and MARK YOUNG -- the only candidates at this time. Drewett was instrumental in spearheading the ATP’s efforts in Asia, and in running the successful season-ending championships in London. Following Drewett's ALS revelation, he kept busy with the ATP, even spending two weeks at the Sony Open in March (SPORTSBUSINESS DAILY, 5/3).
LASTING LEGACY: In Melbourne, Leo Schlink reported primarily based in Sydney as chief of the ATP World Tour's Intäl Group, Drewett "almost single-handedly unleashed the beast that is Chinese tennis." Although his efforts "were channelled into men's tennis, Drewett's deft negotiation with Chinese government officials effectively helped trigger an explosion of interest in tennis among Chinese women." Apart from blazing a trail into China, which now has several world-class men's and women's events, Drewett "expertly popularised the Barclays World Tour Finals." He was tournament director of the season-ending championships in several venues, including Shanghai and also in London, where the event "continues to be a sell-out phenomenon" (HERALD SUN, 5/4).
PAYING RESPECTS: The BBC reported many of the world's top tennis players "paid their respects" to Drewett with a minute's silence at the Madrid Open. NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SERENA WILLIAMS and ANDY MURRAY "were among those to wear ribboned badges and gather in the Manolo Santana stadium for Drewett" (BBC, 5/5). The AFP reported Nadal and American MARDY FISH "were among the first to pay tribute to the Australian." Nadal said on his Facebook page, "A very said day for the world of sports and tennis in particular. Our president Brad has passed away. Rest in peace." WTA CEO STACEY ALLASTER "described Drewett as a great administrator." Allaster said, "Brad's contributions as a player and visionary leader make him one of the greatest in making tennis the popular, worldwide sport it is today." Int'l Tennis Federation President FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI also praised the Australian. He said, "His knowledge, experience and enthusiasm will be a great loss to the whole sport. We send our deepest sympathies to Brad's family and to everyone at the ATP during this very sad time" (AFP, 5/4). Former world No. 1 CARLOS MOYA said, "Probably the best ATP president, the closest to the players and the one who has achieved the most for the players in the past 30 years" (REUTERS, 5/3). ROGER FEDERER said, "He was a great player, a tremendous ATP CEO and most importantly an amazing friend to all of us." Ukrainian player SERGIY STAKHOVSKY tweeted, "The man who changed our sport,who became the 1st. president to unite players,great person and fantastic leader has died today...RIP." Retired player JUSTIN GIMELSTOPB tweeted: "Brad Drewett was a great leader and the ultimate @ATPWorldTour contributor, devoted to his family, friends, and the sport he loved." The Championship CEO RICHARD LEWIS said, "I knew Brad from my very early days as a player on the ATP Tour and I always respected the way he conducted himself both on and off court" (ATP).
The adidas Group appointed GÜNTER WEIGL to succeed MICHAEL RIEHL as senior VP of global sports marketing & sport relations. JIMMY WEIGL is managing director adidas Group Central Europe, however, WINAND KRAWINKEL, currently managing director of adidas Group South Africa, will succeed Weigl as managing director of adidas Group Central Europe (MPD CLICK, 5/3). ... Long-serving Australian Olympic Committee President JOHN COATES "is targeting an IOC vice-president's position later this year rather than the presidency." Coates "will finish his four-year term as a member of the IOC executive board" in '13 (AAP, 5/4). ... Brazil's JOSE AMAURY RUSSO has been elected the new president of the Int'l Federation for sport for athletes with an intellectual disability within the Paralympic Movement (Inas) "with immediate effect." He becomes Inas' first president to be elected from outside of Europe in its 26-year history and "will lead the organisation as it builds towards the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games" (Paralympic).
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Former NBA player YAO MING arrived in Manila Saturday evening "for friendship games at the invitation of the Philippine Sports Commssion." During the visit, Yao "will lead a basketball clinic for poor children" in Pasig in Metro Manila, the country's capital region (XINHUA, 5/4). ... Cyclist JI CHENG became the first Chinese rider to compete in the Giro d' Italia, which began on Saturday (XINHUA, 5/3). ... Hockey India "has recommended" Indian field hockey team captain SARDAR SINGH for this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (THE HINDU, 5/4).
FOOTBALL NAMES: Former Iranian midfielder ALI PARVIN "was conferred prestigious Gold Award" on Friday in recognition of his services in Asian football for 30 years. The former player and coach of Persepolis club and Iran's national football team received his award from FIFA President SEPP BLATTER in a ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur (XINHUA, 5/5). ... League Championship Doncaster Manager BRIAN FLYNN "will step down as manager" following the club's promotion to the Championship, but "he will return to his development role at the South Yorkshire club" (GUARDIAN, 5/3). ... Three women were appointed to the Asian Football Confederation exec committee. Former Vice Captain of Australia's national team, MOYA DODD, was "re-elected unopposed" as the AFC's Female VP while North Korea's HAN UN-GYONG and Palestine's SUSAN SHALABI "also earned seats" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/3). ... ManU Manager ALEX FERGUSON "will have hip surgery this summer and may miss the start of next season" (ESPN, 5/4). ... Former EPL Aston Villa and League Championship Leeds United Manager DAVID O'LEARY "has won" $5.2M in compensation from Al Ahli FC following his sacking by the Dubai-based club. The "long-running dispute" was settled by FIFA's players' status committee "in favour of the Irishman," who was dismissed in April '11 after only eight months in charge (GUARDIAN, 5/3).
Tennis player RAFAEL NADAL: "Hoy es un día muy triste para el deporte y para el tenis en particular. Nos ha dejado nuestro presidente Brad." (A very sad for the World of Sports and tennis in particular. Our president Brad has passed away. Rest in peace.).
U.K.-based AP sports reporter ROB HARRIS: "Richard Scudamore wins sports biz person of the year and says on all-German Champs Lge final "It's not great ... Our time will come again""
London Times' MATT DICKINSON: "Well, that's my opening 2 days at the Giro done. Cav win, Sky win - and not many better places to burn a bald head than Naples and Ischia"
Tennis player LAURA ROBSON: "The Lord of the Rings soundtrack is playing on the loudspeakers on site in Madrid. #motivated
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