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Volume 21 No. 6
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NBA China head Shoemaker on list of ATP candidates

NBA China head David Shoemaker is in the running to be the next head of the ATP, tennis sources said.

Leaderless for nearly eight months, the ATP World Tour may be ready to name a new top executive later this week at its board meetings in London, tour insiders and board members said. Political uncertainty still hangs over the choice and could once again delay it.

David Shoemaker is one of several executives the ATP is considering to be its new leader.
Decisions on the structure of the men’s tour, prize money, the calendar and whether to keep the season-ending championships, which start this week, in London have been slowed as the ATP looks for a replacement for the late Brad Drewett, who died in April.

The tour was close to voting in late June on two ATP insiders, Laurent Delanney and Mark Young, when players, including Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, objected, sending the process back to square one. And such uncertainty remains.

Young is one of several candidates the board is reviewing with the assistance of headhunter Heidrick & Struggles. Delanney, the ATP CEO of Europe, removed himself from consideration.

Now, a proposal is before the board to split the job between a chairman, who would have a vote on the seven-person board, and a chief operating officer. Young would become COO, operationally running the tour, and British tournament director Chris Kermode would become chairman, getting the tiebreaking vote on the board.

Kermode, who is close to Murray, wrote in an email, “Unfortunately I can’t comment on the ATP job as my focus is on delivering this years Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Sorry to be unhelpful!”

Kermode is also managing director of the season-ending championships.

A Kermode/Young approach is by no means set, and that is where Shoemaker’s name emerged recently. Before becoming head of NBA China in 2011, he was the No. 2 executive at the WTA Tour. Justin Gimelstob, a former player and board member, supports his candidacy, sources said. Gimelstob declined to comment.

The NBA could not immediately be reached for comment regarding Shoemaker’s future.

One tournament director wrote in an email of Shoemaker, “Players don’t know him, so they will be hesitant at the least.”

If the tour board, split between three player representatives and three tournament reps, does not reach a decision, the sport could face difficulty.

“It has left a big void in leadership, you are just dealing with committees,” said Donald Dell, group president of Lagardère Unlimited, which operates the tour’s Washington, D.C., stop and represents players. “There is a committee on this, a player council on that, there is no one guy in charge.”