ATP chief Drewett dies

Paris, May 4 (IANS) Australia’s Brad Drewett, president of the ATP, died at the age of 54 following a battle against motor neurone disease, the governing body of men’s tennis announced.

“The ATP is deeply saddened to announce that Brad Drewett passed away at his home in Sydney, Australia, earlier today,” said an ATP statement Friday, reports Xinhua.

“Brad, who served as ATP executive chairman and president since January 2012, had been suffering from motor neurone disease. Our thoughts are with Brad’s family on this extremely sad day for them, the ATP and the entire international tennis community. He will be sorely missed by all.”

Spain’s Rafael Nadal was amongst the first to pay tribute to the Australian. A period of silence was observed at the draw for the Madrid Masters which starts Saturday.

Drewett said in January that he was stepping down from his role after being diagnosed with the incurable disease. However, he added at the time that he would continue as executive chairman and president of the ATP until a replacement was appointed.

Drewett won two singles titles in the early 1980s during his playing career and also rose to No.34 in the world rankings.

Since becoming ATP chief last year, he was instrumental in helping to secure a larger share of prize money for the journeymen of the sport, who more often than not fall at the first hurdle of the four Grand Slams.

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