ATP has announced the passing of its Executive Chairman & President Brad Drewett on Friday in Sydney, Australia at the age of 54 following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Brad Drewett passed away at his home in Sydney, Australia, earlier today," said the ATP in a statement. "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.”
The tennis world first learned of Drewett’s condition in January and immediately rallied around the Australian. Following the announcement the tennis community mourned Drewett's loss with an outpouring of tributes on social media. Rafael Nadal was one of the first, tweeting: 'Today is a very sad day for sport and tennis in particular. Our president Brad has passed away."
A moment of silence was observed at the draw ceremony for the Mutua Madrid Open and on Saturday, the Portugal Open will hold a one-minute silence on centre court prior to the first men’s semifinal.
Last year, Sports Business Journal named Drewett among a list of the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. It is the first time that an ATP executive had featured on the list and the Australian was the only tennis executive to make the list. Drewett’s discussions ultimately led to significant prize money increases from all four Grand Slams, culminating in Wimbledon’s recent announcement that this year it will offer the largest purse in tennis history to players, with the biggest increases allocated to losers in the early rounds. Drewett also was instrumental in growing the game in Asia, the success of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and building ATP’s commercial strength through a number of key partnerships.
Drewett began serving as ATP Executive Chairman & President in January 2012, having previously served as the ATP's Chief Executive Officer for the International Group since January 2006, overseeing the growth and success of ATP's operations in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific regions. Prior to that, Drewett led the region as Managing Director from 2003 to 2005 and was Executive Vice President from 1999 to 2003. He previously served as an elected ATP Player Council representative and, from 1993 to 1999, as an elected ATP Player Board Representative. From 2001 to 2011, Drewett served as Tournament Director of the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. As well as managing the event when held in Sydney and Houston, Drewett was responsible for a number of significant ATP commercial agreements including the negotiation of a multi-year deal with the Shanghai Municipal Government to stage the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai from 2005 to 2008.
As a player, Drewett reached the Top 40 in singles and Top 20 in doubles. He amassed 181 singles match wins and claimed two titles (South Orange, NJ, in 1983 and Cairo in 1982) and won seven doubles titles. He captured the Australian Open boys’ singles title in 1975 and one year later reached the Australian Open singles quarter-finals in his Grand Slam debut. He also reached two Australian Open doubles semifinals and the Wimbledon doubles quarterfinals.
Brad is survived by his wife Joanne and four children Jack, Ally, Joe and Tom.