Chris Kermode named ATP chief

  • Last Updated: November 20 2013, 18:15 GMT

Britain's Chris Kermode is the new head of men's tennis after being appointed executive chairman and president of the ATP.

Kermode was the unanimous choice of the ATP board
Kermode was the unanimous choice of the ATP board

Kermode is the man behind the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena and the tournament director of the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club, and was the unanimous choice of the ATP board.

The 48-year-old said: "It's a huge honour to have been given the opportunity to lead the ATP during what is unquestionably one of the most exciting periods in the history of men's professional tennis.

"I look forward to getting started in my new role and to working very hard together with ATP staff, players, tournaments and partners as we look to harness the full potential of our great sport in years to come."

Kermode will begin a three-year term on January 1 and succeeds Australian Brad Drewett, who died from motor neurone disease in May having stepped down from the role in January.

Kermode is hugely popular with the players and his appointment was welcomed by both Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

Wimbledon champion Murray said: "I've known and worked with Chris for many years and he gets on well with the players. He's done a great job with Queen's and the World Tour Finals and I look forward to working with him in his new role."

Federer is the president of the ATP Player Council, and he said: "On behalf of the players, I am delighted to welcome Chris as our new ATP executive chairman and president.

"Chris has a lot of experience having worked in a number of different capacities in tennis over the years and he has all the attributes required to lead the ATP World Tour forward during this period of unprecedented popularity and success."

Kermode emerged as the red-hot favourite for the post during the fifth staging of the World Tour Finals in London earlier this month.

The tournament, which features the top eight players of the season, has been a huge success, with more than 1.3 million fans visiting the O2 across the five years.

The contract was extended by two years until 2015 and Kermode's appointment appears to make it more likely that London will hold on to the event for longer still.

The news is somewhat awkward for the Lawn Tennis Association, who did not deem Kermode worthy of an interview for the job of its chief executive earlier this year.

Murray made his feelings on the subject clear in June when he wrote on Twitter: "Love coming back to queens one of the best run tournaments of the year along with world tour finals, chris kermode tourny director of both does great job... Possible lta ceo? Played the game, knows the business and loves the game..probably won't get a look in"

The LTA eventually plumped for the head of Tennis Canada, Michael Downey, who will also take up his new role in January.

Kermode had a brief career as a player, reaching a high of 742 in the rankings in 1986 before becoming a coach.

He went on to work in both the film and music industries, starting his own promotion and events company before returning to tennis.

Although it is undoubtedly one of the best eras for men's tennis, with global superstars like Federer and Rafael Nadal flying the flag, Kermode's role is not without its challenges.

The ATP represents both players and tournaments, while the complicated governance of the sport also includes the women's body, the WTA, the International Tennis Federation and the grand slams.

World number two Novak Djokovic expressed his frustration with the system during the World Tour Finals, saying: "It's so complicated to change anything or to move towards some kind of positive solutions for players or for any other party."

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