By Nick Georgandis
Brad Drewett, the ATP's president and executive chairman, and a former tour player, died at age 54 on Friday after a fight with Motor Neurone Disease, known more commonly as Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS)..
Drewett was 54.
The Australian-born Drewett first informed the general public of his condition in January. In 2012, he was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business by the Sports Business Journal, the first time an ATP executive had ever made the list.
Drewett was involved with the ATP for more than 35 years, first as a player, than as an ATP Player Council member, ATP Player Board member, CEO of the International Region, Tournament Director of the Barclays and then Executive Chairman and President.
There was a huge flood of emotion and sympathy for Drewett and his family from members of the tour, first and foremost Roger Federer, who released the following statement:
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of our dear friend and leader, Brad Drewett. He was a great player, a tremendous ATP CEO and most importantly and amazing friend to all of us. In his short time running the ATP, he achieved a lot and his dynamic personality and steadfast loyalty to the entire global tennis family was so evident. We loved this man and send our condolences to his wife, Jo and their 4 children. The sport of tennis has lost a great figure today, but we will ensure his legacy and contributions to our sport remain part of the ATP's fabric for years to come.
Other top pros expressed their thanks to Drewett's efforts via Twitter, including Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro.
As a player, Drewett reached No. 34 in the world in singles and No. 18 in doubles. He won seven doubles titles and two singles.
ALS - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a perplexing and incurable condition characterized by inexplicable muscle atrophy which ultimately results in difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing.