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Helfant to Depart ATP at End of 2011

LONDON — ATP Executive Chairman and President Adam Helfant will not seek to continue his position with the Tour beyond the completion of his three-year contract at the end of this year, the ATP announced today.

Helfant joined the ATP in January 2009 and has overseen impressive growth at the Tour during difficult economic times, including in the areas of sponsorship, television and digital. Helfant’s contributions and leadership have been instrumental, most recently in the Tour’s lengthening of its off-season and its signing of two major new sponsors, Corona Extra and FedEx.

“I recently informed the ATP’s Board of Directors that I have respectfully declined their offer to continue on,” Helfant said. “Since I joined the ATP I have felt an immense sense of responsibility to the sport, and the people who have devoted the better part of their lives to it, to leave things better than when I arrived. I am proud to say the Tour is stronger than ever — in terms of on-court action and our business — and is well positioned for the future.

“I am proud of what we’ve accomplished. Yet, there comes a time when it makes sense to look to the future and consider other opportunities. For me, that time is now. I have enjoyed the challenges during my time at the ATP, and the position has been rewarding; but when my contract is up at the end of this year, it will be the right time for me to move on,” he said.

“It has been a privilege for me as a life-long tennis fan both to lead and serve the ATP. To the fans, players, tournaments, commercial partners and dedicated men and women of the ATP, I extend my deepest thanks and best wishes for continued success,” he said.

The ATP will begin the search process for Helfant’s successor in the near future.

Roger Federer, President of the ATP Player Council, said, “On behalf of the player council and all the players, I would like to thank Adam for his excellent leadership and contributions during his time at the ATP. We achieved a lot together and will be sorry to see him go at the end of the year. The sport is in great shape and we look forward to helping to identify a new leader for this important position.”

ATP Board Member Gavin Forbes said, “Adam has done a terrific job as President of the ATP and we are disappointed he will not be returning next year, but we respect his decision and wish him all the best. The Tour is in a fantastic position and well-placed to continue on the same exciting path.”

An extended statement from Adam Helfant follows below.

Statement from Adam S. Helfant: Executive Chairman and President of the ATP

“I have recently informed the ATP’s Board of Directors that I have respectfully declined their offer to continue on as ATP Executive Chairman and President beyond the completion of my three-year contract at the end of this year.

Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that I prefer to keep the conversation about my leaving to a minimum. It’s important, to me, to keep the focus where it belongs — on the tennis court, and the absolutely incredible level of play fans around the world are witnessing on the ATP World Tour.

Since I joined the ATP in January, 2009, I have felt an immense sense of responsibility to the sport, and the people who have devoted the better part of their lives to it, to leave things better than when I arrived. I am proud to say the Tour is stronger than ever — in terms of the action on-court and our business — and is well positioned for the future. The players have delivered in countless ways. The combination of inspirational and transcendent champions, and the staggering depth of talent on Tour, has driven interest in men’s professional tennis to an all-time high.

The ATP has taken advantage of the increased demand created by our players. During my time at the ATP, by the end of this year, ATP commercial revenues will have increased roughly sixty-five percent (65%) and ATP net assets (reserves) will have increased by more than eleven hundred percent (1100%). This represents truly impressive growth during very difficult economic times, and provides the ATP a solid foundation for the future. In addition to expanding and extending relationships with a few of our existing sponsors, last year we brought on two major new sponsors, Corona and FedEx — brands that bring powerful marketing cache and support to the Tour. In 2009 and 2010, we held two extremely successful year-end championships — the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals — and I have no doubt that this year’s edition will be an unqualified success as well.

I am especially pleased with the calendar reform that was agreed at the end of last year, which will take effect in 2012. As many of you know, I prioritized an effort to lengthen our off-season to provide our players with more time to rest, work on their fitness and work on their games. And we did it, overcoming issues that had seemed insurmountable in the past, by forging a broad consensus on what was right for the long-term health of our players and our sport, and working together in a way that delivered meaningful progress in this very important area.

I have had the pleasure to work with a very passionate, experienced and talented ATP management team and staff, without whose hard work none of this would have been possible. They are the lynchpins of the ATP and will be invaluable to the individual who succeeds me in leading the organization.

It’s important, too, that I correct the speculation over my decision to leave the ATP. Recently, erroneous news reports, citing unnamed “sources,” inaccurately characterized the tenor of my conversations with the ATP Board. I made no demands, monetary or otherwise, of the Board. I did not ask for more money, or threaten to resign, despite what has been alleged and reported by others. These facts are clear to those with direct knowledge of my conversations with the Board; I was made an offer to stay longer-term with the ATP, which I declined for professional reasons.

I am proud of what we’ve accomplished. Yet, there comes a time when it makes sense to look to the future and consider other opportunities. For me, that time is now. I have enjoyed the challenges during my time at the ATP, and the position has been rewarding; but when my contract is up at the end of this year, it will be the right time for me to move on.

My last day will be December 31, 2011. It was important to me to provide the ATP sufficient notice of my decision to allow for a suitable search process. In the meantime, I will remain fully focused on fulfilling my responsibilities through my last day as President of the ATP. There are several important items on the agenda, and if all goes well, we’ll have an announcement or two before the end of the year.

For those who have kindly asked where I may be headed, I have not yet considered what I might do next year, and am in no rush to do so.

It has been a privilege for me as a life-long tennis fan both to lead and serve the ATP. To the fans, players, tournaments, commercial partners and dedicated men and women of the ATP, I extend my deepest thanks and best wishes for continued success.”

 

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