The ATP dropped a massive surprise by naming former Italian player Andrea Gaudenzi as chairman for four years starting January 1, today.
The one-time No. 18, who retired in 2003, has since gone on to develop a business career. The 46-year-old was elected in a unanimous vote by the ATP board after being put forward by an executive headhunting firm.
“The ATP has played a central part in my life in so many ways, and to be given this opportunity to serve as ATP Chairman is a true honour,” Gaudenzi said in a statement.
“I look forward to overseeing the future direction of the Tour and building on the sport’s global success and popularity at what is unquestionably one of the most exciting times in the history of men’s professional tennis.”
Added Player Council president Novak Djokovic: “I’d like to welcome Andrea; as a former player, he has walked in our shoes, and has also become a successful entrepreneur following his playing career.
“He has all the qualities to lead the Tour and we look forward to working together for the benefit of the players and the sport more generally.”
Upon retirement, Gaudenzi took a law degree from the University of Bologna, Italy, and earned a Masters in business at the International University of Monaco.
His commercial experience comprises entertainment, tech and gaming businesses start-ups in London; he served on the board of the ATP media arm.
He will replace Chris Kermode, forced out after six years in the job by a boardroom battle last March, a coup thought to have been engineered by Djokovic.
While Gaudenzi will take over the chairman role, there was no mention by the ATP of incumbent boss Kermode.
The popular Briton who once rant the ATP finals in London before moving into executive suite, was apparently forced out last March after six years in the job by a boardroom battle – a coup thought to have been engineered by Djokovic.
With Gaudenzi only appointed to the chairman role, who will fill the CEO post remains a complete mystery for now.