Hopman Cup founder and tournament director Paul McNamee has been axed from his long-running management role at the Perth exhibition teams event.
McNamee, a former professional player, had a 24-year association with the tournament he co-founded. He gifted the Hopman Cup to the International Tennis Federation in 2002 with the understanding that he would remain tournament director, handing over the ownership rights in order to receive the international body’s backing, which he believed was important to the tournament’s survival.
The ITF decided last night at a board meeting that it would take on the management of the tournament itself, before suggesting a handover to Tennis Australia post-2014.
The surprise option followed a year-long battle between bidding parties the WA Government and Tennis Australia to take control of the event.
The ITF said in a statement that it would manage the tournament until the end of the current contract with Tourism WA, which concludes in 2014.
In a shattering decision to McNamee, the body then stated it believed it was in the tournament’s best interests to fall under the influence of Tennis Australia.
“For the future, the ITF Board considers that the long-term success of the Hopman Cup requires its return to be part of the Australian Open season and the involvement of its member national association, Tennis Australia,” the statement said.
Tennis Australia was the body that initially removed the Hopman Cup from the Australian Open series – the officially recognised tournaments in the leadup to the Grand Slam event.
McNamee has been fighting to hold control for the past three years. He has had a rocky relationship with Tennis Australia after just failing to win the presidency in 2009.
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