USTA chief Michael Dowse resigns after two years

In an unexpected move, Michael Dowse, the leader of the United States Tennis Association, announced on Wednesday that he would be leavin...

In an unexpected move, Michael Dowse, the leader of the United States Tennis Association, announced on Wednesday that he would be leaving the organization in March.

The decision took USTA players, officials and board members by surprise. Dowse, 55, has officially served as the association’s managing director and executive director for less than two years.

His predecessor, Gordon Smith, held the position for 12 years, but Dowse, the former president of Wilson Sporting Goods Co., said he was ready to move on to day-to-day management duties within a single organization.

“After 15 years as president or CEO, I am ready for more balance in my life and to evolve further in the role of adviser, consultant or member of the board of directors in the wider field of sport”, Dowse said in a statement to the New York Times. .

During his relatively brief tenure at USTA, Dowse faced heavy weather: some in the forecast; some of them are completely unexpected.

He was hired, after extensive research, in late 2019 to focus on the revitalization of community tennis and participation in the sport. He was also hired to reduce operating costs for the USTA and made significant cuts in several areas including player development.

But the coronavirus pandemic created major financial pressure in 2020 by threatening the association’s ability to host the US Open, one of four Grand Slam tournaments and the USTA’s main source of income each year. Unlike Wimbledon, the USTA did not have pandemic cancellation insurance. For months it was unclear whether the US Open 2020 would take place, but the tournament went on without spectators, allowing the USTA to preserve a significant portion of its operating revenue through broadcast deals. and existing sponsorship.

In 2021, the Open saw full participation in the main draw, and the tournament struck a chord with New Yorkers and fans alike eager to return to watch tennis in person.

Dowse planned to leave his base in Orlando, Florida, and return to Phoenix.

“We want to thank Mike for his deep commitment to tennis and the steadfast hand he has shown in a time of extraordinary challenge and uncertainty,” said Michael J. McNulty III, Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA, in a press release.

As an outdoor sport conducive to social distancing, tennis has greatly increased its participation during the pandemic. The number of people who played at least once in 2020 increased 22.4% from 2019 to 21.6 million players, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. But keep those new or old players in the game will be a major challenge: the one left to Dowse’s successor.

The other prominent candidate when Dowse was hired was Lewis Sherr, USTA’s director of revenue. Other contenders included Todd Martin, a former top player who now heads the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and Stacey Allaster, a former WTA chief who is the tournament director for the US Open. But with the expansion and construction of the US Open nearing completion, the USTA will still be focusing on local development, which could lead the organization to hire on its board of directors.

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Newsrust - US Top News: USTA chief Michael Dowse resigns after two years
USTA chief Michael Dowse resigns after two years
Newsrust - US Top News
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