Former player James Blake was officially named the new tournament director of the Miami Open Thursday.
“James’s extensive knowledge of tennis from both a player and tournament perspective, along with his proven leadership skills, great reputation and strong relationships throughout the sport, make him the perfect choice to serve as tournament director of the Miami Open,” tournament executive director Adam Barrett said. “He is going to make our team stronger and will be a great bridge for the players and fans.”Sponsored
Barrett had been the executive vice-president and tournament director, until the nomination of Blake.
The tournament’s press release describes the 38-year-old Blake as “one of the most beloved and respected American players of all time.”
Barrett came into the organization as the finance director in 1991 and became the tournament director in 2002. The tournament director’s job description seems to have morphed quite a bit during those 15 years. These days, many former players are now assuming the role.
Blake joins another former player of more recent vintage, Tommy Haas, in the job.
Former players assuming TD role
Haas, who is a year and a half older than Blake, was an active player until 2017. He became the tournament director at the BNP Paribas Open last year, while he was still playing.
But Haas was spotted in the entourage of French player Lucas Pouille at the Kooyong Classic exhibition Thursday. And he told l’Équipe that it was a tryout, and could become a more regular association to add to Pouille’s longtime coach.
So two former top-five players now are the public faces of the two biggest events in the U.S., behind ony the US Open.
Richard Krajicek in Rotterdam and Michael Stich in Hamburg are two other former top players in the job.
The quote from Blake in the Miami Open press release:
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Miami Open team that has been putting on one of the best tennis events for more than 30 years. As a player, I always loved playing in Miami and I am excited for the opportunity to take the tournament experience to a higher level for the players, sponsors and fans.”
Yonkers, NY born, Connecticut raised and now living in San Diego, Blake is currently the president of the USTA’s charitable foundation. He also does some tennis commentary on the Tennis Channel.