FORMER CONNECTICUT OPEN CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND HALL OF FAMER MIKE DAVIES PASSES
Former Connecticut Open Chief Executive Officer and Hall of Famer Mike Davies passed away this morning at his home in Sarasota, Fla., from complications related to Mesothelioma. Originally from Swansea, Wales, Davies was 79 years old, and is survived by his wife Mina Davies, four children and four grandchildren.
Davies began his lifelong tennis career as a player, when at the age of 11 he was discovered as a young talent by British legend and Hall of Famer Fred Perry. In 1957, 1959 and 1960, Davies was ranked No. 1 in Great Britain and in 1960 he reached the men's doubles final at Wimbledon with Bobby Wilson. After a successful pre-Open Era playing career he moved on to several senior executive roles in the sport, starting with Executive Director of World Championship Tennis (WCT) in 1968. Over the next decade, Davies brought a number of firsts and historic innovations to the sport including yellow tennis balls, colored clothing on players, the first multi-million dollar tour, the first major network broadcast of a tennis tournament (NBC), the first tie-breaker in a professional circuit, and television-friendly rule changes such as 30 seconds between points and 90 seconds between games.
After his time at WCT, Davies served as the Marketing Director and then Executive Director for the Association of Tennis Professionals (later known as the ATP), and later as General Manager of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). From 1997-2013 Davies served as CEO of Pilot Pen Tennis, now known as the Connecticut Open, establishing the tournament as one of New England’s pre-eminent professional sporting events. In 2012, he was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the Contributor Category.
"Today, we are mourning the loss of our leader, our mentor and our friend Mike Davies,” said Connecticut Open Tournament Director Anne Worcester. “While Mike was often behind the scenes, he was a force in the sport of tennis, a visionary that brought true innovation to the game, and someone who delivered incredible results wherever he worked. Mike will be missed, but his legacy will live on here in Connecticut and internationally, and we will always hold his passion in our hearts.”