Tennis chiefs from around the globe are flocking to Lisbon this week, with the race to become International Tennis Federation president finally drawing to a close.
On Friday, David Haggerty will hope to fight off challenges from Irelands Dave Miley, Indias Anil Khanna and Czech Republics Ivo Kaderka to retain his seat as one of the most powerful men in tennis.
The American is considered the favourite – although each candidate will tell you theyre going to win – despite his four-year stint as ITF chief being steeped in controversy.
One man who is convinced its far from a foregone conclusion is Miley. With three candidates running against Haggerty, he believes his position is under threat.
The illustration that people are not happy in the ITF is for the first time in recent history, there are three people running against the incumbent, Miley tells Metro.co.uk.
Theres 32 people running for the board. It shows a lot of people around the ITF should not be there. It shows not a lot of happiness around the ITF.
I see it that Im very confident Ill be in the top-two [after the first round of voting]. I could be one or I could be two. But Im very confident Ill be in the top-two.
I have good support, people have looked me in the eye but you never know, maybe people are lying to me. Im used to people telling me the truth but you never know.
I believe that Anil Khanna, Ivo Kaderka and myself all have one thing in common: we want to change the direction of the ITF. We dont think the current administration is very effective. So, Im confident that if Im in the top-two that a lot of Anil Khannas supporters and Ivo Kaderkas supporters will come and support me in the second round.
I do think that Im the best person to be CEO. I think Ivo Kaderka and Anil Khanna could be very good non-executive presidents if the structure was different, but I think its only me or Dave Haggerty that could run the company.
Dave Haggerty has had four years. Relationships are worse. The customers are pissed off. Hes had his chance. Give me a chance. I can run the company.
Since our first meeting at his home seven months ago, Miley has travelled to 70 countries, meeting 80 presidents of ITF nations and spending $100,000 of his own money. Phone calls have been made at every opportunity, video presentations have been sent to member nations and his manifesto was released in three languages. He doesnt feel he could have given any more.
That is, at least, within the boundaries set by the ethics committee. Miley has made no secret of his frustrations at the red tape placed around him and the other candidates. Restrictions, he believes, strongly favour the incumbant.
One of the changes brought into this campaign is a shortening of the presentation format for candidates at the Lisbon AGM.
In 2015, Dave and the other candidates got 30 minutes to present, this time I get 10 minutes with no questions. Its quite incredible, Miley laughs. They also told me no videos in my presentation and I have to give my powerpoint to his team 24 hours in advance. You couldnt script it. You have to laugh.
Still, the fire still burns bright in the Irishman who is determined to fix tennis. His manifesto motto Together for Tennis-ITF Strong vows to bring the fractured bodies of the sport together, working in harmony to double the $22billion industry while ensuring the ITF get tough to earn more respect.
Miley is focused on the bigger picture, which stretches beyond the businesses such as ATP, WTA, ITF, Grand Slams and racquet manufacturers, but also to the customers: the fans and the players.
Theres no greater example, he believes, than the botched World Tennis Tour, which saw the ITF introduce a new dual-rankings system only to scrap it after six months.
After these seven months, I think one of the biggest problems is the people working in so many of these organisations, their egos are bigger than the sport, he adds.
Take the World Tennis Tour, what happens? The ITF forgot about the customer. “Those guys ranked 3000, theyre no good, they shouldnt be here. They shouldnt be playing.” Boom. “Lets put a system 28 draws instead of 128, those guys are rubbish.” Who said that? Kris Dent [an ITF senior executive], people like that.
You know the problem? Those players are playing Davis Cup for Malaysia, for Andorra, for Kuwait, for all of these countries that are playing Davis Cup, and Fed Cup as well. So the ITF forgot their customers were representing their country and were excluded from the World Tennis Tour.
They forgot the customer and they forgot the industry. Why did they forget the industry? Because if you reduce the number of players to 750, what happens to all the academies? What happens to all the coaches? What happens to all the racquets, the strings, all the sales – the industry.
By messing with players from all these countries, who do they impact on negatively? The shareholders. The 200 nations who all know this is a mess. They spent a million dollars of those nations money on something and now look where they are, back where they started. The ITF hate me because I articulate it but its the truth.
The newly-formatted Davis Cup has also been a bone of contention. A deal with Barcelona centre-back Gerard Piques investment company Kosmos was rushed through by Haggerty and co., much to the annoyance to many of the member nations.
Heres the thing, Dave is a salesman, Miley continues. American salesmen are very concerned with the sale. Its the most important thing.
He picks up a ceramic ashtray to illustrate his point further: He wants to sell you this, hes going to tell you everything good about this. Its wide, its everything.
Hes not going to tell you that if you drop it its going to break. Thats what they did, they pointed out all the positives, no negatives.
Haggerty came under further fire last week when an email from Tennis India was circulated to member nations, questioning why the ITF is still projected to operate at a loss in 2019 despite the $3billion Kosmos deal.
Miley has been batted away by ITF chiefs – who hide behind confidentiality – when seeking clarity on financial outgoings that he believes should be transparent, but stuck the boot in to one of the other candidates, smiling: The irony is that India is raising this and Anil Khanna is on the finance committee.
How the voting works
Dave Haggerty (USA)
Anil Khanna (IND)
Ivo Kaderka (CZE)
Dave Miley (IRL)
A candidate requires more than 50% of the vote to be elected, with second and third rounds conducted if that is not obtained.
Tennis India have also been forced to release a statement defending Khanna over fake, illegal and invalid accusations of corruption, while questioning whether there are extraneous vested interests behind this circulation just a week before the ITF elections are due to take place.
Miley was amused by Haggertys own political game playing, with the American making a late pitch to Tennis Ireland to attempt to convince them to back him, but hes convinced he can win the battle with good policies alone.
Im not a political animal, Im not an expert on this stuff, Ive got to trust people will see Ive got policies that no one is criticising, he adds.
I think if people can reflect that Dave Miley took on three candidates with a lot of resources and I think has demonstrated his campaign and strategy has been the best, wRead More – Source