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Federer praises new ATP boss

Roger Federer on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of former Nike executive Adam Helfant to head the Association of Tennis Professionals, calling it a chance to "make tennis even better."

sports Updated: Jan 14, 2009 15:29 IST

Roger Federer on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of former Nike executive Adam Helfant to head the Association of Tennis Professionals, calling it a chance to "make tennis even better."

The statesmanlike world number two dealt with Helfant on multi-million dollar clothing contract negotiations, and as president of the ATP Player Council will again find himself across the table from the 44-year-old.

"His view is great, he has been in sports big time," said Federer after winning his opening match at the Australian Open warm-up Kooyong Classic on Wednesday, defeating Carlos Moya 6-2, 6-3.

"He deals with Brazil (national team) and FC Barcelona and all the basketball players.

"I even had something going on with him at Nike when I was negotiating my contract, so I saw what kind of a man he was. He is very honest, and I think that is a very good thing."

Federer said finance would be among the issues on the table as the governing body of world tennis works to get tournaments to increase prize money.

"I think tournaments have done really well over the years," he said.

"At the moment it is a bit of a crunch obviously, so we are sensitive to that issue, but I think now having a new CEO, the chance is to make tennis even better."

The state of the annual calendar will also likely be among the issues the pair discuss when they meet.

There are calls for the Open to be pushed back by a few weeks, sending the first Grand Slam of the season into February, because the rise of big-money events in the Gulf are draining player fields at Australian warm-up events.