(ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach was one of the first to congratulate Camilo Pérez López-Moreira for his election last week to the International Tennis Federation Board of Directors.
Pérez is now the only member of the IOC on the ITF board, elected until 2023.
The Paraguayan sports leader proved his popularity, winning more votes than any other South American who has run for the ITF board. The vote Sept. 27 in Lisbon reelected David Haggerty of the U.S. as ITF president for a second term.
"His call made me very happy," Pérez told Around The Rings.
"It is a great support and at the same time a commitment," said Pérez, who is the president of the South American Tennis Confederation.
Pérez also received the congratulations of the president of Panam Sports, Neven Ilic. Pérez is a member of the executive of the continental organization.
Pérez is also president of ODESUR, South American Sports Organization, the Paraguayan Olympic Committee and is a member of the Executive Board of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
Pérez considered his election "a challenge" and praised the strong support of the presidents of the South American national federations.
He also recognized the work of the team "who works with me day by day"and who helped to put together his candidacy "to make it known even in the most distant countries". His family even helped him at the assembly in Lisbon.
He also considered "historic" the five board members from the Americas elected last week. In addition to Haggerty and Pérez, Katrina Adams (USA), Carlos Bravo (Costa Rica) and Jack Graham (CAN) were elected.
He said he was not surprised by the overwhelming support received by Haggerty, with 60.5 percent of the votes in a race with three other candidates.
The vote is a "resounding endorsement" of the reforms promoted by Haggerty, says Pérez. These include the modernization of traditional team competitions such as the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup.
The renewed Davis Cup will be held in Madrid in November co-sponsored with the Kosmos company, an investment firm headed by FC Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué, with finals that now involve 18 teams, in one week.
Haggerty has also promised millions in resources for the development of tennis in the different regions of the world, "regardless of the size of the nations".
Revenue is expected to continue to increase with income doubling from 2015 to $109.5 million in 2019.
The first immediate challenge of the new Board of Directors will be the revolutionized Davis Cup in less than two months.
"We are going to put all our efforts to make it work wonders." says Pérez.
He says he plans to meet with Haggerty during the week of world tennis in Madrid. Pérez says he wants to talk about "some projects that interest me in the support of global tennis."
Reported by Miguel Hernandez.