PAUL McNamee has quit as chief executive of the Australian Open, Tennis Australia announced today.
McNamee, 51, a former Wimbledon and Australian Open doubles champion, leaves after 12 years at the helm of the grand slam tennis tournament.
McNamee said in a Tennis Australia statement that he was leaving to pursue other interests.
"There is never an easy time to move on but I feel I am doing so on a high after another great Australian Open," he said.
His departure follows a deteriorating relationship with Australia's highest-ranked player, Lleyton Hewitt, and sections of the Australian media over the past two years.
World No.10 Hewitt was strongly critical of Australian Open management over what he perceived to be the slow pace of the Rebound Ace hardcourts during the past two Open tournaments at Melbourne Park.
Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard paid tribute to McNamee's stewardship of the Open.
"Tennis Australia wishes to pay tribute to Paul for his efforts over the past 12 years which have established the Australian Open as one of the world's marquee sporting events," Pollard said.
"His creativity and energy helped elevate the Australian Open to be on a par with the other three grand slams and set a benchmark for major sporting events in Australia and around the world.
"He leaves the Australian Open in a very healthy state after another hugely successful tournament."
McNamee won 24 doubles titles, many with Peter McNamara, including Wimbledon in 1980 and 1982, and the Australian Open in 1979 and 1983.
He was also part of the Australian teams that won the Davis Cup in 1983 and 1986.