Pasarell, 69, is most recently best known as the past tournament director, managing partner, and former owner of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., but his contributions as a tennis industry leader have spanned all levels of the sport and have been a driving force in the growth of the tennis for more than 40 years. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pasarell has been a longtime resident of California.
Pasarell's leadership activities were preceded by a successful playing career in which he achieved the No. 1 ranking in the United States in 1967. He was a member of the United States Davis Cup team for five years, including the championship team in 1968. Pasarell won 18 singles titles, including the U.S. National Indoor Championships in 1966 and 1967. Also in 1966, he was the NCAA Singles and Doubles champion, playing for UCLA.
A focus of Pasarell's tennis career has always been finding ways to utilize the game to give back to the community. At the height of his playing career, in 1969, Pasarell partnered with Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder to launch National Junior Tennis League. The goal of the organization was to have a positive impact on at-risk children by introducing them to tennis to keep them off the streets and to encourage them to stay in school. Today, the program continues to be the largest grassroots tennis program in the United Sates, with more than 950 chapters.
In 1971, as tennis was in the pivotal transition to the Open Era, Pasarell and a group of his fellow players founded the ATP, with the goal of giving players a voice in the structuring the new professional game. Over the years, Pasarell has remained highly active in the leadership of the organization and the development of men's pro tennis. He served as an active board member in the critical early years, from 1971 - 1978. When the Men's International Professional Tennis Circuit became the ruling body of men's tennis from 1986 - 1990, Pasarell served as a tournament representative on the board. When the new ATP World Tour replaced that organization in 1990, Pasarell was once again elected by the tournaments to serve as their representative, and he was re-elected to the position every year for 20 consecutive years, until he retired in 2010.
In 1981, Pasarell took over as tournament director of the ATP World Tour event in the Coachella Valley of California. At the time, the event was struggling and in danger of being removed from the region. Under Pasarell's leadership, the event has grown to be the largest two-week combined ATP and WTA tennis tournament in the world and the most well-attended tennis event after the four Grand Slams. The tournament has grown from 30,000 attendees to more than 370,000, and the television broadcast has grown from reaching 25 million homes to more than one billion homes worldwide. The growth has necessitated new, state-of-the-art tennis facilities, taking the venue from a 7,500-seat stadium court to a 24-court, 54-acre complex including a 16,100-seat main stadium, seven smaller stadiums, and 44 luxury suites.
After more than 30 years working on the event, Pasarell announced his departure from the BNP Paribas Open in 2012. He remains active in tennis industry programs and is currently working on the development of a residential golf community in his native Puerto Rico.
Click HERE for the complete news release.