Helfant accepts job to head ATP

LONDON -- Former NHL lawyer and Nike executive Adam Helfant was hired Monday as the ATP's executive chairman and president for men's professional tennis.

Helfant takes over the circuit a week before the start of the Australian Open.

He replaces Etienne de Villiers, who ran the tour since 2005 and stepped down last year. De Villiers oversaw the introduction of video replay and increased prize money.

Most recently, Helfant was Nike's corporate vice president for global sports marketing. He worked for the NHL for three years.

"The ATP Board believes it has secured a new leader with the necessary strategic vision, operational strength and international perspective," ATP tournament board representative Graham Pearce said.

The 44-year-old American will be based in London.