Obituaries | Former AO Tournament Director Colin Subs dies (1941-2022)
Former Australian Open tournament director Colin Stubs died Wednesday, aged 81, after battling pancreatic cancer.
He was an astute and well-respected tennis businessman who invested everything in showcasing the sport and organizing top-notch tennis events. He was an excellent player and quite his own man. Craig Tiley
“The tennis community has lost a very nice and good man in Colin Stubs,” former world number 1 Paul McNamee wrote on Twitter. “He was honest because it’s been a long day and made a big contribution to Australian tennis. RIPStubsy.
McNamee succeeded Stubs as Grand Slam tournament director and was among many to post a tribute.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley, who is also the current Australian Open tournament director, said: “He put the players first and earned their trust. He was an astute and well-respected tennis businessman who invested everything in showcasing the sport and organizing top-notch tennis events. He was an excellent player and quite his own man.
Stubs, who has also appeared in all four Grand Slams as a player, will be remembered as a pivotal figure in reviving the fortunes of the Australian Open, which has struggled to attract top players in the 1980s.
© Mark Dadswell/Getty Images
Born in Melbourne, he won the Victoria Under-19 Championships at 16 and went on to complete a 4-year degree in pharmacy, traveling the international tennis circuit between 1961 and 1970 before becoming a pharmacist.
After retiring from touring, he juggled his career as a pharmacist with his duties at the Australian Open for several years.
In 1975 Stubs’ good friend Wayne Reid, then Chairman of Tennis Australia, encouraged him to work as a consultant and he sold his Wheelers Hill pharmacy 3 years later to expand his sports marketing and management company.
Stubs not only shaped the early careers of Todd Woodbridge, Richard Fromberg and Jason Stoltenberg, but was also a key figure in the growth of the Australian Open in the late 1970s until 1994, when Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf won the singles titles.
He developed strong relationships with the players which helped bring them to Melbourne and served him well when he captained the Dubai Tennis Championships and the Australian Men’s Hard Court Championships in Adelaide.
He helped the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in the mid-1990s and was tournament director in Adelaide until 2003.
The man known as ‘Stubsy’ also founded the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne in 1988, working in partnership with the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club until 2014 when the event was sold to IMG.
1988 was the same year the Australian Open moved to its new, state-of-the-art $94 million home at Flinders Park, which was renamed Melbourne Park 8 years later.
The Kooyong Exhibition Tournament is still taking place today and will be part of the upcoming tennis summer after a few years off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stubs, who later worked as a gardener in Sherbrooke Forest, east of Melbourne, is survived by his wife, Sue, and children Tom, Georgia and David. Another son, Richard, died in 2019.
Colin Stubs, player, promoter and tournament director, born February 27, 1941, died July 13, 2022.