The ATP University was not held alongside the Nitto ATP Finals this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop this year’s class from going to school.
Thirty-eight up-and-coming players attended two days of sessions covering a wide variety of topics to further improve the off-court skills and enhance the knowledge they need to succeed on the ATP Tour. ATP University is an educational workshop that offers presentations including an overview of the ATP, player relations, member services, rules and regulations, integrity – anti-corruption and anti-doping, and player health and wellness.
“It was a great experience. Of course seeing all the guys on Tour who I haven’t seen for a few weeks now, it was great seeing their familiar faces,” World No. 73 Marcos Giron said. “It was really interesting [attending] ATP University and seeing all the behind the scenes of what makes the ATP run.”
In addition to the program’s core competencies, players attended breakout sessions on nutrition and hydration, financial planning, strength and conditioning, and media training. Special guests included former World No. 1 Jim Courier, two-time Roland Garros finalist Robin Soderling and two-time Nitto ATP Finals competitor Janko Tipsarevic, who used their experiences on the Tour to provide the players with special insights.
“My favorite part was Jim Courier,” Giron said. “He was the opener and I thought it was really interesting. I looked up to Jim Courier. He was a tremendous player and to hear from him his experience of life on Tour and after the Tour, not just the Xs and Os of tennis, but life that surrounds it and how he navigated it.”
Soderling, who earlier this year wrote an essay for ATPTour.com to help those struggling with their mental health, assisted ATP partner Sporting Chance with a presentation.
“It was great to be part of the Sporting Chance presentation. They are doing an extremely good job with helping players with their mental health. I wish that something like this was available during my career. It would for sure have helped me a lot,” Soderling said. “I hope that I helped the players that were listening to get a better understanding of what could happen in the worst case if they don’t take care of their mental health as carefully as they do their physical health. I hope that by telling my story I could help some of them. I know how helpful it can be just listening to someone that has gone through this.”
ATP University is typically held twice a year — alongside the Miami Open presented by Itau and the Nitto ATP Finals — but the programme was adapted this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In spite of not being able to meet in the traditional sense to deliver this important product, we’re very excited to have technology that allowed us to deliver key information to the players,”said Erika Kegler, the ATP’s Director, Player Development. “Current times call for innovation like never before and we are proud to have been able to conduct the ATP University virtually.”
This year’s ATP University graduates were Filippo Baldi, Nikola Cacic, Kimmer Coppejans, Federico Coria, Enzo Couacaud, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Gonzalo Escobar, Daniel Elahi Galan, Robert Galloway, Marcos Giron, Emilio Gomez, Andre Goransson, Tallon Griekspoor, Andrew Harris, Cem Ilkel, Nicola Kuhn, Nathaniel Lammons, Gianluca Mager, Joao Menezes, Nikola Milojevic, Sumit Nagal, Christopher O’Connell, Danilo Petrovic, Max Purcell, Emil Ruusuvuori, Thiago Seyboth Wild, Jannik Sinner, Carlos Taberner, Alejandro Tabilo, Mikael Torpegaard, Botic Van de Zandschulp, Juan Pablo Varillas, Aleksander Vukic, Yosuke Watanuki, J.J. Wolf, Mikael Ymer, Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Zhizhen Zhang.
More than 1,000 past and present ATP Tour players have graduated from the program. Any player in his first year of ATP Tour Division I membership is required to attend ATP University. Players inside the Top 200 of the FedEx ATP Rankings and Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings are eligible for the membership.