The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) has announced partnerships with two organisations, Sporting Chance and Headspace, as it seeks ways to help players and staff who may be struggling with their mental health, and their overall well-bring because of the suspension of the sport.
Professional tennis has been suspended since early March because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, and is currently not expected to return until August at the earliest. The ATP recognises that this has left many players feeling anxious, as they struggle to cope with present and future uncertainty. Particularly vulnerable are those hundreds of lower ranked players who rely solely on what they earn on the court to make a living.
The ATP believes that, whilst people the world over are having to adjust to limited social contact and isolation during government lockdowns, as well as decreased physical activity, it can particularly affect athletes whose daily lives are normally structured around training and playing.
The partnership with Sporting Chance helps those concerned about their emotional welfare, or who are showing signs of addictive behaviours, the chance to work with therapists who are used to dealing with elite sportsmen and women.
Sporting Chance was founded by Tony Adams, the former Arsenal and England captain in 2000 as a specialist addition and recovery facility for athletes. It is a registered British charity, which is supported by the Professional Football Association (PFA), and whose patrons include Sir Elton John.
The clinic provides support, counselling, treatment and after care to athletes suffering from addictive illnesses such as alcoholism, drug dependency and compulsive gambling, as well as their associated side effects like depression and anxiety.
Headspace is an Anglo-American online health company which specialises in meditation and emotional and spiritual well-being. Through their partnership with them, the ATP will provide free subscriptions to players and employees, enabling to access more than 1,200 hours of content on meditation and mindfulness.