'Valuable' ATP Business Education Programme Concludes In New York

September 07, 2023, Madrid

More than 20 ATP players enrolled and studied for four months

Before players hit the courts at the US Open, they hit the classroom.

The ATP Business Education Programme, an educational initiative in collaboration with LALIGA Business School (the educational department of LALIGA) launched in May, came to a conclusion in New York ahead of the US Open.

“It was valuable for us to be there at this course. I hope we can do it more,” said Marcelo Melo, a former No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings.“Every single player who was there appreciated a lot the ATP making this possible, and I hope we can do another one. I learned a lot, many things that I had no opportunity to [learn] before.”

The programme came to a close with a two-day classroom session in New York in a special setting: the NBA Headquarters. Not only did the players enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour there, but also a session and behind-the-scenes tour at Madison Square Garden.

The special opportunity brought to a conclusion four months of studies comprising 30 tuition hours with more than 20 ATP players enrolled. The programme was designed to build current ATP players’ knowledge of the sports industry and help them to develop their skills ahead of their post-playing careers.

Matthew Ebden, a member of the Player Advisory Council, was one of the participants. The Australian felt it was important, especially in his role, to best prepare himself for meetings to represent the player membership.

“That's our role — I think especially for council members, and for everyone in the ATP — for guys to learn more about the sport now for their own careers, for the overall business side, but also for the future,” said Ebden. “Everyone on Tour now is going to stop playing one day and they want to build maybe their brand, their legacy, their education, their credentials, their resume even, and their experience levels. It's fun to learn, so all that stuff I think is going to help guys during their career and after.”

The 35-year-old Ebden has always been interested in education and school was important to him. He deferred law studies to pursue professional tennis, but has studied throughout his career, from a Bachelor of Business to bits of law and other courses over the years. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he took several certificate courses.

“Any time I get an opportunity to further my education, I like to do that. And this was one of those chances with the business programme. I'm also on the ATP Player Advisory Council now, so I felt obliged and bit of responsibility to keep furthering my business skills, especially that ATP is offering with with LALIGA,” said Ebden. “I think it can only be beneficial for my experience, and to help me in those sorts of roles now and in the future. I think I like to have something to do sometimes outside of tennis or something on my mind at times.”

According to Ebden, “there were so many dimensions” to the ATP Business Education Programme, from talks about artificial intelligence and its role in sports to social media and digital impact.

“I've been quite aware of that the last couple years, I've done quite a few courses and learning about that through some other avenues as well. So that further solidified my education in that department. Those are probably two things that really hit home,” Ebden said. “There were lots of other general topics. There were some great talks on leadership by Shane McCurry, one of our Australian guys who works in football.

“He was talking about leadership roles, how to work within teams, and lead and inspire people in the right ways to keep everyone on side and get the best out of everyone, manage all that.”

McCurry was one of many speakers who helped educate the players during the course of the programme. There were speakers from throughout the sports world, including basketball, football, rugby, track cycling and tennis.

In addition to sports industry topics, the course also provided players with sessions on soft skills around their development, including sessions on leadership, storytelling, communications and professional development. Overall, it was a special chance for the membership to continue to grow off court while still competing at the highest level.

Portugal’s Joao Sousa was happy he took part. “My experience was very nice. I learnt a lot about the business side of the sports industry and am a more confident person in the business world because of it,” said Sousa. “I gained a lot of experience with a lot of things that I didn't previously know across football, basketball, tennis and other sports.

“I think all of the players in the programme feel more comfortable speaking about business and the sports industry, which was the main goal for me. I am really happy that I took this programme.”

The players who graduated from the programme are: Jan-Lennard Struff, Matwe Middelkoop, Joao Sousa, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, Gastao Elias, Federico Delbonis, Malek Jaziri, Marcelo Melo, Jamie Cerretani, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Pablo Andujar, Mackenzie McDonald, Gregoire Barrere, Quentin Halys, Emil Ruusuvuori, Robin Haase, Marc-Andrea Huesler, Matthew Ebden, Jamie Murray and Philipp Oswald.