MUMBAI (Reuters) - The men's tennis tour has joined up with Sporting Chance and Headspace to help players and its staff deal with mental health problems and look after their well-being during the COVID-19 shutdown, the ATP said on Wednesday.
The professional tennis season was halted in early March due to the pandemic and will remain suspended until at least the end of July, depriving lower-level players who depend solely on tournament winnings of the chance to earn a living.
With no clarity on when the sport can resume again, many players have been left anxious as they struggle to cope with the uncertainty that lies ahead.
"Being mentally strong is just as important as physical strength in tennis and looking after the mental health of our players and staff is a key priority for us," ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement https://www.atptour.com/en/news/atp-mental-health-release-20-may-2020.
"Everyone has been adapting to periods of self-isolation and decreased physical activity during the pandemic, but this can have a particularly detrimental effect on professional athletes who are used to particular training structure and playing day in day out."
The ATP's tie-up with Sporting Chance, founded by former England and Arsenal soccer captain Tony Adams to help with emotional welfare and addictive disorders, gives players access to therapists experienced in working with elite athletes.
"The challenges that all sports and sports professionals are experiencing in the light of this pandemic will be affecting all of us in different ways," Adams said.
"Holding out our hand to those in need at this time is important to me and working with organisations like the ATP is a pleasure – well done Tennis!"
As part of another partnership, Headspace will provide free subscriptions to ATP players and employees, giving them access to all 1200+ hours of meditation and mindfulness content.
Earlier this month, the ATP also announced a two-year partnership with online learning platform Coursera which will allow players to access over 4,000 courses for free.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Ken Ferris)