© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

2021 Milan competitors Brandon Nakashima, Carlos Alcaraz and Juan Manuel Cerundolo all participated in last week's ATP University sessions.

#NextGenATP Stars Go From Milan To ATP University

Milan competitors among 23 players who went back to "school" last week

With the ATP Tour season having come to an end, some of tennis’ brightest up-and-coming stars went back to school last week. Tennis school, that is.

Twenty-three players attended ATP University — 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. Topics covered included Tour Structure, Integrity and Mental Health with Sporting Chance.

According to Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Brandon Nakashima, it was a beneficial set of workshops for his development.

“The ATP University experience was great! You know coming up as a young player there’s a lot to know about the ATP that maybe us players don’t realise behind the scenes,” Nakashima said. “But having the university really educates us in all aspects of professional tennis.”

Social media has increasingly become an important part of professional athletes’ lives, providing players with an opportunity to connect with their fans. Nakashima’s favourite workshop was about social media and how he can use it to continue building his profile.

“It’s interesting to see how social media has affected people from all over the world,” Nakashima said. "I realised that social media plays a big role in your personal platform and how to let your fans know what you’re up to.”

Players were also treated to discussions with ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi and former World No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic, who is a member of Roger Federer’s coaching team.

“It was really nice,” Hugo Gaston said. “It was nice to speak with everyone and to learn more things!”

This year’s ATP University graduates were Carlos Alcaraz, Tomislav Brkic, Jenson Brooksby, Francisco Cerundolo, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Maxime Cressy, Joao Domingues, Hugo Gaston, Filip Horansky, Zdenek Kolar, Sebastian Korda, Tomas Machac, Alex Molcan, Gian Marco Moroni, Lorenzo Musetti, Brandon Nakashima, David Pel, Hunter Reese, Holger Rune, Matej Sabanov, Roman Safiullin, Mario Villa Martinez and Kacper Zuk.

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “The ATP University continues to be an invaluable tool to help players learn about the different aspects of the Tour, beyond the tennis court. I remember taking part in the University myself in the 1990s, and there is so much to discover about how to effectively manage your career. Life on the Tour comes with a lot of responsibility, particularly at a young age. We hope the players found the sessions to be of use, and congratulations to all those who took part.”

ATP University is typically held twice a year — alongside the Miami Open presented by Itau and the Nitto ATP Finals — but the programme has been adapted the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 1,100 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.

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