Kicking off the ATP’s new virtual speaker series last week, Tony Adams MBE, in conversation with Jamie Murray, led a wide-ranging and candid session discussing mental health in professional sport.
The session marked the first of a series open to all ATP players and coaches – as well as alumni, agents and tournament and staff members – aimed at promoting positive health and development across the ATP membership.
Adams, an English football player, captain and legend for both Arsenal and England, was one of the world’s best football players between 1983 and 2002. Despite his tremendous success on the field, Adams battled with alcoholism for much of his playing career.
Throughout the session, Adams talked to ATP’s members about his experiences, from his lowest moments battling addiction, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, to his greatest moments on the pitch and through to his eventual recovery. The legendary footballer recalled the difficult journey of learning to confront his problems and the pressures of professional sport, which compelled him to help fellow athletes struggling with their mental health.
Towards the end of his career, Adams founded Sporting Chance, a charitable foundation aimed at providing treatment, counselling and support for professional sportspeople. Sporting Chance have been supporting ATP’s player members since the start of the pandemic – a period of particular strain for athletes – providing access to free and fully confidential counselling.