ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA – The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) and global technology partner SAP have teamed up to launch a new educational platform for WTA players called WTA University. Created with SAP Litmos solutions, this online learning management system expands on the WTA’s fundamental Player Development Program aimed to enhance the lives and careers of players by offering resources for physical and mental health, as well as personal and professional growth.
With the tennis season currently suspended, the WTA and SAP expedited the rollout of the platform in March, offering a host of new private and live sessions customized to support the needs of WTA players during the remote and uncertain nature of COVID-19. From financial coaching by certified specialists and leadership inspiration from Billie Jean King, to a variety of daily guided fitness classes and orientation courses for new players, the resources provided through WTA University serve as a modern extension to the WTA’s continued member benefits.
Since the introduction of the new platform, more than 150 WTA players have enrolled in WTA University’s educational courses globally, logging over 400 hours of learning. The WTA player community has access to the University’s online tools from anywhere, at any time, and across any device.
Currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program through the WTA’s partnership with Indiana University East, American CiCi Bellis recently explained how the new media training and mindful awareness courses were especially helpful in her business major coursework.
“It’s been incredible to have WTA University launch during this time. It’s given us new tools that allow us to focus our minds on something outside of tennis and improve our knowledge,” said Bellis. “It’s vital information, along with a variety of health resources too. I’ve really enjoyed having access to the yoga classes on demand. Even if I can’t make the live WTA session, I can still log on and stream any of the ‘It Takes Live’ daily fitness classes from my laptop or phone, wherever I am.”
Chief Revenue Officer of SAP Customer Experience, Paula Hansen added, “During these unprecedented times we have all found new ways to move forward and stay connected that have never been done before. In times of change and challenge, we see over 22 million users globally turning to learning. WTA’s brilliant use of SAP Litmos to continue to build skills on the court and off is a testament to the commitment they have to their members and we are thrilled to be a part of their transformative vision.”
With the successful launch of WTA University for players across six continents and more than 30 countries and regions, the organization plans to expand the innovative platform and its aggregated content to other areas of the sport. The WTA is presently working on its 2020-21 plan to further customize WTA University education for other segments of the tennis community, including WTA tournament staff, coaches and other player support team members.
Other players have provided the following insights:
Alexandra Dulgheru said: "I've been trying to fill up my time with things that I don’t normally have the chance to do. These courses for me were very helpful. The WTA has been very organized and has really tried to help us out.
"I was interested because I’m in the last years of my career - I’m 31. Although I love tennis a lot, I know that at some point it will end. So I thought that now would be the best time to do it."
Irina Khromacheva said: "I studied how to manage the conflict. That was really interesting. I learned how to understand people a bit better and learned not to run into the face of the conflict.
"The hour with Billie Jean King was super great. It’s amazing to hear from such a legend. A lot of the girls were writing down everything she was saying and it was very interesting. I want to be a coach in the future, so I’ve used the courses in that kind of way."