Harri Heliovaara is one of the best doubles players in the world. The Finnish star is also a member of the ATP Player Advisory Council, elected by his peers to represent players from No. 1-75 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings.
On Monday, the Player Advisory Council met in Florida ahead of the Miami Open presented by Itau. ATPTour.com spoke to Heliovaara, who is in his first term as a council member, about his experience so far, what was discussed in the meeting and why he feels his position is a “big role”.
What was your takeaway from the Miami Player Advisory Council meeting?
This was my first meeting because I missed the first one in Melbourne. I was still playing in Adelaide exactly at the same time as the meeting was, so this was my first time actually seeing [what it is like].
What was the experience like?
It was cool. My whole background is such that I’ve been in the business life for a couple of years. I didn’t play tennis for five years, so the setting is somehow familiar. You have a meeting room with a lot of people, someone on Zoom and everybody gathered around a table. It’s a nice situation we had.
We had a lot of experienced guys — not in the Player Advisory Council — but the player representatives and the board and the people from the ATP. There were more people than I expected, but [there were] very good discussions, [I am] learning a lot.
Photo Credit: Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour
What would you say the biggest themes from this particular meeting were?
We had Andrea [Gaudenzi], the chairman, presenting us the [OneVision] strategy, Phase Two of the strategy. I think that was important for everybody in the council to understand and also to get to know him a little bit better.
We had of course a couple of decisions to make, but they were a little bit smaller this time, mostly about how they allocate prize money among the players. It was more interesting to hear about the ATP in general.
What do you think of OneVision?
I like it. I like it a lot. I think we as the ATP and tennis as a sport, we need to think big and that’s what we are doing in the OneVision strategy. I’m very interested in that kind of thing. My major in my Masters studies was strategy and venturing, so it’s really close to my heart, everything with strategy. Looking forward to how it goes.
How important do you feel your role is, representing the players, the members?
It’s a big role. I think it’s an honour to be there elected by the other players. I know that Jarkko Nieminen, who was the best player from Finland, he was part of the council for several years and I look up to him and hope to do something good for tennis while I’m here. Help the players, help the sport, help the ATP.
My role of course [is that] I’m there as a doubles player. I want to help other doubles players, but that’s not the only thing I’m focused on. It has to be the bigger picture.