Bates became a professional tennis player in 1982. Together with Jo Durie he won the mixed competitions in 1987 at Wimbledon and in 1991 at the Australian Open . Together with Peter Lundgren , he was also in the double finals of the Australian Open in 1988. During his career he won a single tournament on the ATP World Tour as well as three doubles tournaments. His highest placement on the tennis world rankings was 54th in singles in 1995 and 25th in doubles in 1991.
Bates played 36 singles and 15 doubles games for the British Davis Cup team between 1985 and 1994 . His greatest success with the team was participating in the quarterfinals of the world group, which Australia won 4-1. He lost on the side of Colin Dowdeswell the double encounter and his single game against Pat Cash . He won his second individual against Paul McNamee .