Serena Williams' coach wants rule change to allow on-court coaching

Rex Christensen
October 21, 2018

Serena Williams" coach Patrick Mouratoglou has called for "reform' in tennis with regards to on-court coaching in light of the US Open final debacle.

Now over a month after the tournament's dissapointing conclusion, Mouratoglou is calling for a reshaping of tennis' long-standing anti-coaching stnace.

"I have never understood why tennis is just about the only sport in which coaching during matches is not allowed", Mouratoglou went on to say.

"One thing has happened as a effect of Serena Williams' experience in the US Open: People in the tennis world are again discussing the whole issue of on-court coaching", he wrote. "Yet, banning it nearly makes it look as if it had to be hidden, or as it was shameful".

The Frenchman admitted gesturing to Williams from the stands - in contravention of US Open and other Grand Slam tournament rules - but the American was left incensed at the umpire's strict interpretation of the rule.

He posted a lengthy statement on the issue on Twitter, under four sub-headings that argue: coaching "deserves to be recognised and valued", tennis is the "only sport where coaching isn't front and centre", coaching "improves the quality of the show" and "hypocrisy surrounding coaching" can be stopped. Look at how many times players look towards their boxes during a match.

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Under current tennis rules, as CNN's Danielle Rossingh noted, on-court coaching has been permitted on an experimental basis during qualifying and junior events at the US Open, while the women's WTA Tour "allows women to talk to their coach during one changeover per set".

Serena Williams' coach says in-match coaching should be allowed in tennis to help the sport's popularity. "Some do it after every single point".

"Of course the coaches are usually discreet in the way they give message to their players - they do it with signs or coded signals - but majority also communicate verbally", said Mouratoglou, the founder and president of the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in the south of France.

"You see it all the time in team sports, with coaches instructing their players from the sidelines", Mouratoglou said.

"You want spectators and TV viewers to have opinions about the players - and the coaches - and to know who they like and don't like. Sometimes the players don't like to hear what their coaches are saying, but this all adds to the drama, which creates engagement on social media".

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