The debate over whether tennis coaches should coach their players during matches has raged on for quite some time. Grand Slam tournaments still prohibit coaches from giving instructions to their players during matches. However, there have been calls to allow more communication between players and their coaches in recent seasons. One of the strongest advocates for on-court coaching in tennis is Patrick Mouratoglou.
Mouratoglou is a vocal supporter of on-court coaching
Mouratoglou is one of the most successful tennis coaches in the world and his most illustrious client is Serena Williams. The French coach was involved in an infamous coaching incident at the 2018 US Open final. During Serena’s match against Naomi Osaka, the umpire penalized Serena for appearing to take instructions from her coach while he was in the stands. The penalty infuriated Serena, and she got into a heated exchange with the umpire. She went on to lose the match.
Mouratoglou has argued that on-court coaching will improve the popularity of the sport. The 49-year-old feels the fans will be passionate about the sport once they see coaches and players communicating more often. Mouratoglou has highlighted last year’s Laver Cup as an example of the interest on-court coaching could generate. During a singles match at the tournament, Rafael Nadal gave instructions to Roger Federer on the sidelines as the two led Team Europe to its third successive title.
It’s going to be a battle of the coaches
In recent seasons, on-court coaching has been allowed at several tournaments. The WTA now allows coaches to give instructions to players during timeouts. However, one player feels that on-court coaching could have some negative outcomes. Stefanos Tsitsipas has expressed his reservations on having coaches offer instructions to players during the game. The Greek player disagrees with Mouratoglou’s opinion and feels that the move will put more focus on the coaches as opposed to the players.
In a recent interview, Tsitsipas said that players should use their training to figure out what to do on the court. He also expressed his fear that players with less experienced coaches could be at a disadvantage during matches. “I feel like if certain players can afford better coaches. It’s going to be the battle of the coaches, not so much the battle of the players.” According to Tsitsipas, players’ competing to outwit each other on the court is what makes tennis a special sport, and allowing coaches to share in the spotlight could make the game less appealing.
Stefanos Tsitsipas’s ranking and performance in 2020
Ranked world no.6, the Greek played his last match on the 29th of February when he surrendered to Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-4 in the final in Dubai.
At the moment, this season the Greek has a 11-5 win-loss record. Tsitsipas clinched 1 title in Marseille. Stefanos was the finalist in Dubai.
Serena Williams’s ranking and performance in 2020
Ranked no.9, the American played her last match on the 8th of February when she was overcome by Anastasija Sevastova 7-65 3-6 7-64 in the Rubber 4 in Fed Cup.
Presently, this year Serena Williams has a 8-2 win-loss record. Serena clinched 1 title in Auckland.