Life in the fast lane
Originally published on 18/03/16 00:00
Tennis should decide what it thinks about coaching. Is it an integral part of our sport or not? Have the Davis Cup and Fed Cup got it right, with coaches sitting on the court throughout matches? Or is the Women’s Tennis Association system better, with coaches allowed to come on court during a changeover just once per set? Or how about the Grand Slams and the men’s tour, where no coaching whatsoever is allowed during matches?
It is absurd that the different competitions in our sport have such contrasting rules. I would be in favour of everyone following the Davis Cup and Fed Cup. I think having coaches on court is a great way of broadening the appeal of tennis for television viewers. At WTA events the coaches wear microphones, so viewers can hear what we say when we go on court to talk to our players. It gives viewers a great insight and helps them understand the game better as they hear the tactical and technical advice we relay to our players.
Watching the interaction between coaches and players also gives viewers a better understanding of the psychological side of tennis. They see how angry or stressed or even how fearful players can become. Viewers see the real player – the one who is in trouble or under stress out on the court – rather than the polished performer who turns up at press conferences.