The top ladies weigh in on on-court coaching. JJ and Lena say they don't love it and they don't plan on using it. I call BS on that. The only ones I see not ever calling a coach are the Williamses.
The fact is it's an advantage. Here is Baby K's take on it last year:
When it was introduced on the women's tour last year, we were told it was designed to create more excitement for fans. I am in favour of anything that enhances the fans' experience because they are the people we play tennis for.
But whoever decided on this on-court coaching doesn't seem to have thought things through. I am sure it is interesting for spectators to see the communication between a player and a coach, but TV viewers don't see it during live broadcasts, because almost every station cuts to a commercial during the change of ends. Spectators in the stadium don't really see or hear it, so I wonder who it actually benefits or creates excitement for.
Sure, people can watch re-runs and see what was said, but I would think the vast majority watching re-runs are fans anyway — again, this goes against the idea of "attracting more fans to the game".
But the main reason why I am against this experiment is because it is only present on the women's tour — we cannot use it at grand slams. As a player it is the slams that you train for and dream about winning. If we cannot use something at a grand slam, then I don't think it should be on the tour.
The WTA tour has asked me, and other players, for my feedback, and the majority of players are against it. It's a slightly strange situation, because I am against the concept, but, at the same time, I know it can help me. I don't want to appear like a hypocrite for using it when I don't agree with it, but I would be stupid not to make use of it when it can be beneficial to me.
It helped me in Sydney last week in two of my matches. I was panicking a little, and having my adviser Sven come onto the court really helped me relax and think more clearly about my tactics. I won the set that followed his advice on both occasions.
But I can't use it here. If I lost the first set against Cirstea in the first round on Tuesday I may have used it, had I been able to. My point is that we must not become dependent on something that we cannot use on the biggest stage.
I also really think tennis should remain a one-on-one sport, with no outside help. As part of the continuation of the experiment, the WTA tour said it will take a much stricter approach to policing coaching from the stands during matches — I will believe that when I see it.
According to David Taylor, Sam Stosur's current coach and Baby K's former coach, the players are pretty much split along generational lines. The older established players didn't want it, the younger players did. Not surprising there.
Well, it starts on Monday. So long as Vera-Cam 2000 is in effect, I'll deal with it.