Tennis - Former World No. 4 Jelena Dokic has backed the rules in tennis that restrict the number of tournaments that teenagers can play on the WTA Tour, after the debate has come up once again with the rapid rise of 15-year-old American Coco Gauff.
Gauff has risen from No. 453 in March to No. 71 in the rankings after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon, the third round of the US Open and winning her first WTA tour title in Luxembourg. Speaking at an awards ceremony in Melbourne, Dokic commented in an interview published by The Australian, “That has always been the discussion … for more than 20 years, even when Martina Hingis was coming through, because she was so young.
She won her first grand slam when she was 16. It was a little bit the same for me as well. I was under the age rule and I actually don’t mind the rule. Coco is obviously a great player and I think she will be amazing. But it is good to have that restriction and to not play 25 to 30 tournaments a year when you are 14 or 15.
If you are good enough, you are going to come through anyway, like she did already at Wimbledon and then when winning her first title as well. She is already ranked 70 or 80 in the world. She will make that work. By the time she is 18, she can play whatever she wants, anyway.
I think it is important to have that rule there and make sure that the young players don’t burn out”. As per the WTA rules, Gauff can play 14 tournaments while she is 15 years old and 16 tournaments when she turns 16 years old.