Tennis legend Billie Jean King is happy with the new WTA trial that allows coaching from the stands, saying that it is a no-brainer and will help create more interest in tennis. Speaking to Reuters, King, who was the pioneer of the Women's Tennis Association Tour in the early 1970's, says, "They should be able to signal from the stands.
Look at baseball. They have a first base coach and a third base coach, the coaches are giving all these signals, squeezing their nose or whatever and making all these signals. It's fascinating for people. They make documentaries on these coaches.
It's just a story to promote our sport and anything we can do to promote it is a good thing, it's a no-brainer." King, who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles in her career, also does not support the view that allowing coaching mid-match takes away the skill of decision-making from players.
"Yeah, people say in tennis you have to think for yourself, but I've told players countless times what to do and they can either do it or they can't, it's up to them anyway." Currently, women are already allowed to call their coaches on the court once per set during changeovers but the men's ATP Tour and the Grand Slams do not allow the same.
The trial will begin at the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next week and will be continued at a select number of WTA tournaments going forward this year. The ITF chief David Haggerty says that data from the WTA Tour trial will be reviewed as well.