The WTA Tour will allow on-court coaching this season with the experiment beginning at the Dubai Duty Free Championships and Hungarian Open in February, according to ESPN. The trial will continue at all WTA Premier and International events this season.
The WTA told ESPN, "The new trial will allow coaches to coach their player in the form they are currently coaching from the box without getting penalized. Whether it's verbal words of encouragement or few words when their player is on the same side of the court to any hand signals, such coaching as it takes place now from the box will be allowed."
The WTA said the rules were being changes because it was difficult to regulate and it was already happening in many cases. Several big names coaches are of the view that the same should be allowed. Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of Serena Williams, was of the opinion that it should be allowed since everyone is already doing it.
Darren Cahill, the coach of Simona Halep, commented, "I'm for it," the Australian said. "I'm big on tradition. I'm old. So I love the whole tradition of tennis and the one-on-one and problem-solving and what you're trying to do.
But I think we're evolving as a sport "Grand Slams, put that aside, we have the four Grand Slams, that's fine. But for the ATP and the WTA, we need to evolve. And I think bringing coaching into those events is important.
I think they can go further and do it more. I think as an industry, a coaching industry in tennis, it's important that we do evolve and do this. I'm really for it. I think the WTA is doing a good thing. Even today, you know, if I was allowed to coach today, you'd be surprised how little coaching the coaches will do if they're allowed to do it.
The reason why probably a lot of it goes on at the moment is because you're not allowed to do it, so you're trying to get the sneaky coaching message across. But if you were allowed to do it, it's a simple one line: Hey, Simona, hold your line.
OK, that's coaching. But it's not over-the-top coaching." Former world No. 1 Mats Wilander, a commentator for Eurosport, said , It's kind of happening anyway. We saw the case with Serena and Patrick Mouratoglou which put the issue at the forefront.
For me it's fine to have [coaching] from the sideline, as long as it doesn't become too loud and verbal across the whole court, but it's not as the other player hears it. What with the different languages spoken, the only problem is that you can't control it from the sidelines.
To me it's a great call by the WTA." Cahill thinks the new rule might actually produce some unexpected results. The WTA also confirmed that on-court coaching, which was introduced by the WTA in 2008, will continue to remain on the tour