Vastavam web: On-court coaching in tennis is a reality which the game’s stakeholders need to accept and embrace the change in near future, advocates Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson, The historic US Open title win for Japan’s Naomi Osaka was overshadowed by the code-violation penalty handed to Serena Williams for receiving guidance from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou in the summit clash. There were accusations of sexism even as Wimbledon Chairman Philip Brook said they were open to discussion on the issue.
The Grand Slams and the ATP do not allow on-court coaching even as WTA allows the coaches to converse with the players once per set. “Every one knows coaching does happen but it is difficult to say if a line has been crossed. In my opinion, it should be allowed in structural sense. I don’t know what is best way, we need to discuss that but I would be in favour of that (on-court coaching),” the South African star made it clear where he stood on the issue.
Anderson, who spoke about a host of issues also lamented that International Tennis Federation (ITF) did not “collaborate” enough with the players before bringing in drastic changes in the Davis Cup format.
The ITF at its recent AGM approved changes in the format, introducing one-week Davis Cup Finals instead of home and away format. The world number six was critical of the way ITF introduced changes but was supportive of the ATP Cup, another team event, being launched at the same time. “It’s better than the last year which is a positive but it is also something which is out of players’ hands as we do not have any say in what they do.”
The ATP Cup set to roll in January 2020, will be held six weeks after the inaugural Davis Cup finals, prompting world number one Novak Djokovic to say that the short period between the two tournaments may result in two average events coming up. Anderson, who beat Roger Federer en route the Wimbledon final, was also supportive of the new structure being introduced which will allow only 750 ranked players on the Pro circuit. “We have to keep developing and promoting the game, make it attractive and player friendly. It’s never going to be ideal for everybody but we try to make the best decisions all the time. All those changes will have a positive effects on the game,” Anderson, who is part of the ATP’s Players Council, said.
“In my opinion, it is good for ATP’s image to have a cut-off, where people who are ranked much higher. Like PGA, there are 750 players how have Tour cards, you earn your spot there. Anyone knows if you have a card what level they are in rest of the world. With ATP introducing this new system, it is very positive,” he asserted. Anderson said the 2018 season turned to be great for him as he ticked a few boxes like making the London year-end tournament, winning more than one tournament, winning an ATP 500, and to top it all making it to the hallowed Centre Court on SW19. He felt that though the Grand Slams are being taken by the old group (Federer, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal), the 2019 season may see a new face laying his claim on one of the trophies.
“It is going to be interesting because Novak has re-established himself at the top of the game, Rafa (Rafael Nadal) is coming back from the injuries, if he is healthy he will be a contender at every tournament he plays. “Roger is always tough (to beat). Guys like Andy Murray and (Stan) Wawrinka are also coming back, so that is going to be tough competition,” Anderson said.