Amelie opposes on-court coaches
From Barry Wood in Stuttgart
October 03, 2006 ALLOWING coaches on court during a match is a step too far in trying to make tennis more interesting for spectators, said women's world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo overnight.
"I think the basic thing about tennis is to really solve the problem by yourself on the court – the tactic part, the mental part," said the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion.
During the recent American hardcourt season, players were allowed to summon their coaches on court for consultations once a set as well as during set breaks.
The rules have been refined for three European indoor events, beginning here this week and continuing in Zurich and Linz.
The most significant change is that players will no longer be able to call their coach during the middle of a set, but only at set breaks and when the opposing player takes a medical or bathroom break, but Mauresmo still dislikes the idea.
"It's a huge difference when you have somebody come on," the Frenchwoman told Reuters here, where she had a first-round bye.
"I think you have to figure out by yourself what you have to do, what you're supposed to do, the best way to get out of the match, and I think the sense of tennis itself will change if you allow coaching."
Both the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the men's Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) have been looking at ways to make their sport more entertaining for spectators and television viewers.
The ATP will next year introduce a round-robin format in the early rounds of some events, to ensure that marquee players make more than one appearance, but Mauresmo said such a scheme would go against calls by players for their workload to be cut.
"The round-robin we already tried at the WTA championships," said Mauresmo. "But the ones who would go through to the end, let's say the top 10 players, would maybe play more matches while we are trying to reduce the number of matches we play."
Mauresmo said she appreciates that changes are needed in a competitive world.
"I think everybody is saying, especially from the TV point of view, that they want to make tennis more entertaining, because obviously there are a lot of things to watch on TV and they want to make sure that people want to watch tennis," she said.
"I think it's good to experience it before it gets into the rules."
Other innovations are working well, she said, including the new right of players to challenge a limited number of line calls.
"I think it's working very well," said Mauresmo.
"There have been some great things for the crowd to get into the matches."