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Mauresmo wants Coaches off the court
STUTTGART (Reuters) - Allowing coaches on court during a match is a step too far in moves to make tennis more interesting for spectators, says women's world number one Amelie Mauresmo.
"I think the basic thing about tennis is to really solve the problem by yourself on the court -- the tactic part, the mental part," the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion said.
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 this week in Stuttgart 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 at the Stuttgart grand prix tournament, 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," Mauresmo said. "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. So we will probably have to wait and see."
Male players have broadly welcomed other ATP plans to revamp the sport, with tournaments starting on a Sunday instead of a Monday and best-of-five-set finals being reduced to best-of-three outside the grand slam events.
Mauresmo said she appreciated that changes were 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.
"With all these changes I think we have to wait and see how it goes. I think it's good to experience it before it gets into the rules. For example, we tried on-court coaching but I'm not for this."
Other innovations were working well, she said.
"The pre-match interviews we sometimes do now are okay. I think it's good. It doesn't make a big deal for us to have a couple of questions about basic things, like how you feel and the excitement about going on the court. I feel that's great and the public can see how we feel."
She also welcomed the new right of players to challenge a limited number of line calls. Under the system, which made its grand slam debut at the U.S. Open in August, players, officials and fans can all watch a video replay of the shot in question.
"I think it's working very well," said Mauresmo. "There have been some great things for the crowd to get into the matches."
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