Re: Venus & the challenge system
Kinda dumb to place yourself above on-court coaching, no matter how good a player you are and no matter how you feel about the issue (lots of players hate the WTA bathroom break rules and some even hate getting treatment for "loss of conditioning" problems during the match). If you fail to designate a coach, then you're failing to at least avail yourself of a potential asset. It's like having an open-book exam, but not carrying the book with you to the exam because you don't believe in it - you never know when you just might need it! And if your opponent designates a coach, then you've put yourself at a potential disadvantage. I saw the Li Na match at IW (I forget whether she was playing Hantuchova or Kuznetsova, but I think it was Dani) - the opponent got coaching and you could see that it helped her win the match. Li Na didn't designate a coach before the match, so she couldn't even change her mind and get coaching. Even if you don't believe in on-court coaching for philosophical reasons (I don't believe in it), at least it has the potential deterrent effect on your opponent if she wants to abuse the bathroom break rule or feign a need for treatment as a tactic to show down the match - you lose that deterrent effect when your opponent knows you haven't designated a coach. You just never know what will happen during a tennis match - at least keep your options open and try it once or twice just to see how it works for you - Hingis and other players who have stated that they don't believe in on-court coaching have done just that. I can understand some players who have a parent-coach might not want to hear what that parent has to say (especially if they're losing the match), but from a common sense point of view, "see a penny, pick it up".