L’ATP autorise le coaching depuis les tribunes à partir du 11 juillet

It had been in the air for a while now. At Roland-Garros, a few weeks ago, they were even a few wise to plan such a measure. It is now official: from July 11, the day after Wimbledon, coaching at ATP tournaments will be authorized. No more quiet gestures, words spoken fissa when changing sides or mimes out of the corner of the eye, all of this will now be regulated and consented to under certain conditions.

The news, of course, will not fail to cause debate in the caravan. But, she is following, for once, the movement already initiated by the WTA, the patron body of the women’s circuit, which opened coaching assistance two years ago, influenced in particular by the incident in the final of the US Open 2018 between Serena Williams and referee Carlos Ramos. This use of coaching on the men’s circuit had also already been tested in the past on NextGen meetings, among other innovative measures.

Verbal coaching limited to a few words

Still, the ATP borders the field and gives itself until the end of the season, Turin Masters included, before precisely assessing the benefits and harms of such a measure. First, the coaches will not be able to enter the court and exchange, as in the Davis Cup for example, with their player. But they will be able to give some advice during the match from a place in the stands that will be specifically assigned to them. They will thus be able to communicate the instructions, verb or gesture, without risking the “warning”. Good news for the Tsitsipas clan in particular, often penalized for “wild” coaching.

But this “tactical” assistance will be scrupulously supervised. Thus, verbal coaching will only be allowed when the player is on the side of the coach; it should be limited to a few words, short sentences, and not interrupt the game or disturb the opponent. Non-verbal coaching (gestures) will be allowed regardless of which side the player is on, but always with respect for the game and the opponent. Similarly, the coach will not be able to exchange with his player when the latter, for various reasons (bathroom break for example), has to leave the court.

The ATP, which has planned to set up a system of warnings and fines in the event of abuse, is well aware of engaging here on sensitive ground. But the experience in situ, as part of a Grand Slam, at the next US Open, should already provide him with valuable clues.

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