July 25, 2008 / 12:06 AM / 11 years ago

WTA suspends on-court coaching experiment

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The WTA Tour has indefinitely suspended its two-year experiment with on-court coaching.

“It’s been suspended. The Tour will evaluate the results of the testing period and make a decision as to whether to adopt on-court coaching or not,” WTA spokesman Andrew Walker said. “A specific timeframe for this decision has not been set.”

The WTA Player Council attempted at this year’s Wimbledon to organize a vote on the experiment but the players were divided in their opinions.

“I’m for it but they wanted more opinions,” Player Council representative Patty Schnyder told Reuters at the Los Angles Classic. “The results weren’t convincing enough and some of the younger players don’t know what they want, so we need more time to see how they feel.”

The controversial initiative, which was never tried out at the grand slam tournaments, provoked strong reactions from the players.

Some think that as an individual sport which encourages players to think for themselves tennis should never allow coaches on court to give advice.

Others believe it would add entertainment value to the game as it would make coaches more visible to fans when they are called on court in between sets.

MIXED FEELINGS

Experienced Russian Nadia Petrova has mixed feelings.

“It’s a little distracting when you have coaches walking on court and most of them are parents, that’s what I didn’t like about it,” Petrova said.

“On the other hand it worked perfectly for me. I just started working with my coach and he would come on court and give me advice. But now that it’s over it’s fine. Many players just use as a safeguard because they don’t know what to do so their coach tells them. You have to use their head in matches.”

Switzerland’s Schnyder does not believe coaches can decide matches tactically but thinks they can have an important emotional influence.

“If the person supports is making you feel better and it helps the game’s appeal overall, it’s better,” said Schnyder, who is coached by her husband Rainer Hoffman.

The Player Council will re-visit the issue at the tour championships in Doha in November.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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