From the second half of the season, the ATP will trail ‘off-court’ coaching at ATP Tour events, running from July through to the end of the season, including the U.S. Open.
Off-court coaching in tennis is a subject that divides opinions between those who are up or against it for different reasons.
As of today, ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, does not allow coaching of any kind during a match, but that could change in the future, following the introduction and respective conclusions that emerge from the trial period, starting from the week of July, 11th.
“The trial will be collectively evaluated at the end of the 2022 season to assess potential inclusion of off-court coaching in subsequent seasons,” the ATP outlined.
The first tournaments to apply the new regulations will be the Infosys Hall of Fame Open, an event part of the U.S. Open Series in Newport, Rhode Island, and the Nordea Open in Bastad, Sweden, both ATP 250 events, held during the same week (July 11-17).
The U.S. Open will be the only major of the season in which the trial will take place - staged from August 29th to September 11th in New York.
The season-ending event, the Nitto ATP Finals, contested at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy, from November 13th to the 20th, will bring the trial to an end, starting the evaluation process.
The Hologic WTA Tour, which governs women’s professional tennis, already has an off-court coaching trial in place.
Some players, men, and women have spoken, sharing their opinions about the controversial subject.
Greek player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, has been in the spotlight, being warned on different occasions for illegally receiving advice.
Last year, in a post he shared through social media, the player expressed his point of view, writing: “Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. The sport needs to embrace it.”
“We’re probably one of the only global sports that doesn’t use coaching during the play. Make it legal. It’s about time the sport takes a big step forward.”
According to the ATP, the trial seeks to enhance the fan experience, creating “additional points of intrigue and insight.”
It will allow coaching from designated coach seats during qualifying and main draw matches at ATP Tour events under a series of conditions.
Furthermore, those conditions have established that coaching (verbal and non-verbal) will only be allowed if it does not interrupt play or create any hindrance to the opponent.
Verbal coaching will be only permitted when the player is at the same end of the court, while non-verbal coaching (hand signals) will be allowed at any time.
Moreover, verbal coaching may consist of a few words and/or short phrases, as conversations are not authorized.
Coaches may not speak to their players when the player leaves the court for any reason.
Penalties and fines will still apply for abuse or misuse of the above coaching conditions.