The topic of whether or not coaching during play on the WTA and ATP tennis tours should be allowed has been highly debated over recent years.
The recent rules surrounding coaching during play have changed drastically and now allow some talking and hand gestures from coaches to players playing. However, this is deeply wrong. Coaching during play has no place on the tour, for a variety of reasons.
Preserving the integrity and history of the sport, protecting players, coaches, and fans as well as developing better and stronger players are all reasons that coaching has no place during competitive play.
To begin with, coaching during play has been prohibited since practically the
beginning of competitive tennis.
The history of the sport includes the no-coaching rules being a fundamental part of the sport. Historically the game has been considered a gentlemen's and ladies' sport of high etiquette and elegance. Not allowing coaching during play is a vital component of cherishing the history of tennis and maintaining its class.
Furthermore, it simply violates the integrity of tennis. No coaching during play means a fair and even playing field for all players. Some players can pay for coaches, analysis, and data while others can’t which can give an unfair advantage.
Also different languages mean others can not understand what is being said including umpires preventing them from maintaining respect and decorum on the court.
In addition, tennis is an individual sport unique to any other sport.
In no other sport is the player completely independent on the field. Coaching means that play is not entirely dependent on the player which takes away from the integrity and individuality of the sport by incorporating the coach.
Not to mention, it is also a hindrance. Talking and tactical interference by coaches can distract both/all players on the court making them lose focus. Coaching during play also reduces respect between players, the player box, and even fans.
Many players go to the press to complain about unfair coaching or express their frustrations on court. For example in the 2022 Australian Open semi-final between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Medvedev was incredibly upset over Tsitsipas’ father’s repeated coaching. "His father can talk every point? His father can talk every point! His father can talk every point?! Answer my question! Will you answer my question? Can you answer my question please?"
In addition, players become more mature, and independent and develop as better individuals and players on the court when thinking for themselves.
They develop their mental game as they are forced to find their own solutions tactically completely by themselves on the court. Another important factor is coaches have healthy boundaries and respect the space with their players if not communicate with them while they play.
By allowing the athlete to be their own person and player they actually develop better boundaries and respect which in turn affect the player's mental health much better. Too often have there been cases of toxic coaches ruining players' lives. The no coaching rule can help expel instances of that issue.
In conclusion, the no coaching rule has been an integral part of tennis for so long for many good reasons.
We can not allow coaching on the court during play in order to protect the integrity of the game, protect players and coaches alike, and keep tennis unique to all other sports. By allowing coaching during play we will see many issues arise and many people within the sport become unhappy.
Finally, we need to preserve tennis historically as an exemplary sport of class and prestige for future generations.