LONDON | After the Wimbledon tournament, coaches can advise their players during matches. This new ATP policy, on trial until the end of the 2022 season, doesn’t suit everyone.
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Among the unfortunate is Canadian Denis Shapovalov. He thinks we’re distorting the sport. Not less.
“I am against this new rule,” the Ontarian said on the subject. Traditionally, tennis is the only sport where coaches have not been allowed to advise their athletes during a match.
“That sets us apart from other sports. There is something very special about seeing two players compete against each other. All preparation work was done before the game. It’s up to you to make the strategic decisions.
“It changes the tradition and I want to keep it. That’s what makes tennis so special. »
Find solutions yourself
For his part, Félix Auger-Aliassime sees it positively.
“I think it’s good that a coach talks to his player when he’s on his side,” said the Quebecer. However, if the coach could have jumped onto the field when changing sides, I wouldn’t have liked that as much.
“It would have taken the spirit out of the tennis player a bit. It’s an individual sport. You have to find solutions on your own. »
characters and keywords
Several coaches and players had circumvented the rules for years. All means were good to have an advantage over opponents and win matches.
The trainers used cues and keywords in their encouragement to convey their messages to their protégés.
“With Fred [Fontang]”We do little signs sometimes,” Auger-Aliassime said. We call ourselves keywords that can help us.
“These are memories of what we talked about in training. Things not to forget or try. Like hitting each other with the forehand or backhand. I may also change my position in exchange for the serve. It was pretty bad.
“The only thing that will change is that it will no longer be hidden. Glad they’re making it official. It eliminates that gray area where referees could issue warnings. »
It will be interesting to see how coaches and players adapt to this new reality in the coming weeks, especially at the US Open. Could the games be even longer?
“I can’t wait to see how it goes,” Shapovalov added. Many players sign or use scrambled language with their coaches.
“It happens often and it will continue to happen here. It’s unsportsmanlike. I’m happy when the cross-border commuters are called to order by the officials. It’s a matter of respect between players. »
Everyone their own advice
Will this rule change affect the preparation of Auger-Aliassime games? No way.
“My coach will be less embarrassed. On the other hand, sometimes we don’t talk much in training. He lets me go, he lets me try things, the Quebecer mentioned.
“He tries to develop this autonomy for me so that I can find solutions on my own during the games. Nothing changes in my routine. »
During the games, the player does not have a specific person to talk to.
“Even Bernard [Duchesneau, son agent] can give me advice during games,” Auger-Aliassime said jokingly.
The two Canadians will be on duty at Wimbledon on Tuesday morning, Quebec time.
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