press release Friday the WTA announced that it will “experiment” with on-court coaching at upcoming summer stops in Montreal and New Haven, meaning coaches will be allowed to come on court during matches to help their players. "> press release Friday the WTA announced that it will “experiment” with on-court coaching at upcoming summer stops in Montreal and New Haven, meaning coaches will be allowed to come on court during matches to help their players. ">
Coaching to the Rescue?
by Sean Randall | July 17th, 2006, 10:11 pm

You know women’s tennis is in trouble when the WTA dips into their un-original bag of ideas to better the game, only to pull out the on-court coaching card.

In a press release Friday the WTA announced that it will “experiment” with on-court coaching at upcoming summer stops in Montreal and New Haven, meaning coaches will be allowed to come on court during matches to help their players.

The release went on to claim that the “historic” test will “add to the entertainment value and intrigue to viewers of women’s professional tennis.”

Wow. You mean the WTA matches are not enough of an entertainment value, you guys need to add the coaches into the mix? Just great. Can’t wait to see even more of Yuri Sharapov and his mangy phone hat on my TV. Talk about a sure-fire way to add entertainment value! And nothing says excitement more to me than seeing Carlos Rodriguez sitting courtside. Why not just bring the agents down, mom and dad, too. We all know there are few whack jobs and degenerates in that group, as well.ADHEREL

WTA CEO Larry Scott added his own spin: “As we seek to strike a balance between our core traditional strengths as a sport and the desire to increase the accessibility of our athletes to fans, we will continue to experiment with cutting-edge ideas. On-court coaching is a concept that has both our broadcasters and players excited, and we are looking forward to reviewing the results of this test.”

Cutting edge? Wasn’t this cutting-edge test carried out at the ATP several years ago while Scott was still there in office? Doesn’t Scott remember how that worked out? Apparently not. Watching Raul Viver consult with Ramon Delgado during a changeover didn’t exactly translate into must-see-TV (yes, I watched a lot of tennis back then and don’t you forget it).

Give me a break.

I get that the WTA is looking to spice up the game. They have to. What with the Wimbledon women’s final losing nearly half (41%) of its U.S. TV audience from last year despite having a compelling final match-up. (Even without an American the men’s final actually improved its rating by 19%. Take that equal prize money supporters.)

Unfortunately for the WTA, pin-up gal Maria Sharapova can’t seem to reach another major final, wanna-be pin-up gal Nicole Vaidisova has yet to reach a Slam final, the Williams sisters are dust in the wind, the Russians outside of Maria aren’t quite Madison Avenue material and Martina Hingis is too busy locking lips with Radek Stepanek. So the WTA is left with Justine Henin, Amelie Mauresmo and Kim Clijsters carrying the load at the end of Grand Slams. Nice girls they are but not very engaging.

So instead of spending time and money on crappy “groundbreaking” PR gimmicks like coaching, replay, etc., how about the WTA addressing things like injuries, shortening the season and above all promoting individual players like Mauresmo and Henin who are in the middle of their own Federer/Nadal-type rivalry?

Last I checked Henin has been in the all three 2006 Slam finals, losing two to Mauresmo. That’s a rivalry. Promote that, especially right now leading up to the US Open because one of them if not both will be in the final. Plus, the fact they don’t like each makes it even better! What is the WTA waiting for? Slap up some posters with Henin and Mauresmo giving each other the finger and put them all around New York City. Or get the two of them in a room and get them talk smack at each other. Throw in Pierre Yves or whatever Justine’s husband’s name is. Stir up it for God sakes. Do something, anything other than waste time with experiments like on-court coaching which we all know isn’t going to become standard practice on the tour.

Tennis is a unique sport in that players are all alone on the court, with no one to turn to for help, for instruction or for advice on how to right the ship when the going gets tough. It’s what makes the sport what it is, and we as fans get to sit there and soak it all up, uninterrupted. Let’s keep it that way and focus on the bigger things.

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4 Comments for Coaching to the Rescue?

rjnick Says:

Where did you get the ratings figures for the Wimbledon final? I looked everywhere and couldn’t find them last week. I would have thought the men’s final improving even without Andy Roddick would have warranted some kind of story.

Franc Ten Says:

For men, it is women they want on the court. Nadalwomen such Mauresmo spoiled the women tennis game. For instance, in order to preserve her marvellous femininity, Kournikova had to leave the circuit. Yet, potentially, Kournikova is best than many of the nadalwomen in the circuit. But the very talented women much compete not against women, not in tennis contest, but against bodybuilding contesters. There were true champions like: Christ Evers, or Steffi Graf, or Monica Seles, Gabriella Sabatini, Mandlikova. We have still good champions such as Sharpova, and some other in lower rankings. And the worse would be if their surrounding transformed them in nadalwomen in order to make them win major titles. God give them femininity and good looking. I prefer them to play with their real assets and support them in defeat, which is the true victory of a woman, against a nadalwoman, than to see them becoming a nadalwoman and to win.
So, until a new era comes and allow genuine women champion to win, I wont watch women matches again, apart some matches play between genuine women.
And choaching won’t be an issue either. See Kournikova that still helps to sell tennis stuff better than many players still in the circuit. What men want, are genuine women. And many young women could dream again to embrace a tennis carer where they could feel that there is some hope for them. And the dream share by hundred of million women would lunch the tennis industry again. Now, the nadalwomen won everything at the expense of true champions, and at the expense of dreams that carry players of all level on the court, or even the spectators.
And the assumption that Martina Hingis is too busy locking lips with Radek Stepanek is not relevant. If Hingis, had not to deal with the nadalwomen, she probably would have already reached the final of a grand Slam. Why tennis women should not have right to have a relation with somebody? The fact is, they have. The fact is that the problem is not there. Nadalwomen have all rights.

Franc Ten

Ryan Says:

You are the smarmiest, most obnoxious writer, and I’m so tempted to stop coming to this site anymore. Why does the most commonplace of tennis news have to be accompanied by trash-talk and insults? Oh, that’s right, because this website is EXTREEEEEEEME. Give me a break.

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