Posted: February 16th, 2022
ARE TENNIS PLAYERS ON THEIR OWN ON THE COURT
Tennis is a racket sport in which either two or four players strike a hollow rubber ball over a net with rackets. As mentioned, it can be played by two players individually, better referred to as singles, or by four players, two teams of two players- doubles. Interestingly, historically the ball was struck by the palm, hence the name of the game of the palm. During the 16th century, rackets came into use and replaced palm, and the game earned the name tennis. Tennis is both an indoor and outdoor sport.
Tennis is one of the most respected and challenging sports in the world, which is played on various court surfaces like grass courts, hard courts, artificial grass courts, and clay courts. There is specifically approved tennis attire, including sun protection like hats with visors. It is an individual game; tennis is regarded as an individual sport, especially at the professional level, as it always involves two players- singles. When a particular player loses, they are the only ones affected as they play for themselves. Mental fitness is prized just like physical fitness.
Like other sports, tennis players have coaches who are responsible for pushing the players in the right direction and contributing to them winning in matches. But how far does a coach go during a game?
The role of a tennis coach
Coaches in tennis play a significant role both at the professional and the beginner’s level. They should be energetic and passionate about the sport.
Tennis coaches help their players prepare for matches, but during a warm-up, game, or match, the players compete against each other without the help of anyone. The players have to be tactical and find a way to beat their opponent. Coaching is considered any communication, advice, or instruction of any kind by any means to a player in an attempt to help a tennis player. No communication is allowed, whether verbal or visual signs between the players and the coaches. Is the no coaching rule always observed? Some argue that if you listen keenly, you will hear coaching during matches, especially during open games through the crowd’s chattering.
Famous tennis players like Serena Williams and Stefanos Tsitsipas have received coaching. Serena Williams received hers after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was being recorded, making a gesture to help her during the match. Serena denied the racket violation’s offense and verbally insulted the chair umpire, costing her a game; Serena called him a thief. Serena Williams was given a three-code violation got fined. Later in an interview, the coach confessed to having committed the breach and added that other coaches do the same.
The no-couching rule in tennis, among other factors, makes the sport exciting and unique. It is important to note that communication that falls under encouragement is allowed. But the question is, where do you draw the line between coaching and motivation? The interpretation is usually up to the match umpire’s performance, which can sometimes get overlooked. Clapping or raising a fist can be interpreted as communication involving coded gestures. There is so much a coach can convey in a small snippet of gesture, for example, being more aggressive with a hand motion pointing towards a particular direction. In other sports like football and boxing, the coach can keep contact with the players while the game is on.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the no coaching rule?
Since the onset of Corona Virus, are the existing Covid-19 guidelines, there are fewer spectators buying tickets to watch the match live, hence less chatter with the players. Therefore, it is much harder to communicate, and the players have to rely on themselves.
Masks hide the moving lips and make it impossible to locate who is communicating. Coaches’ attempts to communicate with their mask on resulted in penalties to both players. Should the coach take responsibility for their actions and be penalized instead? Since the player is responsible for their coach, they take responsibility for the coach’s actions.
Nonetheless, coaches should not be expected to sit still in their seats. Coaches should be expected to be actively involved in the game while only giving encouragement, which could sound like, ” Great serve, keep going.”
Have you wondered why coaching is not allowed during the match? Here are the reasons,
What happens during bathroom breaks?
During bathroom breaks, which are essential as they help the players collect their thoughts in private, the players are usually accompanied by a line judge to avoid external interference, which includes coaching. Players are limited to one bathroom break per match, which lasts approximately three minutes, with only two minutes to change their clothing.
The exception to the no coaching rule
There is an exception to this rule.
Rain delays- in the event of substantial rain that causes the match to get suspended, tennis players leave the court and can see and speak with their coach—rain delays that might last a couple of minutes to hours. Over the years, rain delays have benefited one player over another.
Women’s games- Lately, women’s games and tournaments have been exempted from this rule. Tennis coaches can come to the court at the end of a set and during switchovers to offer support and advice. Allowing coaching in women’s games is a break of tradition and has sparked different reactions. In Grand slams, however, no coaching rule is observed.
When a player does not follow the tennis code of conduct, the umpire first issues them with a warning. If this escalates, they receive either a point penalty or a suspension point. If they continue violating the rule, they get disqualified.
Other violations committed over the years during the tennis games by players and coaches are as follows.
if judged severely.
Most tennis players only take one warning before they change their violations, but there are always incidents where the player carelessly commits them even when they are fully aware of the consequences. Avoiding these violations may protect a player from fines that are given by their tours.
Tennis players talking to each other during a tennis match
The players can talk to each other during a game or match but with exceptions.
The rules of modern tennis keep changing, and maybe one day this rule too will change, and coaching will be allowed during a match. Coaching during a game may help a player figure out challenges during a tough match and significantly affect the outcome. Allowing coaching would change the competition seriously. The no coaching violation promotes fairness, integrity, and honor.
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