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Mag By Craig Gabriel

SUGGESTED PUNISHMENT FOR ILLEGAL COACHING
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SUGGESTED PUNISHMENT FOR ILLEGAL COACHING

So many aspects raised ugly heads in the aftermath of the US Open women’s final between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams. There was the inaccurate accusation of sexism. There was the apparent facet of inconsistent officiating which could have some merit. There was the point of getting away with “illegal” coaching.

I want to look at the latter, the point about coaching. Serena Williams was warned for coaching. She pleaded with building emotions that she was not being coached and she never accepts coaching. I can’t disagree with that. Venus and Serena Williams are rare in women’s tennis in that I have never ever known them to ask for on-court coaching that is allowed on the regular women’s tour.

But the fact is, whether she accepted the coaching that was happening from the stands or whether she did not see anything, there was coaching happening and because that was witnessed by the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, he was obligated to hand out a warning. The buck stops with the player. They are responsible. And because it was a second warning, she was penalised a point. Had it been a first warning, there would have been no penalty point.

“I don't use on-court coaching. I understand they're using it in qualifying here. They tried it out in qualifying here. Would I use it? I don't know,” Miss Williams said. “One thing I love about tennis is being out there. It's the one time I don't want to hear anyone tell me anything. You have to figure out. You have to problem-solve.

“Honestly, I feel like it's helped me out a lot in my life. A lot of things I go through in my life personally, and also in business, you have to be able to problem-solve.

“One thing about tennis, I feel like sometimes when I'm out there, I have a split second, nanosecond, to make a decision that could change the whole match and the whole tournament. I've really applied that into a lot of things in my life. I know it sounds weird, but it's my moment of peace when I'm out on the court where I don't hear anyone, I don't need it, I just try to problem-solve on myself.

“I don't know if I would use it if it was brought out in the future. I don't currently use it, so I don't know.”

I totally agree with her in that on court you have to figure it out, you have to show your capabilities instead of looking for a crutch. Tennis is an individual sport. Show your ability not someone else’s. I hate the fact that the women’s tour has on-court coaching.

The fact is her coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted to the coaching. He used a pathetic excuse that he did it because others do it. That does not fly. That does not make it right. Yes, we know it happens; Toni Nadal was frequently caught with signals to Rafa Nadal. Even Roger Federer has pointed the finger at Toni Nadal.

She texted Mouratoglou to know what he was talking about. Serena said: “We don't have signals. We have never discussed signals. I don't even call for on-court coaching. I'm trying to figure out why he would say that. I don't understand -- I mean, maybe he said, ‘You can do it’. I was on the far other end, so I'm not sure. I want to clarify myself what he's talking about.”

The fact that Mouratoglou has admitted coaching is disrespectful to the sport. A question to Mouratoglou: If someone pilfers an item from a shop and gets away with it and you try it but get caught, would you use the excuse oh but others do it? It is the same thing.

Here is a suggestion that could start to deter illegal coaching. If a coach or whoever in a player box is caught coaching, not only does the player get a warning but that person in the player box must have to leave the court for the rest of the match. It may not stamp it out completely but it certainly will go someway to reducing the practice.