World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas recently took to Twitter to express his disagreement with tennis' ban on on-court coaching during matches.
Tsitsipas was recently handed a code violation for on-court coaching, having apparently received instructions from his box during his quarterfinal loss to Filip Krajinovic in Hamburg. And this wasn't the first time Tsitsipas had been penalized for receiving on-court coaching.
The 22-year-old was involved in a similar incident in his quarterfinal encounter against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open earlier this year. The Greek youngster was warned after appearing to receive coaching from Patrick Mouratoglou, who also infamously relayed instructions to Serena Williams during the 2018 US Open final.
But in a tweet on Sunday, Stefanos Tsitsipas exhorted the tennis authorities to take a "big step forward" by embracing on-court coaching.
"Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. The sport needs to embrace it," Tsitsipas wrote. "We’re probably one of the only global sports that doesn’t use coaching during the play. Make it legal. It's about time the sport takes a big step forward."
Tsitsipas' tweet received a mixed response from the tennis community. While certain sections claimed top players would have an edge over their lower-ranked counterparts if on-court coaching was permitted, others pointed out that it would not make much of a difference.
Even though coaching in team sports like basketball and football is allowed, the practice has been forbidden in Grand Slam tennis as well as in ATP tournaments. The WTA introduced on-court coaching in 2008, allowing coaches to speak to their players once per set. The WTA even began a trial last year that allowed coaches to relay instructions to their players from the stands.
It is important to note, however, that the kind of coaching Stefanos Tsitsipas is calling for is different from that allowed by the WTA. Based on the Greek's comments, it appears as though he wants coaches to be given a license to relay instructions after each point over the course of the entire match.
"Vast majority of coaches are actually coaching on court, despite the rules" - Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas also pointed out that on-court coaching is prevalent in tennis despite a ban on the practice. The Greek suggested that most of the time players receive instructions from their coaches during a match without any sanctions.
"It is also a very basic truth that the vast majority of tennis coaches are actually coaching on court, despite the rules. Occasionally the players are punished for it, but for the most part they are not," Tsitsipas tweeted.
One of Tsitsipas' followers, a person named Owen, claimed that authorities needed to be stricter while implementing the rules rather than changing them entirely.
22-time doubles Grand Slam champion Pam Shriver was one of the few pundits who shared the Greek's sentiment. The American, who competed on the WTA tour between 1979-97, claimed the sport was "slow" when it came to changing its age-old practic.
"Our sport is slow to change & modernize. When I played most did not have a coach. Now everyone can have a full time coach(es). The rule is inconsistently enforced. WTA has allowed coaching for years. It’s time for ATP and Majors to allow coaching," Shriver wrote.