Tennis

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Serena Williams' coach reopens the on-court coaching debate ahead of Australian Open

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Serena Williams' coach thinks that despite his action at the US-Open that led to an argument between his player and the umpire, on-court coaching 'will go 99% unchecked.'

Patrick Mouratoglou was caught giving hand signals to Williams during her match with Japan's Naomi Osaka last year at the US Open.

Umpire Carlos Ramos spotted the signals being given and despite Williams denying that she had seen them, gave the American player a code violation.

Following the match, the 23-time Grand Slam champion accused the referee of sexism and suggested the interpretation of the rule had been overly strict.

In an attempt to reinforce the rule, the Australian Open has allowed on-court coaching through qualifying but made it clear that it is banned during the tournament.

During an interview this week, however, Mouratoglou claimed that the practice will likely still go on during the first grand slam of 2019 unpunished.

"As you know, 99 percent of the matches it's tolerated," Mouratoglou said per the Daily Mail.

"It's something that people don't even think about it, just do it every match. And it doesn't make any problem."

2019 Australian Open - Previews

"If it becomes really, really obvious, (umpires) will call the player or tell her: 'The coach is really coaching too much, can you ask him to slow down otherwise I will have to give you a warning.'

When asked about whether he thought it was a good idea to legalise it, the Frenchman said: "I feel that a lot of people would like on-court coaching, most of the players would like it also, because they like to exchange with their coach and they feel it would add (something) during the match."

Ironically, Williams and Mouratoglou have decided not to use any on-court coaching from now on even at the events where it is permitted.

2019 Australian Open - Previews

"I think her number one quality is to be the best competitor ever, and I don't want to think that suddenly she needs someone to be a better competitor. That would make her weaker."

"So for me, it doesn't make sense for someone like her."

Williams will face 71st ranked Tatjana Maria in the first round of the Australian Open next week having missed last year's tournament on maternity leave.

Topics:
Australian Open
Serena Williams
Tennis

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