Sloane Stephens Backs On-Court Coaching Rule Change - UBITENNIS
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Sloane Stephens Backs On-Court Coaching Rule Change

Speaking with reporters at the WTA Finals, the world No.8 talked about the pros and cons concerning the issue.

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Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens believes adjustments should be made to rules regarding on-court coaching after saying ‘a lot of coaching’ already occurs from the stands.

 

Earlier in the week Patrick Mouratoglou, who is the mentor of Serena Williams, released a comprehensive statement calling for the practice to be implemented at grand slams. On-Court coaching has been used on the WTA Tour since 2009, but is prohibited on both the men’s tour and at all four major tournaments. During the US Open Williams engaged in a heated argument with umpire Carlos Ramos after being issued with a warning for coaching.

“Coaching is a vital component of any sporting performance. Yet, banning it almost makes it looks as if it has to be hidden, or as if it was shameful.” Mouratoglou wrote.
“Authorizing coaching and actually staging it so that the viewers can enjoy it as a show would ensure that it remains pivotal in the sport.”

Weighing in on the debate, 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens has supported the motion to change the rules. Looking at both the pros and cons of the argument, the world No.8. agrees the many players already violate the current policy regarding coaching.

“I think on-court coaching is good. Obviously it can change a match. For one player it can be really, really great, and at the same time you could come on the court with your coach and could lose eight games in a row.” Stephens told reporters in Singapore on Saturday.
“I think that a lot of coaching does happen from the stands, anyway. Whether it’s right, wrong, whatever, I think that coaching is a big part of tennis, and you’re out there alone.
“I think that I can’t say definitely there should be or should not be, but I think there needs to be a little bit of a change to the rule, definitely.”

Stephens, who will make her debut at the WTA Finals, believes the practice enables fans to form a more ‘personal’ connection with the match. Where they can get an insight into the relationships between players and coaches. Although it may not be a completely accurate portrayal.

“I think the on-court coaching brings in that aspect of you feel like you’re more involved like with the player and coach, and I think that’s kind of like makes it more like a personal type of thing. I guess it’s cool in a way.” She said.
“But then there is also you don’t really know what the other half of it is, because 90% of it is you can’t say it because you can’t cuss on TV and all this stuff.”

Organisers of the grand slams have previously said that they will look into the rules regarding coaching. However, they are yet to commit to introducing on-court coaching. As it currently stands, the US Open is the only major to allow coaching from the stands. Although this is only applied to the juniors tournaments and qualifying rounds.

RELATED: Players Speak Out On Calls For On-Court Coaching At Grand Slams

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Roberto Bautista Agut overcomes Dominik Koepfer in three sets in Hamburg

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Nine-time ATP Tour champion Roberto Bautista Agut came back from a break down in the third set to beat last week’s Rome quarter finalist Dominik Koepfer 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes at the European Open in Hamburg. The nine-time ATP Tour winner converted on 7 of his 17 break points.  

 

Koepfer, who was the only player to win a set against Novak Djokovic last week in Rome, got an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take the first set 6-3. 

Koepfer earned an early break to open up a 3-1 lead in the second set. Five consecutive breaks followed, before Koepfer sealed the second set with an unreturned serve after saving two break points in the 10th game. 

Koepfer came back from 0-2 down in the third set by winning three consecutive games to take a break lead at 3-2. Bautista Agut won four consective games with a double break in the sixth and eighth games to win the third set at 6-3. 

Bautista Agut set up a quarter final against last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev, who overcame Tommy Paul 6-1 3-6 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Spaniard leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against his younger Russian rival.

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Aryna Sabalenka comes back from one set down to beat Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg

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World number 12 and this year’s Doha champion Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to edge past Anna Blinkova 1-6 6-4 6-2 reaching the quarter final at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

 

Sabalenka qualified for the quarter final in Adelaide and Dubai in 2020, but she scored just three wins across the US tournaments in Lexington, the Western and Southern Open and at the US Open. 

Blinkova came through the qualifying round in Rome, where she beat Jil Teichmann and Aliona Bolsova before losing to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova in the Round of 16. 

Blinkova went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Sabalenka held serve at love in the fifth game to win her first game. Blinkova served out the first set 6-1 with her third break. 

Sabalenka got her first break at the start of the second set to take a 1-0 lead. Blinkova broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, when Sabalenka got a crucial break to take a 4-3 lead after a marathon game that went to three deuces. Sabalenka held her next two service games to take the second set 6-4. 

Sabalenka earned an early break in the third game to open up a 3-1 lead. She broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 at deuce and served out the win on her second match point. Sabalenka hit 27 winners to 32 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka set up a quarter final match against Katerina Siniakova, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-4. Siniakova broke twice to take a 5-1 lead. Alexandrova pulled the break back at love in the seventh game, but Alexandrova came back from 15-30 to break serve in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game when Siniakova converted her third break point at deuce to close out the match. 

Former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the quarter final after Kiki Bertens was forced to retire due to an Achilles tendon injury from the match at 2-6 6-4 4-2. Ostapenko will face Japan’s Nao Hibino, who beat Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Daniel Evans to reach the second round in Hamburg

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Last year’s ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised past Daniel Evans 6-3 6-1 in 59 minutes to set up a second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. 

 

Tsitsipas forced a forehand error from Evans to get a break for 3-1 and sealed the first set at love with a forehand volley winner. 

The Greek player broke serve in the third game of the second set with a forehand return and a a foehand approach. Tsitsipas broke three times in a row to win the second set 6-1. 

Tsitsipas hit 17 of his 24 winners off the forehand wing and won 14 of his points at the net. 

“It’s very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I have missed playing on clay. It helps for my confidence. I have watched this tournament on TV since I was very young and I am delighted to have gotten off to a strong start”, said Tsitsipas. 

Chile’s Christian Garin beat German wild card Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to become the first player to reach the quarter final in Hamburg. Garin broke twice in a row in the sixth and eighth to win the first set 6-2. 

The South American player went up a break at deuce to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Yanfmann converted his third break-back point in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. The German player earned another break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead earning a chance to serve for the set. Garin broke straight back sending the second set to the tie-break. Hanfmann took a 3-1 lead, but Garin reeled off six consecutive points to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Benoit Paire withdrew from his first round match against Casper Ruud as he was a set and a break down at 4-6 0-2. The Frenchman revealed after the match that he has tested positive for the coronavirus twice since arriving at the tournament. Paire claimed that he had been told the rule in Germany is different to that in Paris, where positive players have been withdrawn from the French Open qualifying round due to covid-19. 

“The only negative test was yesterday but I was positive in two consecutive tests. The ATP has to explain to me what the rule is. In Paris some are negative, but because the coach is positive they can’t play. Here in Germany you are positive and can play”, said Paire.  

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