Wimbledon could be willing to rethink its approach to on-court coaching, says chairman Philip Brook.
Serena Williams was give a code violation for coaching during the US Open final, which led to accusations of sexism over how players are punished.
Brook, who was in New York for the final, said the time had come for “an adult conversation” about the issue.
“What we would like to learn from those who have conducted trials is, ‘Persuade us why it is a good idea’,” he said.
“The situation is very confusing for everybody.
“Wimbledon and others think the time has come for an adult conversation across the sport to see where it goes.”
On-court coaching is allowed at WTA Tour-level events, but not at Grand Slams, while the US Open allowed players to talk to their coaches during qualifying and junior matches.
Chief executive Richard Lewis told ESPN in November that Wimbledon was “philosophically against” allowing coaching at Slams.
Brook said tennis could do a better job of “coming together and trying to act in the best interests” of the sport.
“We [Wimbledon] are not necessarily the easiest of people to deal with,” Brook said.
“People might say, ‘Shall we all vote for coaching, it’s good for the sport’. We will say no, but if the rest of the sport say we want to do it and there are good reasons, then maybe Wimbledon should fit in.”
What are the rules?
The incident with Williams at Flushing Meadows raised debate on the consistency of the coaching rules, which state:
- Players can not receive coaching during a Grand Slam match (including the warm-up). Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching.
- On-court coaching is allowed by the WTA at its Tour-level events.
- Coaching from the stands is allowed in the US Open qualifying rounds between points.
Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said after the US Open that he was trying to send signals to her, but the player said she “did not understand” her coach’s claims.
The 34-year-old called umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” after she was docked a game following two further violations.
Williams was attempting to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, and Brook said the pressure on her was “greater than ever”.
“People said to me, ‘Would that happen at Wimbledon’? My first reaction is maybe it could, but actually I do wonder whether [it was] the uniqueness of the circumstances in New York,” he added.
“I think she was under a lot of pressure, I think Ramos was doing his job and what unfolded, unfolded. It was not a good look for tennis.”
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