Roger Federer has thrown his considerable weight against proposed changes to tennis rules after the US Open announced its intention to make coaching legal.
The issue of coaching became a hot topic for debate after Serena Williams was given a code violation for getting help from the stands during last year’s US Open final, with Naomi Osaka’s first Grand Slam victory overshadowed by the extreme reaction that call elicited in the all-time great.
It’s an issue that polarises players and tennis pundits, with former British No.1 Tim Henman leading the backlash in the lead-up to Wimbledon, describing the possibility of bringing coaching into the game as the “slow creep” of a regrettable idea, with juniors already exposed to the change.
“I have spoken to 30 past players about the use of coaches during matches and none of them support it,” he told Britain’s The Sunday Telegraph.
“One thing that alarms me is the changes at junior level,” Henman added.
“To me, that is the tail wagging the dog. The ITF should be the custodians of the game but they are ingraining bad habits in these kids before they have even made it to tour level. It ought to be up to the player to problem solve during a match.
“One of tennis’ most important points of difference is that it is a one-to-one, gladiatorial sport.”
Preparing for Wimbledon at German grass court tournament Halle, Federer dispatched Aussie John Millman in the first round and was asked in his post-match press conference what he thought of the prospect of tennis bringing in coaching.