Stephens backs on-court coaching rule change

Former US Open champion, Sloane Stephens. Net photo.

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens has thrown her support behind a push for on-court coaching to be allowed at Grand Slams.

Patrick Mouratoglou, the coach of Serena Williams, has called for a rule change with on-court coaching currently banned in Grand Slams but allowed in WTA events.

The Frenchman was at the centre of a firestorm after he was spotted making signals from the player’s box during September’s controversial US Open final between Williams and Naomi Osaka.

Mouratoglou later owned up to the gesture but Williams insisted that she had not seen the signal.

“Coaching is a vital component of any sporting performance. Yet banning it almost makes it look as if it had to be hidden or as if it was shameful,” he wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday.

“Authorising coaching in competition and actually staging it so that the viewers can enjoy it as a show would ensure that it remains pivotal in the sport.”

Sloane, who is in Singapore for the season ending eight-player WTA Finals, echoed Mouratoglou’s sentiments.

Sloane said on-court coaching created a connection between players and fans.

The 25-year-old will make her WTA Finals debut on Monday against Osaka in a battle between the past two US Open champions.

Agencies

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