MELBOURNE - Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has urged global tennis to affirm its position on coaching during matches following a storm of controversy that erupted during the U.S. Open women's final.
Coaching from the players' box is banned during Grand Slam matches but Serena Williams was incensed when chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave her a code violation warning after her coach was seen making a hand gesture during her defeat to Naomi Osaka.
Some players and pundits have criticised the rule as being hard to police, spottily enforced and highly subjective, and called for the ban to be lifted. Williams was later docked a point for breaking a racquet and a game after calling Ramos a "thief" in separate incidents after the coaching violation. But Tiley declined to criticise the 23-times grand slam champion.
"It all centred around coaching," Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Monday. "The sport has to really get itself sorted out on what it does with coaching... Are we going to have coaching? Are we not going to have coaching? What is it going to look like? The sport needs to get together and sort it out. Once that's sorted out, we don't have the issue."
The Australian Open has marketed itself as the "Asia-Pacific" Grand Slam, and Tiley was excited by the effect Osaka's triumph might have in attracting Japanese fans to the tournament in January. Osaka became her country's first Grand Slam winner, while compatriot Kei Nishikori also performed strongly with a run to the men's semi-finals.
"We all see how the Japanese fans flock to see Kei Nishikori," said Tiley. "It's going to have a significant positive impact on our Open, on our fans."Reuters