WTA Tour to Allow Coaching from Stands Without Penalty During Trial Run in 2020

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Serena Williams of the United States argues with referee Brian Earley during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Women's Tennis Association will reportedly allow coaching from the stands during the 2020 calendar year.

According to Simon Cambers of ESPN, the WTA will start a trial period allowing as much at the Dubai Duty Free Championships and Hungarian Open in February. The rules will be in place during the remaining WTA Premier and International tournaments of the 2020 season as a trial run.  

The WTA released a statement to Cambers:

"The new trial will allow coaches to coach their player in the form they are currently coaching from the box without getting penalized. Whether it's verbal words of encouragement or few words when their player is on the same side of the court to any hand signals, such coaching as it takes place now from the box will be allowed."

Cambers noted coaching will still not be allowed at Grand Slam events, although WTA officials admitted the fact the rules are "difficult to regulate" is part of the reason for the change.

The rule against coaching from the stands made national waves during the 2018 US Open final when Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams. Williams was penalized because her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, sent her a signal from the stands.

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos issued her a violation that set off a series of events including her receiving another warning for smashing her racket and a third for vociferously arguing with the official. Smashing her racket cost her a point, and the arguing cost her a game.

Deena Zaru and Joshua Hoyos of ABC News noted Williams was fined $17,000 as a result of the three code violations, including $10,000 for the "verbal abuse" of Ramos, who she called a "thief" and "liar" and accused of sexism.