The ATP is set to finally introduce a new modality in tennis by allowing off-court coaching in the latter half of this year.
Under the new guidelines, the players are set to receive instructions in qualifying and main draw matches in tournaments including the U.S. Open and the ATP Finals, the governing body of men’s tennis said on Tuesday.
During the trial period, an individual will be allowed to coach their player both verbally and non-verbally from a designated seat as long as it does not interrupt the play or hinder an opponent.
ATP off-court coaching trial will commence on July 11th and run through to the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin in November, in a move that ATP sees as enhancing the fan experience at tournaments.
“Various coaching rules have been trialed across the sport in recent years, including on-court coaching and coaching via headsets,” the ATP said in a statement.
“Today’s announcement brings alignment for the second half of the season across the ATP Tour, U.S. Open, and the WTA Tour, where an off-court coaching trial is already in place.”
The guidelines further state that verbal coaching must consist of only a few words and will be allowed only when the player is at the same end of the court as his coach while non-verbal coaching, i.e hand gestures, will be permitted at any time.
“Coaches may not speak to their player when the player leaves the court for any reason,” the ATP added.
The governing body will impose penalties and fines for the misuse or abuse of the coaching conditions and will assess the success or failure at the end of 2022 in order to consider it for future use.