For Your Ears Only: On-Court Coaching Today's Stars
Dmitry Tursunov revealed over an eventful weekend of finals that he believes the ATP World Tour should test the merits of on-court coaching during matches, as the WTA has since 2009. The ATP tried the concept in 1998 but scrapped it soon after. Tursunov's comments came to light at roughly the same time that Alize Cornet collapsed in a lachrymose heap in her chair on a changeover, down 2-5 to Venus Williams in the Dubai Duty Free Championships final. (You can see—or awkwardly relive—that episode here.)
Tursunov said, in part:
"[T]he one big drawback is that, if a player is traveling without a coach due to his lack of funds, and someone who he is playing has a coach, it does make the conditions a bit unfair. But I think it is going to be very difficult to have a setup where everything is fair to everyone all the time. There’s always going to be some degree of unfairness. It’s just the nature of the game."
These statements are surprising, as, over time, Tursunov has complained about the preferential treatment that he perceives his higher ranked (and higher paid) peers receive at tournaments, most recently at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in August 2013.
This news begs the question, in a similar vein as our "Desperately Seeking" dispatch earlier this month, What would you speak in the ear of some of today's top players on a changeover, if you had the chance? What sweet everythings—morsels intended to turn their matches around, yea, even their very careers, perhaps—would you say to them?
Here are a few to get you started:
Dmitry Tursunov: "What? No. I refuse to let you fire me here on this tennis court. You're sweating. It's the middle of a match. TV cameras are on. ... Wait, this is what you wanted. You brought me here to do this in public, like what Jay Mohr does to Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. You didn't want me to make a scene!"
Venus Williams: "You've played spirited, courageous tennis of late. Well done, good and faithful server."
Novak Djokovic: "Aye, you've seen a lull in results. Let's take this one lucky slapshot at a time, shall we? Bend it like backhand."
Ana Ivanovic: "Let's treat match like you did those takedowns Down Under last month. Keep the fist pumps few and far between. Spare the Ajde! yelps. Simply act like you're the overdog. Act as if your absolute power means you absolutely deserve to be on top, winning the match. And then win the match."
Sloane Stephens: "In the immortal words of Margaret Spellings, as delivered to Dana Perino in the George W. Bush White House: 'Put your big-girl panties on.' It's only going to get harder from here. Relish the fight. Want it."
Caroline Wozniacki: "What I told Sloane."
Now, what you would tell one of today's top pros midmatch? Sound off in the comments below.
Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter @jonscott9.