Rafael Nadal’s coach joins Nick Kyrgios in calling out ATP over new mid-match trial

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Rafael Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya has joined Nick Kyrgios in slamming the ATP’s decision to trial mid-match coaching from the stands. The tour announced ‘off-court’ coaching would be tested out in the second half of the season, including during the US Open. The news has already caused controversy with Patrick Mouratoglou finding himself at the centre of a spat over his views on coaching.

On Tuesday, the ATP Tour confirmed it would be trialling verbal and non-verbal coaching from the stands at all events from the week after Wimbledon until the end of the season, including the US Open and ATP Finals. It’s a first for the men’s tour, after the WTA previously allowed on-court coaching once a set before scrapping the rule several years ago.

But it seems that not every player is in favour of the new addition, as Nadal’s coach spoke out against the trial while Kyrgios hit back at the ATP and renowned coach Mouratoglou. It comes after the Frenchman found himself embroiled in a row for claiming teams had already been coaching from the stands illegally and celebrated the new trial.

Kyrgios replied to Mouratoglou, saying: “Completely disagree. Loses one of the only unique traits that no other sport had. The player had to figure out things on his own. That was the beauty of it. What happens if a high profile player versus a low ranked player who doesn’t have or afford a coach?”

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Nadal’s coach has backed up the world No 45 by claiming that the lack of coaching made tennis “special”. “I am not very much in favour of coaching,” he told Eurosport. “What makes tennis a special sport is that it is the only sport where you are alone against another without help from anyone.

“In the rest of sports you do have that contact in some way, be it with the presence of your coach, through the radio, with the caddy, whatever. That solo battle that the tennis player has, placing the pieces of the puzzle at 180 beats and 20 seconds between points, choosing the correct tactic in each play, is part of the quality of each player.”

The former world No 1 also said the ATP should be looking at tackling any illegal mid-match coaching instead of encouraging it and, having the insight of both a former player and coach, said the job should be done before a match. He continued: “For me it is essential that the player thinks for himself, the coach’s job is already done. It’s like an exam, the teacher can help you, but once the exam starts you’re on your own.

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“The coach’s job has to be done before the game, the player must have controlled all the variants, because then things will happen that surely weren’t in the script. In that sense, I am totally against coaching.”

As it was suggested that the trial could at least regulate coaching, Moya said: “Perhaps it is the first step to later look for a more important change. I would leave everything as it is, the beauty of tennis is the solo battle with your rival, that shows how intelligent you are and how good each one is.”

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