Tsitsipas’ dad pleased with rule change as ATP ‘didn’t make sense’

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Stefanos Tsitsipas’ dad has confessed that he was glad the ATP introduced coaching as he always wanted to “help him” while on court. The men’s tour began trialling coaching from the stands in July which saw backlash from some players while the world No 5’s dad said it “didn’t make sense” not to allow coaching in the first place.

Tsitsipas’s dad and coach has opened up on the ATP’s recent coaching rule in a new interview following the Greek star’s run to the Stockholm Open final. The 24-year-old had something of a reputation for receiving coaching violations, with a Greek-speaking umpire sent to sit below his player box at the Australian Open this year so she could pick up on whether his dad was trying to instruct him illegally. 

The ATP decided to trial coaching from the stands after Wimbledon, with a team now allowed to use brief verbal phrases to coach while their player is on their side of the court, and able to use hand signals at any time. The likes of world No 10 Taylor Fritz have fiercely criticised the new rule but Tsitsipas’ dad has shared his support as he claimed it made no sense to ban coaching.

“Thank God coaching is now allowed in tennis,” Apostolos Tsitsipas told Tennisology. “I feel that people didn’t understand anything.” A former player himself, the world No 5’s dad explained that he always believed helping his son was a regular part of supporting him.

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Apostolos continued: “The ATP code has always said that a person who is in a player’s box can cheer him on or support him during the match. For me, in the first place, it is about trying to help your tennis player to try to get out of that emotional hole that can cause you to not be doing things well during a match.” 

Tsitsipas senior also referenced a previous rule on the WTA Tour, which saw on-court coaching permitted once per set from 2008, with the women’s tour also introducing coaching from the stands in 2020. “Why in the WTA did they allow coaches to even jump on the court? It doesn’t make sense that the ATP wouldn’t allow it. You have to find a balance,” he added.

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The nine-time title winner himself was honest in his use of coaching from the stands when the trial began in July, telling L’Equipe that the introduction of the rule didn’t “change anything” for him. Meanwhile, his father opened up on the difficulty of coaching his own son as he shared the toughest part of being Tsitsipas’ mentor.

“The hardest thing for me is when I see Stefanos badly,” he said. “Emotions are emotions, and you have to deal with this if you want to win and set records in the world of tennis. There have been times that as a father, I have asked myself the question of… why did I drag my son into all this? But it’s normal. Life is a mountain of laughter. There are ups and downs.”

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