“We just authorize what already exists” Daniil Medvedev’s coach Gilles Cervara backs the ATP’s decision to legalise off-court coaching

Gilles Cervara, Coach of World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, expresses his opinion on the recently framed laws that allow off-court coaching during the matches.

Daniil Medvedev and Gilles Cervara
Daniil Medvedev and Gilles Cervara
FirstSportz News

Gilles Cervara, the long-time coach of World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, joins the latest debate as ATP announced its decision to try out off-court coaching in the remainder of the season once the 2022 Wimbledon Championships are concluded. The decision will also be trialled at the 2022 US Open and the 2022 ATP Finals before a final call is made at the end of the season on whether to permit it from next season or not.

Under the new rules, designated seats will be created for coaches to pass on instructions to the players provided they cause no hindrance to the other player. Verbal instructions are meant to be given only when the player is on the same side as the coach but non-verbal instructions in form of hand gestures can be done at all points of the match. Penalties and fines are however still in place in case of misuse or violation of the rules.

Also Read: “Hypocrite?”- Nick Kyrgios slams ATP’s decision to trial ‘off-court’ coaching

“I’m in favour of it”: Gilles Cervara

Gilles Cervara
Gilles Cervara

Speaking about the new laws, Cervara was rather happy as he hopes that now there will be regularity as earlier many players and coaches escaped punishments because they were not caught or just let go off with a warning. No uniformity was present earlier in the rulebooks for it so the move will tackle that issue as well.

“I am rather in favour of it, especially to break this hypocrisy and the lack of consistency on the penalties. Sometimes the referee does not dare, then he dares the next day for less conspicuous coaching. Some coaches get fined three times during the game. It was not consistent, not framed. Yes, there were expectations. If I understood things correctly, the decision was the result of a consultation of coaches. I was consulted by Daniel Vallverdu. I indicated that we had to stop with the hypocrisy. Coaches coaching, they all have words and gestures.

“From now on, we just authorize what already exists, we validate the practice. Not really much. Because the rule will not allow anyone to have a real exchange as we do during training. Afterwards, I’m sure there will be something for everyone. In coaching, many things depend on the coach-player relationship. Tennis is such a cerebral sport that for some players, a talking coach is more annoying than anything else. It has happened to me to see the coach of Daniil’s opponent coaching and to say to myself: “Keep going, keep going, it has the opposite effect, it suits me,” said Cervara in his recent interview with Tennis Majors.

Gilles Cervara presents his viewpoint on the opposers of this rule

Gilles Cervara and Daniil Medvedev
Gilles Cervara and Daniil Medvedev

Many current and former players have opposed the new rules as they believe it will be an added benefit for top-ranked players as they will have more experienced coaches as compared to a newcomer on the Tour. Cervara however believed that only a very small information can be passed which the player can actually process during the break the players get.

“It doesn’t resonate too much with me. All individual sports are sports where athletes have to find solutions and where coaches can coach, I don’t see why tennis would be any different. Because it’s tennis, the coach could not slip a message when his player is four meters from him? I do not see. For me, it must come mainly from the player, that’s why it won’t change anything about what I’m doing today with Daniil. I’m not going to do more, I’m going to continue to do things to match what the player can receive.

“On the other hand, I think that with this new rule, the coach will take the initiative more often. But he will have to be careful and measure if it is good for his player and if he really needs it. I’m not sure that all coaches will all ask themselves the question. Just because the coach talks doesn’t mean the player is better. The coach still needs to give the right information, at the right time and in the right way. It is an art, sometimes close to tightrope walking,” added Gilles.

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