The American pulls no punches when asked to give his view on the ATP's new off-court coaching trial. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday August 18, 2022
The ATP’s new coaching regulations have inspired a lot of different opinions from players on tour. The tour now allows coaching from the box during matches, with the decision to continue the trial through the US Open and all the way to the end of the season.
The trial started on July 11, and Taylor Fritz says it hasn’t changed a thing for him. On Wednesday in Cincinnati he called the rule “dumb.”
“I haven't talked to Mike [Russell] and he hasn't talked to me one time since the coaching has become a thing. It's a dumb rule,” he said. When asked to elaborate Fritz said that tennis is, in his mind, an individual sport – a view shared by many peers and pundits.
"Tennis is an individual sport,” he said. “Why are we making it not an individual sport? A huge part of tennis is, in my mind, like as tennis is as much mental as it is physical, and a big part of it is you need to be figuring it out on the court for yourself. You need to be the one figuring it out.
“I think it's ridiculous that you can be mentally not there, not good analytically, not good at kind of working through things and coming up with strategies, and you can have someone tell you what to do. I hate it.”
Medvedev: "I don't mind it"
Russia's Daniil Medvedev was asked to give his thoughts on the subject on Thursday after he reached the quarterfinals at Cincinnati with a win over Denis Shapovalov.
He says he's fine with it, but doesn't think it will make much difference. Sure the coach can talk, but athletes are still out there on an island, solving problems on their own – for most of the times.
"During the match, I don't really see how a coach can help, like in some other sports, you know, there is tactics is so important. Here, I mean, when the tennis match is there, I guess it can be one match out of five where suddenly he's going to be: 'Change your position on return, or, Go more to his backhand,' if he sees it from the outside. So I think it can be a game-changer sometimes."
In a sport where thin margins tilt on the smallest of details, Medvedev is inadvertently admitting that off-court coaching can make a difference.
But not so much, he says.
"In the same time, many matches is, let's say I play Fritz tomorrow, it's our first encounter, still, I know how he plays and he knows how I play. I don't think on-court coaching tomorrow is going to make a huge difference. But in general, I'm okay with it, like I was never against it. It's just that if — I mean, the rule is that if I'm on the side, if I understand it right, he shouldn't do it, like the opponent's coach. That's what they should respect. And if not, I think it's fine."
Aiming for Top-5
Fritz has an opportunity to make his Top-10 debut after Cincinnati, if he can get past Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals on Friday.
The American, currently ranked at 13, one spot shy of his career-high 12, says he is looking past that and aiming for the Top-5.
“It's a huge goal,” he said of the Top-10 on Wednesday, when asked. “Just growing up as a kid, being a top-10 player in the world, it's always something you kind of dream of. It's still a big goal, but I think sometimes when you get really close to reaching these goals, it almost makes you, like, I guess, tighten up a little bit. We have almost re-evaluated. We said, Okay, we are not thinking about top 10 anymore. We are thinking of top 5 now.
“That's just the correct — with that mindset, it will just make it easier to make it into the top 10, I feel.”
The top-ranked American is 35-13 on the season, and has a shot of qualifying for the ATP’s year-end championships in Turin for the first time.
He is currently 10th in the race.