A leading Australian tennis official says the Serena Williams debacle in the US Open final has shone a bright light on an issue that desperately needs fixing.
Williams divided opinion in the tennis world after her epic meltdown in the straight sets loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka – which started from an initial code violation for illegal coaching.
The legendary American railed against two other code violations, after being slapped a point for racquet abuse and an entire game for calling the chair umpire “a thief.”
HEARTBREAKING: The Serena question that made Osaka break down
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has urged world tennis chiefs to lock in a position on in-match coaching in light of the stormy US Open women’s final.
Tiley refused to be critical of Williams, instead referring to the first judgment that started the spiral.
“It all centred around coaching … the sport has to really get itself sorted out on what it does with coaching,” Tiley said.
“Are we going to have coaching? Are we not going to have coaching? What is it going to look like?
“The sport needs to get together and sort it out.
“Once that’s sorted out, we don’t have the issue.”
Tiley, who spent a decade coaching College tennis in the United States, said he was a personal advocate for allowing some coaching.
Australian ace Thanasi Kokkinakis, speaking alongside Tiley in Melbourne on Monday, disagreed.
The Australian Open and US Open have trialled mid-match coaching in their qualifying events this year.
“It was a bit strange in US Open quallies,” Kokkinakis said.
“I know they’re always looking to evolve the sport … I’m comfortable with how it is.
“The rule is a little grey.
“The sooner they sort that out, the better for everyone.”
Kokkinakis took a pass when asked when asked whether he believed chair umpires acted differently towards male and female players, a central contention of Williams.
Williams has been fined US$17,000 (AU$24,000) by the US Tennis Association in the wake of her outburst during the controversial loss to Osaka.
Tiley said he didn’t expect the 23-time grand slam winner to be treated differently at Melbourne Park next January.
However, the Australian Open boss says the rise of Japanese winner Naomi Osaka is likely to see a significant flow-on effect at Melbourne Park.
“What an unbelievable performance, the entire two weeks,” he said.
“For us as the grand slam in the Asia Pacific, to have a player from Japan, the first time ever a player from Japan to win that title in the fashion that she did, is particularly exciting.
“We all see how the Japanese fans flock to see Kei Nishikori.
“It’s going to have a significant positive impact on our Open, on our fans.”