The ATP’s decision to test coaching out of court after Wimbledon 2022 has generated mixed reactions, resulting in a social media battle between Todd Woodbridge and Patrick Mouratoglou
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Former Serena Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou has come under criticism from Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge after supporting the ATP’s upcoming lawsuit for out-of-court coaching.
The men’s tennis governing body recently announced plans to allow coaching from designated seats in the second half of this season. Hand and verbal signals are allowed, provided they do not interfere with the opponent’s play, as the trial officially starts on 11 July.
Mouratoglou took to Twitter to “congratulate” the ATP” for “legalizing” a practice that has been going on at almost every game for decades. No more hypocrisy.’ Woodbridge quoted Mouratoglou’s tweet as saying it was “so disappointing” that such a high-profile figure had essentially admitted breaking the rule in question for years.
“This is a particularly bad one from you Todd,” replied Mouratoglou, 52, who ended his 10-year coaching partnership with Serena Williams earlier this year. “You’ve been on tour for a long time. Why are you denying the evidence that the coaching takes place on the track every day? To make me look bad on purpose and accuse me? This is disappointing.”
During her association with Mouratoglou, Williams won 10 of her 23 Grand Slam crowns to date, as well as an Olympic gold medal in London 2012. Woodbridge, 51, won 22 major doubles titles over a 12-year period and is regarded as one of the best doubles players of all time.
When Woodbridge replied that he had never been coached halfway through the match, Mouratoglou made fun of the Sydney native for his holier-than-thou approach. “Such a role model,” he wrote. ‘I wish I was you. Maybe in my next life.’
Do you think the rule change for off-court coaching is good for tennis? Let us know in the comments section.
Not only did he coach Williams for numerous career highlights, he also oversaw one of her lowest moments in the 2018 US Open final. The American was charged with a code violation after Mouratoglou gestured at her during her clash with Naomi Osaka, which sparked one of the most infamous outbursts in the sport’s history.
Mouratoglou later went back to one of Woodbridge’s earlier tweets, telling him he needed to “learn to read”, and denied ever saying he was guilty of coaching. However, in the past he has admitted to spotting Williams, although he insisted his former indictment had not seen the clues.
The Frenchman also said in 2019 that he would “100 percent” repeat his actions from Flushing Meadows the year before. Now that he is mentor to Simona Halep, Mouratoglou will hope to make a splash at Wimbledon before the outright lawsuit goes into effect.
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