Roy Emerson: Tennis players shouldn’t rely on coaches

Tennis legend Roy Emerson believes the current crop of players are becoming less dependant on coaches

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
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Andy Murray parted company with coaching consultant Alex Corretja in March PA Photos

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Australian legend Roy Emerson believes the role that coaches play in tennis players’ careers is becoming increasingly redundant.

Emerson, a 12-time Major winner, has urged modern-day competitors to think for themselves and, in doing so, become less dependent on their coaches.

“Players should be able to learn from mistakes and remain level-headed,” Emerson said. “They shouldn’t need a babysitter!

“Tennis is 85 per cent mental – and players should be able to put points together and convert chances when they get them.”

The 74-year-old feels the world’s top players have become more self-sufficient and generally now rely solely on their coaches for mental and physical preparation.

And it’s a strategy he feels more players should employ. “I don’t think there are too many great coaches out there today,” he continued. “I believe that the role of coach to the top players is over-rated.

“Many players rely too much on coaches to tell them what to do, watching opponents and figuring out how to win matches. Players should be able to do this for themselves.

“The role of coach to top players should be to prepare them so they are physically and mentally up to the task at hand.”

Emerson, who won a total of 28 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles, believes that if a player does require a coach, the most suitable candidates often prove to be former players who have experienced the demands of the sport first-hand.

“It is a terrific advantage if the coach has played at the top levels because they have been through similar situations themselves,” he added.

“But mainly their job is to arrange hitting partners, make sure the player is in a good frame of mind, really fit and don’t interfere too much.”

Visit MG Words – home of Mike Geraghty, Irish author of tennis and children’s books for all ages.

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