Who has the last word in tennis? Player or coach?
Different sports roll in different ways. While the captain is king in cricket, the manager has the most power in football. What about tennis?
Who’s the boss?
Who dictates strategy in tennis? Is it the player who formulates tactics, and the coach is there more so as a facilitator? Or does the coach brainstorm his way through tactics, and the player follows his or her advice like a sincere pupil?
Tennis legend Rafael Nadal has an opinion to share.
“In team sports, you have a coach who is the club,” Nadal said in his advice to young tennis players. “Hire a coach and the player is paid too. But the coach is the boss. In our sport, I am the one who pays the coach, the physical trainer, the physical therapist. In the end, you are the boss. If you don’t make all those people around you feel they have the freedom to say things, whether they are good or bad, without putting your job at risk, you are not allowing yourself to be helped. If you do not have the humility to listen to the things that you do not like so much, it is difficult for you to continue on the right path.”
Nadal’s two cents
Nadal opined that in tennis, it is the player who pays the coach, the physical trainer, the physical therapist and all the other staff. Hence, the last word should rest with the player.
As it is, it is the player who ultimately has to execute the tactics, whether it is born out of his own mind or come from the support staff. And the player himself knows his strengths and weaknesses the best.
It is only fair then for the player to have the deciding vote in tennis. Be that as it may, a second opinion doesn’t hurt.
Nadal has won an all-time record 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles which includes a record 14 French Open championships. The Spaniard is one of only two men to complete the career Golden Slam in singles.
At 36, Rafael Nadal’s hopes of a calendar grand slam were shattered earlier in 2022 when he was forced to withdraw from his Wimbledon semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal strain he sustained during his quarter-final win over Taylor Fritz.