Interview with Sarah Stone of (WTCA):
As a founder of the WTCA (Womens’ Tennis Coaching Association) and a female tennis coach on the WTA yourself, what is your initial reaction to Judy Murray’s comments that there are only 3 women Tennis Coaches working with the Top 50 ranked ladies?
I was already well aware that there were not enough female coaches on the pro tour. We started the WTCA one year ago today with two intentions, to educate all coaches on how best to work with female athletes and to get more female coaches into the industry. One year ago there were only 8% of top 200 WTA players with a female coach. Outside of he top 50 there are a few more female coaches but that number needs to increase.
Judy’s son Andy used Amelie Mauresmo as his coach for a few years, surely she should be a prime target to work with a top 50 player on the WTA circuit? What is she doing now and is she likely to feature in the future?
She is the French Fed C up captain so she is actively involved with the French players. Likewise Conchita Martinez is the captain of the Spanish Davis C up team. Previously Conchita coached on the WTA tour. Being a full time coach on the WTA tour is demanding and Amelie has a young family, so perhaps she will return to coaching on tour in a few years. One thing people need to remember is that these former tour players have usually had enough of the travel and only want to work periodically as coaches. We need to bring up more females that have not played so extensively on the tour and are not burned out from the grind on the road!
What initiatives are currently out there for Women Coaches which are designed to help them become top coaches?
At the moment none that I believe are adequate, hence the lack of female coaches. In 2017 the WTCA will have a program designed specifically for this.
Judy Murray has launched a ‘Miss Hits’ Campaign promoting tennis and coaching to girls, should she not be a contender to coach top women in the future?
Judy is focusing her attention on grassroots. She has worked very hard with the British players having a hand in so many great careers including Konta, Baltacha, Watson and Keothavong. I agree with her plan, I think that if she can get more female coaches into the sport and keep more young girls in the game she will be making a far greater contribution to tennis. Working at the top you help a few, with her mission she can make an enormous global impact with female tennis players and coaches. The WTCA is a very strong supporter of Judy’s programme ‘Miss Hits’.
Why do you think top female tennis players are choosing men as their coaches on the WTA tour?
Because there are not enough female coaches, so if there are 90% less females and only 10% are willing to travel… You do the math!!
What are you doing at the WTCA to promote women coaches to the WTA tour?
We are developing a database and working on a mentoring program to help female coaches gain experience at the top level.