Men's tennis tour to trial 'off-court' coaching

The ATP, which runs the men's professional tennis tour, has announced it will trial "off-court" coaching at the US Open and all other events in the second half of this season.

The governing body said coaching would be permitted from designated seats during qualifying and main draw matches at events starting from July 11.

Verbal and non-verbal coaching will be allowed only if it does not interrupt play or hinder the opponent, with verbal coaching only permitted when the player is at the same end of the court.

Hand signals are allowed at any time but coaches may not speak to their player when he leaves the court for any reason.

Penalties and fines will still apply for abuse or misuse of the new coaching conditions.

The trial will run through to the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin in November.

The ATP announcement brings the men's tour into alignment with the women's WTA Tour, which already has an off-court coaching trial in place.

Coaching for players during matches has long been a thorny issue in tennis, with players often complaining that an opponent has received advice from their coach despite rules that prohibited it for many years.

Various coaching rules have been trialled across tennis in recent years, including on-court coaching and coaching via headsets.

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