There have been regular instances of tennis players sending out tantrums and screaming at their own coaching boxes, making many wonder why is their own team a target of their ire? We explain the reasons why this might be the case.
For many decades, tennis has been one of the more fascinating sport around. Being an individual sport, it tests the players’ mental patience.
And as a result of that, tennis becomes a quite a challenging sport for a player – play for three or so hours, depending solely on the player’s individual performance with no real ready help on court.
That is why, at times, many of us have seen our favorite tennis players exhibit the kind of tantrums they do, especially directed at their coaches or supporting team.
It is, most probably, an act by the player to vent out his frustration. But besides this, there could be many other reasons why tennis players yell at their coaches or their box (which consists of the support staff and at times even close relations).
So Why do Tennis Players Yell at Their Box?
In the second half of 2022, the ATP made a change to their rules. This changed rule allowed coaches to to their players during matches but while being seated in their box. This rule was long time coming.
The flip to this changed rule is players now expect coaches to be on the top of their game and read the on-court happenings a lot more than earlier. This changes the players’ expectations from his coach.
And in cases where the coach/coaching team isn’t – supposedly – able to help out, like was the case during the 2023 Australian Open final for Novak Djokovic, the player’s ire is targeted at the coaching box.
— Roberto d’Ambrosio (@robrda) January 29, 2023
To Release Their Frustration
As mentioned earlier, players are on their own on the court in singles play (a different matter in doubles where they have some sort of company and hence one doesn’t often see those kind of tantrums).
They don’t have the advantage of taking help from their coaches during the encounter to try and fix their mistakes.
Unlike in team sports, these players don’t have any teammates whose shoulder they can lean on at times when things are going wrong during the encounter.
Anger and frustration does have a tendency to build up and that domino’s effect could lead them to yell at their coaches. Tennis doesn’t have any rule that stops them from displaying this kind of behavior that’s why many tennis players behave like this, be it Andy Murray, Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic.
Of course, one hopes it does not get to such levels of frustration either.
Out of a Long-Standing Habit
Many tennis players get into this habit of shouting and yelling at their coaches.
The first time they do it out of probable frustration and it goes unchecked following which they start getting used to it. At times coaches at the junior level do not do much to discourage that behavior.
In fact quite the opposite of that, with some coaches actually encouraging young players to vent it out. Such habits die hard, and it becomes difficult for tennis players to then suddenly stop it as they grow older and are in the midst of a more pressure environment during matches.
A Case of Blame Game?
One aspect of human nature is that it’s hard for us to admit our mistakes. The same is the case with tennis players at times.
Players, in the middle of a pressure encounter, find it difficult to take responsibility for what they are enduring which makes them blame their coaches and box for their poor performance.
Tennis players in a bid to find answers to what’s going wrong during an encounter, could end up blaming their box for their mistakes.
They Feel Distracted
When tennis players underperform in their game, their coaches start directing or advising them despite this being against the rules in some of the tournaments.
That hasn’t stopped players from getting coached in the middle matches and that, at times, has been detrimental to their own cause – at least according to the player him/herself.
Players could get distracted by this and the response could be a good, old yelling at the box to “leave them alone”!
One example was when firebrand Aussie Nick Krygios yelled at his support team at the 2021 Australian Open asking, “Are you awake? You are saying one thing for two games!”
At that stage, Kyrgios had dropped his serve and was trailing 2-0 in the first set of that match against Ferreira Silva, prompting an expletives-filled tirade soon after.
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The Coaching Box is Their Ultimate Support!
As said earlier, tennis players are alone responsible for their own actions. It puts them under a lot of pressure when they have only three opportunities per set to challenge the umpire’s decision.
In addition to this, a large crowd of people is there watching their performance. Therefore, they need someone to whom they can express their emotions, and what’s better than their coaching box!
Players know that their coaches/parents will understand them well without judging them. So they end up getting mad at their coaches or sometimes to their own selves.
Some of the Players Who Yell a Lot at Their Box
With a career-high ranking of number one in the world and with a Grand Slam under his belt, Daniil Medvedev has carved a successful tennis career.
That did not stop him from getting so enraged at his coaching box during the third round at the Australian Open in 2022 that his coach Gilles Cervara walked out from the middle of the match.
At the end of that encounter against Filip Kranjinovic, Medvedev, who went on to win it, said that his coach wanted him to perform his best and was sure about his win. That’s why he left him alone so that he could focus on his game.
One of the finest tennis players, the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, has also yelled at his coaching box on several occasions.
At one of the training sessions, Djokovic was frustrated because the weather was extremely windy. He struggled to play his shots and and an at his coach, Goran Ivanisevic followed soon after.
Interestingly, Ivanisevic has himself been one of the enigmas of the tennis world during his playing time and has had his share of screaming and shouting out in frustration.
The king of exerting one’s frustration and at times at the box, tennis star Andy Murray has lost his cool at many tournaments.
Murray’s frustrations during matches have been well-chronicled and the good thing is despite this, his coaches maintain a calm demeanor toward him.
In one instance, Murray ordered his supporting team to leave his box and watch his performance at Davis Cup matches from a higher-level balcony. It was because they were becoming ‘distractions’ for him.
In another instance, Murray looked to be blasting his own team as his title defence at Wimbledon 2014 came to an end at the hands of Grigor Dimitrov.
Murray was heard yelling:
“shut the f*** up” and “five minutes before the f****** match”.
How Yelling at Coaches Can be Construed as Communication with Coaches
The Grand Slams disallow any kind of communication between the coach and the player.
If any player and the coach communicate with each other, whether it’s verbal or gestural, it will be construed as coaching. In that case, the player will be liable to point violation.
Now, yelling is basically an attempt by a player to talk to his coach/supporting team; therefore, could be considered a violation but it could depend on how the coach responds to that. Without a response of any kind, players could get away without that violation.
Final Words on Why Tennis Players Yell at Their Box
There are different reasons why tennis players yell at their coaching boxes and while it’s not the best optics for those watching on, it is a part of being a player in an individual sport in which one is on one’s own and not having any outside coaching help.