King says WTA Tour needs more female coaches

Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:18am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Top female tennis players may be doing themselves a disservice by hiring male coaches instead of women, according to former great Billie Jean King.

The American said she was baffled why players on the WTA Tour are never tempted to break the mould and tap into the vast knowledge of the likes of Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert or even herself for that matter.

"I've coached (former player) Tim Mayotte and a couple of others, but nobody ever asks us," the 70-year-old told the BBC in an interview at Indian Wells.

"It's a big mistake because we are a great resource, and they should ask. Nobody ever comes to me and says 'Will you help me with my game?' any more.

"The last one to ask me to help was Martina Navratilova when she was playing her last few years of singles." Navratilova retired in 2006.

While age may be against King and the 57-year-old Navratilova becoming coaches, it appears odd that the more-recently retired players have not moved into coaching.

Of the current women's top 20, none have female coaches although Germany's Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki has an informal relationship with former world No.1 Martina Hingis.

Marion Bartoli, who beat Lisicki in the final but has since retired, also worked with compatriot Amelie Mauresmo for a while having been coached throughout her career by father Walter.   Continued...

Former tennis player Billie Jean King is interviewed while promoting PBS's American Masters series in Beverly Hills, California August 6, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni