Starting next month, coaching from the stands will be permitted on a trial basis on the WTA Tour this season, ESPN reported Sunday.
The trial will begin at the Dubai Duty Free Championships and Hungarian Open, both of which will start Feb. 17. The experiment will continue at all WTA Premier and International events throughout the year but will not apply to Grand Slam events, according to ESPN.
Serena Williams was penalized at the 2018 U.S. Open for receiving illegal hand signals from the stands from her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, against Naomi Osaka in the women's final. Osaka won the match.
"The new trial will allow coaches to coach their player in the form they are currently coaching from the box without getting penalized," the WTA told ESPN.com. "Whether it's verbal words of encouragement or (a) few words when their player is on the same side of the court to any hand signals, such coaching as it takes place now from the box will be allowed."
The WTA told ESPN it is making the switch because current rules are "difficult to regulate" and because that form of coaching happens often in the sport.
On-court coaching still will be allowed in its limited form, the WTA confirmed to ESPN. That rule, which began on the WTA Tour in 2008, allows players to call their coaches on court for a conversation one time during a set.
--Field Level Media