Roger Federer answered questions regarding proposed rule changes for the ATP. The new rules are facing a trial period in the junior tournaments at the 2017 US Open and at the #NextGen tour finals, an inaugural tournament that will take place in Milan late this season. The association announced the new rules back in May and one of the changes has to do with in-Match coaching. According to the ATP's press release "Players and coaches will be able to communicate at certain points in the match (to be determined)" (May 16). According to the ATP, this will "(provide) additional content and entertainment value for broadcast." Roger Federer, when speaking about this specific rule change, did not seem too enthusiastic.

"I'm not all for it," he said (Federer qtd. at Fox Sports Asia/July 27). "I find it kind of cool that in tennis, you know, you're sort of on your own out there."

Tennis: war of mental attrition

That counterpoint speaks to the fact that when there is no coaching, tennis is the ultimate sport for one-on-one competition. This is from both a physical and mental perspective. In a lot of other sports, the coaching staff will log a fair amount of the mental load and it's up to the players to execute. However, with tennis not currently allowing in-match coaching, players are on their own, or as Federer says, they are "sort of" on their own.

The Swiss Maestro also spoke about how players could use signals with one another to evade the current rules.

He said allowing coaches to communicate with players might not "make that much of a difference," because he's sure there's currently "hand signs going on." However, hand signals could only accomplish so much. Allowing a coach to visit a player mid-match and to make coherent verbal statements could get right into the heart of a match.

Federer also sees a problem of inequality when it comes to hiring coaches. "Not everybody has the same amount of resources for coaching, as well. So I'm not sure if it's that beneficial." This point of view would suggest that players will need to expend more on coaches that bring something to the table during a match, instead of simply during practice.

Scoring changes on the table too

There are other proposed rule changes. The most radical has to do with scoring. Back in May, the ATP indicated that they will pursue a shorter format: "First to Four games sets (Tie-Break at 3-All). Best-of-Five sets, with No-Ad scoring." It will be interesting to see how this change sits with the players if, in fact, it is used in ATP matches and not just in Milan or junior tournaments.