I had a chance at Roland Garros to watch some of the junior matches and talked to some of the coaches working on the junior and entry level pro tour. When I became Director of Development in 1997, I put in place a policy to always have female coaches travelling with the various ITF teams and to never organise teams with only male coaches.
Over the years, we had fantastic female coaches working successfully with top junior players including Bettina Fulco, Elinor Lightbody, Irena Chichmorova and of course Petra Russegger and Roberta Burzagli who were working this year at the event for the ITF. Players like Azarenka, Bondarenko and Ostapenko benefitted in all areas of their on court and off court development. Having female coaches made the programme so much more effective.
Another example was Farah Dayoub whom I brought into our team to work in West Asia. Former Davis Cup Captain for Syria, she did a great job as West Asian Development Officer being accepted in all of the countries for what she was-a very experienced and effective coach of both male and female players.
Tennis has to do much more to promote the value of female coaches working at all levels of the game, especially at the performance level. Eastern Europe already has a good tradition in this regard and I am pleased that there are a lot of initiatives being done in countries like Canada, France and Australia to motivate more females to become coaches.
We need to keep up the pressure, as the current bias towards male coaches is not good for the health of the game.