Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu lift the lid on WTA ‘cheaters’ – ‘They just have the habit’

Shahida Jacobs
Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu at press conferences
Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu speak to the media

Tennis players often call their own lines when practicing with their fellow pros and, while you would expect them to be honest, there are some who “cheat”.

Following their first-round wins at Wimbledon, Grand Slam winners Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu were asked if they had been cheated on during practice and made some interesting revelations.

Reigning US Open winner Gauff believes it’s a case of “once a cheater, always a cheater” as some may have started the bad habit in juniors.

“I’m not going to say who, but we had a conversation about how some players on tour do like to call the lines a little bit too much in practice. So we were having like a laugh out of that,” the 20-year-old said after beating Caroline Dolehide.

“But, yeah, there are some girls, I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, that will do it. For me, I don’t really take any offense. If we’re in a real match, what’s the point? But a lot of times it’s probably girls who maybe were like cheaters in juniors and they just have the habit.

“But most of the time I try to practice with people who don’t do that just to save frustration. I’m not going to question the girl. I’m not going to be like, ‘Hey, that was kind of in.’ I’ll be like whatever, just move on.”

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Jelena Ostapenko has a long history of debating calls during matches, but Gauff made it clear that the Latvian does not cross the line during practice.

The American added: “No, honestly, for me if it’s close, it’s like, okay, it can be in or out. There’s people who will deliberately call the ball, it’s like inside of the line. It’s not anybody that you would think.

“I know people are going to probably think and say maybe Ostapenko because she does that. But, no, she’s actually one of my favourite people to practice with. She’s just funny. I think generally she just sometimes thinks her ball is in, but she doesn’t do it in practice. It’s definitely other people.”

The question was also posed to Raducanu after her victory over Renata Zarazua at the All England Club.

The 2021 US Open winner replied: “I’ve been hooked (laughter). I think with me, I genuinely don’t like calling my own lines ’cause I feel like I can’t see. I always just try and ask someone who I’m on court with to call the lines for me.

“For me when we’re in practice playing points, if it’s an inch in, an inch out, it doesn’t necessarily matter. Like it’s practice at the end of the day.

“I think for some players, it’s the biggest thing ever. It’s like, Let ’em have it. Doesn’t really matter.”