Roger Federer urges WTA to lift restrictions on 15-year-old Wimbledon star Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff backhand

Roger Federer has urged the WTA to relax the rules to allow child prodigies such as Coco Gauff to play more professional tennis.

Gauff has been a star of Wimbledon, defeating Venus Williams in the first round and then backing it up with another win over Magdalena Rybarikova

However, current restrictions prevent Gauff from more than five more pro events before her sixteenth birthday, which is eight months away.

It’s a rule designed to protect child players from the pressures of the professional adult circuit, and was prompted by concerns over previous players, such as Jennifer Capriati, who have burned out earlier than you’d expect after bursting onto the scene while still at school.

Federer, though, who is part of Gauff’s management team with the Team8 agency, has thrown his weight behind a potential rule change.

“I understand the rule completely that they want the young players not to play too much. I’ve told the WTA they should loosen up the rules.

“I loved seeing [Martina] Hingis doing what she did at a young age. This is not me being involved in any shape or form as Team8 through Coco. I try to give her as much advice as I can through Team8.

“I think it would be nice, you know, if they could play more. I feel like it puts in some ways extra pressure on them every tournament they play.

“It’s like their week, this is now where I finally am allowed to play, I have to do well, right? I’m not sure if it’s maybe to some extent counterproductive.

“They could maybe do a mentoring system that there is maybe still a rule about how many tournaments they’re allowed to play, but maybe it should be more, in my opinion.

“Then the mentors should come in, the legends like Billie Jean or Chris Evert, Navratilova, others, maybe speak to the parents, the coaches, the player for that matter, and really, like, educate them so they don’t fizzle out.

“Maybe your best time is from 14 to 20 for some reason – it’s not like for everybody else from 20 to 30. So in a way you take away that opportunity, you know.

“Some want to have kids maybe at 24. At least you had a strong career for 10 years, from 14 to 24. I don’t know.

“It’s up to debate. I don’t have the perfect solution. I see why they did it, because we’ve had the history of some tough parents out there.

“But at the same time you’re also increasing the pressure for that player each week to produce.”

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