An Australian native, professional tennis coach, Sarah Stone has been coaching on the WTA tour for over 10 years. A former professional player, Stone has a vast amount of experience at the very top of women's tennis. Sarah was the coach of Samantha Stosur who was a 3-time grand slam champion whilst under her tutelage. Additionally, she has coached 5 other top 100 players including American Fed Cup player Alexa Glatch.
She is one of very few females coaching on the WTA tour and to be a WTA Gold Coach.
Sarah Stone is the founder and CEO of The Women's Tennis Coaching Association (a non-profit organization) and is a committee member of the International Club of Australia. Sarah is extremely passionate about using sports for social change.
"Getting more female tennis coaches to the top and supporting their needs."
QUESTIONS FOR SARAH STONE
TCB: Sarah, how old were you when you started with tennis, and who got you into it?
SS: I was about 3 when I started playing tennis! My dad is a tennis coach so it’s typically the way for the children of tennis pros! My brother was already playing and I wanted to go along to lessons and do what he was doing! I was sports crazy as a kid and did literally anything, but I picked tennis probably due to the family connection. My mum was a club player so it was kinda what we did. I have been in it ever since and I’m so grateful for what tennis has brought to my life.
TCB: You founded the Women's Tennis Coaching Association a little over 5 years ago. You said that "…at the time, it was documented that only 8.5% of top 200 WTA players, had females listed as their coach." Has that ratio changed since then?
SS: I can't be sure on the numbers as I’m a little bit out of touch with the WTA tour at the moment but I do think it has increased since then. That number also included Oracene Price, whom both Serena and Venus had listed their mother as their primary coach. Had we excluded parents in that 8.5% the number might have been 3%. I know we are slowly getting more women coaches to the top, for me that can't come fast enough, and hope we get to 50% in the very near future!
TCB: What action plan do you have to improve that number in the coming years?
SS: I am doing some work with a few of the national federations around the world to help them, not only create awareness but take the steps towards real change. We are working very closely with our partner the USPTA to make big changes that will certainly increase those numbers!
TCB: Three years ago you created a Facebook group that now has over 2,300 members, the Female Tennis Coaches Network. What motivated you to do this?
SS: I wanted to have a place where all women coaches were connected so that they could help each other with their careers. I felt like it was important for female coaches to have a place where they could communicate together. It's also really helpful to have a lot of women coaches in one group so that we can ask them questions about what they need and how we can improve the industry.
TCB: Are you moderating that group on Facebook?
SS: I do moderate the group alongside a team of other female coaches!
TCB: As a female-centric group, are you keeping male coaches out or can they also join?
SS: This group is for female coaches only. I know male coaches want to join but the reason for this group is to create a safe space for female coaches to share with one another. As the world changes perhaps in the future the need for this will go away, but many female coaches have told me they do not participate in social media forums as they have experienced a lot of trolling from male coaches. The group has been fantastic for the women, it’s not at all about excluding men, it's about supporting the needs of female coaches.
TCB: Many of the posts are created by a lady named Jane Forman. Is she part of your team?
SS: It just depends who is posting at the time, sometimes it's me, sometimes it's Jane, we all have very busy lives so we work together to ensure there is always new content!
TCB: How are you promoting that group? What plans do you have with it?
SS: I only promote that group at events, I’m not actively trying to do anything with it other than provide women coaches with more opportunities.
TCB: Any plans to add Pickleball or Padel into your WTCA or FB activities?
SS: Haha uh you never know… maybe someday. At the moment my number one focus is getting more women coaches certified and into our industry. That's something I know that I can contribute to the tennis industry. I have
really enjoyed working closely with Ramona Husaru and Trish Faulkner. I have a lot of respect for both of them and I am excited to do great things alongside them. I feel strongly about the fact that we need women to lead the change for women in our industry. This is not to say it's women alone, this is something that should be done with men and women together making the necessary shift that is so desperately needed.
TCB: What is your tennis racquet of choice?
SS: Tecnifibre T fight 300 - it's amazing! We have worked with Tecnifibre for a number of years now and it's a very solid quality racquet. Add those 4s strings and you have the perfect combination!!
TCB: Thank you, Sarah Stone.
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