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Moms Know Best

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Istomins & Youngs© ATPDenis Istomin and Donald Young receive on-court support from their mothers.

A seemingly-routine practice session at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on Monday created a piece of history on the ATP World Tour.

As World No. 67 Denis Istomin and American wild card Donald Young practised together, both were being coached by their mothers. Fans who watched the practice on Court 2, accustomed to seeing only men’s coaches at ATP World Tour events, did a double take.

Istomin has been coached my his mother Klaudiya since he was a young boy. And it was Klaudiya who convinced her son to return to tennis after a devastating 2001 car crash hospitalised him for three months and kept him off the court for two years.

Reflecting on his practice session with Young and Young’s mother and coach, Illona, Istomin said. “It looks funny. All the guys’ coaches are men and then you have one court with two guys being coached by their mothers. It’s good that I’m not alone!”

The 22 year old from Uzbekistan began the year at No. 105 in the South African Airways ATP 2009 Rankings but through steady results – including a recent run to the Eastbourne quarter-finals - had moved to No. 67. He said his mother deserves much of the praise for his success.

“I am happy she is my coach. [I know] she wants to see my results, not [just] take my money. She works with me because I am her son.”

It’s a rarity for any ATP World Tour player to have a female coach, let alone a mother as his coach. Marat Safin was coached early in his career by mother Rausa and Jimmy Connors was coached early by his mother Gloria and grandmother Bertha.

Former Russian player Andrei Chesnokov was coached by Tatiana Naumko and, during the 1980s, the USTA’s new national coach Tim Mayotte traveled with Billie Jean King.

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