A coach's commentary: Mark Knowles talks about coaching Jessica Pegula while commentating her match

While commentating Pegula's San Diego quarterfinal match, Knowles added some insight on the new coaching relationship
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Times have changed in many ways. For those of us old enough to remember when John McEnroe was coaching Milos Raonic, he got unnecessary backlash for also commentating on his matches. Fast forward a few years and Mark Knowles, one of Jessica Pegula's new coaches, was the Tennis Channel commentator for her match against Anna Blinkova on Friday night.

Immediately, Knowles being at the microphone made this three-set quarterfinal win for Pegula even more interesting. Tracy Austin, who was calling the match with Knowles, began peppering him with questions that all tennis fans wanted to know.

Because Pegula has two coaches (named Mark) in her new collaborative arrangement, Mark Merklein was sitting in her box for the match.

What Knowles said

Kudos to Tracy Austin for letting the proverbial cat out of the bag for fans unaware that Knowles was one of Pegula's new coaches. She asked him how the coaching relationship came about. He explained that he got a phone call and that his relationship with Pegula was friendly because she attended his Bahamas benefit tournament for the past few years.

Knowles also suggested a collaborative relationship with Merklein because his other commitments would not allow him to coach her full-time. He mentioned that she was in Dallas last week and is a very hard worker that he had to peel off the practice court.

He added that he was excited to work with her because she is so talented. He praised her former coach David Witt for their successful partnership. When Tracy asked what could be improved, he was guarded with the answer but indicated a faster serve in the women's game is always a plus. Knowles also talked about how many matches she played in the past couple of years in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, (over 110 in 2022 and 2023), too many to allow sufficient rest and time to reflect on her game and how to get better. It sounded as though her mixed doubles career was likely over to reduce the match count.

For fans who wonder what the coach is thinking as he or she watches the tennis player, we got a sneak peek during Pegula's match against Blinkova. It is unusual but perhaps becoming more normal since so many former players wear multiple hats working on television and coaching players.

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