Tennis player aided by notebook at Pan Am Games

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Puerto Rican tennis player Monica Puig found a way to get some words of advice from her coach without even speaking to him.

Puig, who beat Adriana Perez of Venezuela 6-0, 7-5 Tuesday in the second round of the Pan American Games tennis tournament, pulled a notebook out of her bag and read from it during changeovers.

''We write everything down the night before, then during the matches I go over the information,'' the 264th-ranked Puig said. ''It helps keep me focused on my game plan.''

During nearly every changeover, Puig grabbed her towel, took a sip of water and then pulled the diary-like notebook out of her tennis bag. Big paper clips allowed her to go easily to the page she wanted.

For Tuesday's match, the notebook had a small court designed on one page, with arrows pointing to where she needed to serve and play her shots. It also had small paragraphs with tactical and motivational notes.

''It's usually small pointers to keep me focused,'' said the 18-year-old Puig, ranked seventh at the Pan Am Games. ''They help me settle down and stay in the moment.''

Coach Alain De Vos, who has been training Puig for the last four years, said it's the only way he can help her during matches. They study each opponent ahead of time and write down the game plan the night before. They usually go over it again in the morning and during the final practice.

''This keeps her from losing control, from getting distracted,'' De Vos said. ''It keeps her from drifting off and thinking about other things.''

Puig said there is no ''Plan B'' in her notebook, nothing that would give her different options when things go wrong.

''If something is not going well I have to figure out a way to change the game myself,'' she said, noting that she has been using the notebook since she started being coached by De Vos.

Puig, however, said the notes didn't really help when she was down 5-2 in the second set against the 377th-ranked Perez on Tuesday. But the coaching she received then was simple: ''I kept looking at my coach and I saw that he wasn't frustrated or upset,'' she said. ''So I just kept my calm and things eventually started working my way again.''

Tennis officials said Puig is not doing anything illegal by reading from her notebook.

''Players are not allowed to use any electronic device or receive notes from someone else during the matches,'' event supervisor Javier Sansierra said. ''It is not a problem if she is reading from something that she brought in before the match.''

Tennis at the Pan Am Games is being played by 46 men and 34 women. Horacio Zeballos of Argentina is the top-seeded player in the men's tournament and Christina McHale of the United States is the top-seeded player on the women's side.


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