US Open champion Emma Raducanu is hopeful she’ll have a new coach in place when she competes in the Australian Open.
The British teenager caused a sensation when she won at Flushing Meadows earlier this year as a qualifier. Her success prompted a change of thought in terms of her coaching; she cut ties with former Davis Cup player Andrew Richardson, citing the need for a more experienced coach.
“After Wimbledon, I was ranked around 200 in the world,” The Guardian reports her as saying after the split. “It’s tough to have that conversation with anyone, but I need someone who’s had that professional tour experience, and has been through it, and seen players in my situation for many years, going through the same because it’s going to take a lot.”
She now looks set to appoint a new coach before the next Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, scheduled for 2021. She’s had a trial with Johanna Konta’s former coach Esteban Carril but has also spoken with others as she hunts the right person to help her reach the next stage of her career. Her most recent tournament, the Transylvania Open, saw her flying solo with an entourage consisting of physiotherapist Will Herbert, agent Chris Helliar and her father, Ian. That is a situation the 18-year-old will be hoping to rectify ahead of the Australian Open. She is the second favorite in the latest Coral tennis betting odds, behind Ashleigh Barty and level with Noami Osaka. If she reaches the latter stages, she will need someone with major tour experience in her corner.
“I am feeling optimistic about trying to have something in place for the off-season and the Australian Open. No, I haven’t decided on the coach. But things are moving forward,” Raducanu told Reuters ahead of the Romanian tournament. She also addressed the situation of going without a coach, claiming it would be a learning experience.
“I think having a coach is great, but you are on your own on the court. I don’t think it is great to be dependent. You need to coach yourself. That is something I am learning. Part of the experience I am having is being able to learn to coach myself. Sometimes it won’t always work, like in Indian Wells, but in the long-term, if I keep doing that, then I will be better in the situations in the future.”
Indian Wells was a disaster for Raducanu. After lifting the US Open, she went into the tournament as one of the favorites. Still, she was eliminated in the first round, losing 6-2, 6-4 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, despite not dropping a set at Flushing Meadows. She even surrendered a 4-2 lead in the first set in a difficult first outing since making history.
She’ll hope that getting an experienced coach on board will help her push forward in the bigger tournaments. Defeat at Indian Wells acted as a postscript to her historic win a couple of weeks before, but the waiting media won’t be so forgiving if the same happens in Melbourne in the first Grand Slam of 2022.