Emma Raducanu’s Coaches Group and Why ‘Some Very Weird Things’ Might Come Off

Emma Radukano
Emma Raducano will make her French Open debut when the clay court Grand Slam begins on Sunday
dates: May 22 – June 5 place: Roland Garros, Paris
coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches via BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and app

Emma Radocano was seated at the A-levels during last year’s French Open – she is now 12th in the rankings as the US Open champion as she prepares to make her debut at Roland Garros.

where New York fairy tale, Raducanu has found it tough to come by and get fit – just like many 19-year-olds in their first full year on the tour.

But unlike most companies in this position, Raducanu coached frequently and managed to attract lucrative contracts with eight global brands.

I understandably struggled with the huge profile which I took on so quickly, and became more withdrawn than the others on the tour. So building a long-term relationship with a coach may seem beneficial, but this is not the traditional radokano method.

“I think they want someone who can challenge her tennis IQ, and there are very few people who can do that,” said one of the people familiar with the family.

Carousel of coaches

Nigel Sears left the scene after Raducanu reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last year, and Andrew Richardson was given a contract until the end of the US Open, which was ultimately not extended despite that memorable victory in September.

Torben Beltz was set in November, but Gone by the end of April Having supervised only 10 matches in the WTA.

The association’s head of women’s tennis, Ian Bates, traveled with Radocano to Madrid and Rome this month, but much of the technical work over the past six weeks has been done by Louis Keir, the association’s senior performance advisor.

Best known for his work with players in doubles such as Jamie Murray, Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski, Cayer has been credited with recent improvements to Raducanu’s technique. Both Emma and her father Ian are said to enjoy Cair’s approach to forensics and video analysis.

But perhaps the most important appointment of the year is Raducanu’s new partner. Raymond Sarmiento is training with her at the National Tennis Center in London this week and will be part of the team at Roland Garros – and for the foreseeable future, if all goes as planned.

The 29-year-old American was among the top 300 players in the world and was Raducanu’s partner at Indian Wells last October.

Raducanu’s approach to training

“You can’t keep going left and right,” said an insider I spoke to recently. A recurring fear is that coaches will no longer be tempted by the short-term nature of any role with Raducanu.

But another does not see it like that at all.

“They drain the resources and knowledge of coaches very quickly, so they obviously want the next coach,” they said.

“When people do things differently, the whole world looks at it and thinks it’s strange, because no one has done it this way before.

“But I’m not that suspicious because I’ve seen a lot of people do some very strange things, and they turn out to be gold mines.”

Raducanu’s approach to training was well summed up by another observer who knows the family.

“If the coach doesn’t work, it will,” they said.

“So I was not surprised by Turbine [Beltz] Go and see how she plays. I didn’t really feel like it made any kind of improvement.

“She’s obviously tough and there will be a series of coaches by the end of her career, I’m sure.

“But there is also another aspect. I have always found them to be remarkably disrespectful to people who probably shouldn’t. Their attitude is that they might have one little piece of gold, and Ian will investigate them for an hour until they find he-she.”

“I think they want someone who can challenge her tennis IQ and there are very few people who can do that. I think it’s very difficult for them to understand and assimilate.

“I think they signed up with the coaches, and then they were very disappointed, because they don’t know as much as they thought they did.”

The father who differs in opinion

Ian Raducanu is said to have a “persistent thirst for information” by one tennis insider, but by another “obsessed with peripheral detail”.

When asked how best to describe it, some of the adjectives chosen in response were “demanding, analytical, opinionated, and elegant.”

He’s been very hard on his daughter in the past. Some refer to emotional blackmail, talking about Emma’s tears and Ian’s periods of silence.

British gamer Naomi Brody, whose father Simon has always been the dominant figure in her career (and who has not spoken to son Liam for three years), is a strong parental involvement a huge advantage.

“Emma and I wanted to play doubles together on the grass last summer,” she said.

Her wrist was a little sore and her father said she would not play doubles in Nottingham.

“She was an assertive ‘No’ and I actually texted Emma that night and said I know sometimes it’s going to be really hard but always remember that every decision he makes will be in your favour. He’ll be the one person you won’t have to question his motives” .

Raducanu is also very curious and analytical, and can hold strong opinions. She is expected to develop greater independence from her father over the next two years, but he will remain an influential figure in her career.

“I would say Emma is the one who makes the decision, but he is, and always will be, a very big influence. It’s not like she would make a decision without discussing it with him, but I know she made decisions he didn’t necessarily agree with,” is how someone sums it up.

The road ahead

Emma Radukano
Raducanu has needed medical treatment in court several times this year

A Grand Slam title at 18, and a world ranking of 12 at 19, opens a lot of doors – but the expectations and profile associated with it are a heavy cross.

Signing deals with eight major companies takes overdraft fees out of the equation, but brings with it an expectation of performance and a good number of corporate days.

The US Open champion seemed to be particularly busy in the first few months of this year. It depends on personal experience, and the testimony of others who said she didn’t always reply with messages, and seemed less responsive to those who did their best to make her feel welcome.

Nothing remotely surprising. Especially if you remember that in February a 35-year-old man A five-year restraining order was issued to take unwanted trips to her family’s home.

Raducanu’s outlook appears to have improved in recent weeks – undoubtedly helped by five victories on the mud, where he debuted. Based on this year’s results alone, she’s just outside the top 50 teenage list – making her the fourth most successful teen in the world.

The back injury that forced her to retire from the Italian Open remains frustrating, as is the hip problem and recurring blisters earlier in the season. Raducanu will likely learn to highlight injuries less as she gets older, but it’s not uncommon at this point in her career – especially since a crucial pre-season training block in December was devastated after she tested positive for Covid.

“Her tennis ability precedes her physical development,” was the way one insider put it.

The feeling in sports is that when her body catches up, Emma Raducano can stop.

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