the Emma Raducanu coaching merry-go-round shows no signs of slowing down, with the British teen’s latest move raising eyebrows.
Defending US Open champion Raducanu has appointed Russian Dmitry Tursunov, in her latest bid to rediscover the form that saw her clinch a remarkable maiden grand slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2021.
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The 19-year-old will be accompanied by Tursunov at next week’s Citi Open in Washington DC, in what shapes as an important tune-up for US Open, beginning at the end of August.
Considering Wimbledon’s controversial ban on Russian players, Raducanu’s decision to appoint Tursunov has already ruffled feathers, particularly from within the All England Club.
British MP Chris Bryant, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, warned Raducanu about the potential effects the appointment could have.
“The Kremlin will portray this as a PR coup and an indication that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine, so it’ll be a real shame if Emma goes ahead with this,” Bryant told the UK’s Telegraph Sport.
“I urge her to think again and at the very least to condemn Putin’s barbaric war.”
Tursunov recently coached Anett Kontaveit and helped take the Estonian into the world’s top 10.
However, the Russian mentor split with World No.2 Kontaveit before the grass-court swing after effectively being blocked from entering Britain.
It’s understood any Russian or Belarusian coach taking part in Wimbledon or the other lead-up events in the UK had to denounce the invasion of the Ukraine before being allowed to enter the country.
Kontaveit told Estonian public broadcaster ERR at the time: “The reason is that, since he has a Russian passport, it is very difficult for him to get visas at the moment, meaning he can’t accompany me to many tournaments. I still feel I need a coach who can accompany me and who does not have so many practical issues.
“There was a lack of such security, given the situation. He could not come to America with me in March, and now he had a visa problem in relation to England. The visa process was very complicated for him.”
Emma Raducanu turns to fourth coach in 13 months
Tursunov will become Raducanu’s fourth coach in just 13 months, with tennis great John McEnroe warning the 19-year-old that she needs to find stability before sustained success can be achieved.
“No one wins a major if they are not a great player and hopefully she has belief, but a lot has changed for her since then.
“I”m not close to her. Infact. As a matter of fact, I’ve never spoken to her. I hope to have the opportunity soon because she is obviously a breath of fresh air. She is a very sweet girl, a beautiful girl and plays great tennis. What’s not to like.
“It has been hard to watch her struggling, but I don’t know if she needs time. She needs the right stability and people around her and I don’t know what’s going on there.
“You don’t go through a tournament where you don’t lose a single set and beat some of the top female players and not be a great player.”
Raducanu shot to stardom in 2021 after becoming the first qualifier ever to win the US Open after a dream run.
Since the British teenager became one of the biggest names in tennis, she has been unable to settle on a long-term mentor to coach her.
Raducanu split with coach Torben Beltz in April, despite the pair spending just five months together.
She then went to Roland Garros without a coach after announcing that she was trying a “new training model” that involved support from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and meetings with consultants.
Raducanu replaced Nigel Sears with Andrew Richardson after his breakthrough run at Wimbledon in 2021, then decided not to renew the latter’s contract despite the fact he guided her to a historic victory at the US Open as a qualifier.
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