For much of the past few months, as Emma Raducanu traveled the world without a permanent coach and assured anyone who asked her that she could succeed in full control of her destiny, her decisions were given careful consideration. strong and constant. She may have now addressed those concerns, but there will be no end to the inspection of her choices.
This week, Raducanu tapped the coaching talents of former ATP top-20 player Dmitry Tursunov for a trial period ahead of the North American hard-court swing and his UEFA title defense. US Open. Tursunov’s hiring drew heavy criticism over his decision to work alongside a Russian as the invasion of Ukraine continues.
It’s another example of the scrutiny that has surrounded Raducanu’s every move since winning the US Open. If she wants to have a chance to continue her breakthrough and pursue a successful career, she will have to block everything.
Raducanu counts politicians among those watching her. Chris Bryant, a Labor MP, told the Telegraph: ‘The Kremlin will describe this as a public relations coup and an indication that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine so it will be a real shame. if Emma goes ahead with this.”
Three weeks ago, despite Wimbledon’s efforts to ban Russian and Belarus players from their event, a decision that resulted in hefty fines from the WTA and legal appeals in response, the tournament s ended with the victory of a player of Russian origin residing in Moscow. the title of the ladies’ singles.
Even though Elena Rybakina’s success representing Kazakhstan is a damning condemnation of the Russian tennis system that failed her, Wimbledon found herself at the mercy of the Russian propaganda she had worked so hard to avoid. . “Bravo Rybakina. We won the Wimbledon tournament,” said Shamil Tarpischev, the disgraced president of the Russian Tennis Federation.
This should have been a lesson for all. There are few things that Russian propaganda cannot twist to fit its narrative. In this case, a private citizen engaging the private services of an independent contractor who is Russian, in the mere hope of improving his career, should not be cause for indignation or controversy.
What is clear is that Raducanu endured a brutal first full season on the WTA Tour, with a string of injuries including a side injury that wiped out most of his season on grass. She has won nine games and lost 12 games this year, and now faces the pressure and difficulty of a Grand Slam defense.
As she heads to the United States, Raducanu has chosen a proven trainer for a trial. Tursunov had notable success in his short training period. In his first high-profile duet, with Aryna Sabalenka in 2018, he guided the Belarusian from 45th to 9th in the world before going their separate ways at the end of the following year.
Last season, Tursunov pulled off an even more impressive feat with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, moving her from 29th to second place when they parted ways after the French Open last month. Their partnership began with a surprising streak of 28 wins and two losses at the end of last year, including four titles.
The reason for their split should be of much more interest to Raducanu: Tursunov was often unable to travel with Kontaveit during their final months together due to visa issues.
As a player, Tursunov was popular and known for speaking out in interviews. Last November, he gave his own rough take on Raducanu’s coaching situation. “If someone on her team called me now and asked if I wanted to train her, I would be shaking with fear because you don’t know when you’ll be fired,” he said. Finally, he took the call.