British tennis star Emma Raducanu, 19, has discussed cooperating with Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov after the two bonded over the summer.
Raducanu shot to fame last year when she claimed victory at the 2021 US Open, becoming the first woman to win a Grand Slam singles title as a qualifier, but parted ways with coach Torben Beltz in April after just five months of working together – a situation that led her to seek her fourth coach in the space of just a year.
Her search for coaching consistency recently led her to Tursunov, the former world number 20 who helped develop the games of Elena Vesnina and Aryna Sabalenka.
And while Raducanu is keen to stress that her partnership with the 39-year-old Moscow native remains on trial, she says Tursunov has already made a positive impact in his side.
“He definitely has a good sense of humor, and he definitely tries to make things easier for me.,” she says.
“I put a lot of emphasis on everything I do, and I want to do it the best I can all the time.
“You know, he’s just slowly trying to move me towards, If it’s not perfect, it’s fine. Like, if you hit one, it’s good. Just that kind of stuff, and being more tolerant of that.”
British tennis star taps Russian coach for US Open defense – media
Raducanu was speaking after her first-round victory at the Washington Open, where she beat Louisa Chirico in straight sets and credited Tursenov with helping her overcome the mental hurdles that sometimes marred her performances.
“Yeah, that definitely helped I think in today’s match, because things weren’t perfect,”, explained Raducanu.
“I wasn’t playing amazing tennis, but I accepted and just fought until the end.”
The teenager added that she felt like she was developing in all aspects and that she had learned that she could not hold onto expectations if she had to give her best on the ground.
“I feel wiser now compared to, like, right after the US Open and the start of this year, because I think no matter what I said, I probably had, you know, certain expectations of myself who were probably a little twisted,” she says.
“And now I sincerely accept it. Alright, it’s not going to be necessarily or easy enough, but I’m 100% okay with starting over, to be honest. Like my ranking drops to 1000 and whatever, then I don’t care.
“I know as a US Open champion I’m going to kind of get back up there. It’s gonna take a little while maybe, but, yeah, I’m just really, you know, coming to terms with this and I can’t wait to take the journey it’s going to take..”
However, not everyone is so enthusiastic about Raducanu’s connection to Tursunov – something that came in the shadow of the ban imposed by English tennis officials at Wimbledon on Russian players.
British MP Chris Bryant claimed that Russia would use the Raducanu-Tursunov partnership for propaganda purposes if the relationship prospers.
“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 such a shame if Emma goes ahead.“Bryant said.
“I urge him to think again and at the very least condemn Putin’s barbaric war. It’s shocking to see a Russian coach Britain’s rising number one star.”
Raducanu plays Camila Osorio in the next round of the Washington Open.
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