MIKE DICKSON: Emma Raducanu needs more consistency off the court with her coaches
MIKE DICKSON: Emma Raducanu needs more consistency off the field with her coaches to enjoy more success in Grand Slams
Andy Murray once predicted that a young Caroline Garcia would become the number 1 in the world.
Supposedly, the companies that have invested millions in sponsoring Emma Raducanu got similar predictions from experts about the long-term potential of the British teenager.
Murray has just been knocked out so far on Garcia, who has peaked at number 4 and played closer to that when she knocked out Raducanu than on her current list of 55.
Emma Raducanu needs more consistency with her coaches to be more successful
Of course, Raducanu has already bagged a US Open title, something that is forever. Whether she will eventually show up as someone who lives in the top five has no such guarantee.
Chances are she will, given the time, but not unless she takes in the lessons that have kept coming thick and fast after Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu has since likened her experience to a gap year, albeit a more extraordinary one than some of her contemporaries at her selective grammar school in Kent will have had.
What the UK No. 1 should have inferred from her unique experiences is the need for stability, especially with physical training and body maintenance.
Raducanu looked underpowered and her opponent Caroline Garcia had more variety
All the evidence was there on Center Court. Garcia’s first serve was 10 mph faster and her groundstrokes hit the ball with much more potential.
Her game also had more variety, winning 16 out of 20 points as she approached the net. Other than the two breaks she gave up, she was excellent.
Raducanu looked underpowered by comparison, although she can point to the side load that got in the way of her preparation for Wimbledon.
In her ever-changing support box, only one figure of New York’s triumph remained. Such was Iain Bates, the head of women’s tennis for the Lawn Tennis Association, a familiar place amid the whirl of coaching staff.
Elsewhere in the stands was her New York-based physical therapist Will Herbert, who has returned to his more general role on the governing body’s performance team. Andrew Richardson, the quickly dismissed coach from the American trip, was working in Spain at a junior tournament.
Andrew Richardson played a key role in Emma Raducanu’s US Open success, but did not get his coaching arrangement renewed
It’s not immediately clear what the future involvement will be for Jane O’Donoghue, who has been helping Raducanu for the past few weeks. A former LTA employee, she now has a career in finance at the Royal Bank of Canada in London. But then not much is settled around the prize trump of the British game, which can no longer rely on the shock of the new.
As Garcia, who beat her in March, noted, “When you’re young and rising and nobody knows you, it’s always positive on your side. It’s pretty hard to find videos of good quality matches where you can see what they’re doing. And then of course everyone knows you.’
It is hoped that Raducanu has found a more consistent way forward for her next tournament
Raducanu’s next tournament is the Washington Open in late July, and you hope she’ll have found a more consistent way forward by then.
The requirements for coaching are an individual matter, and Raducanu clearly believes that she has to work things out for herself. That could pay off in the long run, but steps are underway to legalize the provision of advice from the gallery.
What is non-negotiable is acquiring strength and stamina to withstand the rigors of the tour. A performance plan should be established rather than a series of ad hoc arrangements.
This will hopefully prevent the regular physical setbacks that had limited her to seven competitive tennis matches in a month.
“It’s just great for me to get all these lessons at such a young age, so that when I’m in my mid-20s, I’ve fixed those issues or little glitches in my game,” she said.
Raducanu may be young, but she can’t wait until then. If the penny drops faster, she’ll have much better Grand Slam experiences than this one.