Emma Raducanu Needs The Freedom To Develop At Her Own Pace

The 19-year-old has split from Torben Beltz, her third coach in the space of a year
14:10, 26 Apr 2022

Change is a thing of nature, it happens all the time and sport is no different. For teams, players come and go, as do managers and owners, and the same applies to sports contested by individuals.

In tennis, it was revealed this weekend that young British star Emma Raducanu has split from Torben Beltz, her third coach in the space of a year, after just five months.

The 19-year-old was propelled to stardom last September after her historic triumph at the US Open. While the victory was thoroughly deserved, it's fair to say it was an anomaly. 

Raducanu is still in her adolescence on the WTA tour and many will be quick to say that her short-term stints with coaches are hindering her development and rhythm heading into tournaments as if she’s already in her mid-20s rather than the teenager still finding her way on the pro circuit. 

While it is surprising to see her part ways with the German coach, renowned for his work with compatriot Angelique Kerber, guiding her to the No. 1 ranking and her first two Grand Slam titles, it would seem that the dynamic that they had didn’t quite have the same impact with Raducanu… that’s life. 

Having already worked with Nigel Sears at Wimbledon last summer and then Andrew Richardson at Flushing Meadows, it will be interesting to see who the Bromley-based star’s next mentor will be but her eager supporters need to lower their expectations when a successor is appointed. She needs to be given the freedom to develop at her own pace and the only way that we’ll see improvements in her game is when she has found the perfect balance in a new coach and style she is confident with. As they say, patience is a virtue. 

EmmaRaducanuUSOpenchampion2021jpg

As she prepares for the Madrid Open this week, she will be trained by the LTA’s head of women’s coaching, Iain Bates, as no permanent coach is set to be appointed imminently. And that’s okay. We all need to remember that she is still young and there is no problem with someone with her lack of experience already having worked with three coaches. Following the announcement of the split with Beltz, the world No. 11 said a “new training model” was needed. It suggests she’s not been comfortable with the style of tennis that she has been showcasing since her Grand Slam victory. 

The only way she will be able to continue her growth on court is if she’s happy with her training and style of play. It may take another teacher or more before she can finally settle and feel confident heading into tournaments. Considering she’s got years of her career to look forward to, it’s better to try different methods now and when it comes for her to live up to expectation, she will not only be better-equipped but will be lauded for finding the right tutor who will have the potential to work with her for the rest of her career.

British tennis legend Sir Andy Murray has worked with ten coaches across his professional career, while Roger Federer and Serena Williams have had five and three respectively. Changing coaches is quite regular in tennis and if anything it highlights Raducanu’s character to be able to hold her hands up and say things aren’t working. Her determination to find a way of unlocking the best version of herself is exactly why she is British tennis’ hottest prospect.

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