Emma Raducanu’s US Open win will go down as one of the best sporting achievements of the century, but as she basks in the glory of the win, she must be thankful for the team around her that have helped steer her from relative unknown into a Grand Slam winner.
From the age of 16, she was mentored and coached by Andy Murray’s father-in-law and internationally renowned tennis coach Nigel Sears. But despite his obvious qualities, after her breakthrough appearance at Wimbledon she took the brave decision to swap coaches, and move back to a coach from her youth, Andrew Richardson.
Richardson is a man who has known Raducanu since she was 11 and has seen her grow into the powerful woman she is today. But the British star has also spoken about how he is the one who can calm her down on court when she is getting too fired up in key moments, something that we saw in action on court throughout the US Open.
Having won the Grand Slam event without dropping a set, things rarely looked perilous for the 18-year-old, but Richardson appears to have helped her stay focused on each point, rather than any mitigating circumstances that could disrupt her flow. It was telling that when she was struggling to see out the final against Leylah Fernandez and cut her knee, she returned from that injury break with a stronger mentality, seemingly refreshed to see out the championship.
Her current coach is also incredibly close friends with former British number one Tim Henman, and was even best man at his wedding, which could also explain why he was happy for Henman to give his own words of advice to Raducanu while working courtside for Amazon Prime. We’ve loved watching their relationship blossom over the past three weeks in particular as Henman encouraged her point by point, while she also turned to the former Wimbledon semi-finalist in celebration having won match point.
“What she has achieved, second Grand Slam and the way she has gone about it, she will win more of these, she is that good,” Henman commented on Amazon after the win.
“This is not some flash in the pan or fairy tale. She is playing top five tennis. Her world will be turned upside down but she has good people around her. It will be a hell of a ride if she can stay injury free.”
Along with agent Chris Helliar and physio Will Herbert, Raducanu kept her circle relatively tight during the three-week event, often spending her evening relaxing on her own in her hotel room, to avoid the hype that was building around her. But one point of note has been her constant tributes to those greats of British tennis that have gone before her.
In particular, the love shown to US Open winner from 1968 Virginia Wade, who watched her matches from the stands was touching. But it is a sign of the maturity of the teenager that she respects those that have gone before her so much, even if it has still not sunk in that she will be talked about as a British great just like Wade is, after her stunning win in New York.
She’s now up to 23rd in the world, a rise of 127 places in the last few weeks and her career earnings have ballooned this season, as she scooped $2.5m for winning the championship. But this team around our newest British star seems able to keep her feet on the ground come what may. She now has a bit of time to compose herself and relax before she goes for the Australian Open in January but with such a tight-knit team around her and a coach in Andrew Richardson that knows all of her strengths and weakness, Raducanu should be able to create more success for herself in 2022.