John McEnroe questions Emma Raducanu’s controversial coaching move
Emma Raducanu made a disappointing exit in the second round of the French Open and she was then greeted by a critical review by tennis great John McEnroe.
The US Open champion was unable to convert five break points at 1-1 in the decider, and that game proved pivotal as Sasnovich went on to wrap up a 3-6 6-1 6-1 victory and reach the third round for the first time.
While she found some positives in her performances in Paris, tennis legend McEnroe questioned some of the decisions made by the teenager in the last year, especially her decision o replace coach Andrew Richardson after he oversaw her US Open win.
“Honestly, if I won the US Open having gone through qualifying, I wouldn’t change my coach at least for the next year, so I don’t understand that move,” McEnroe told Eurosport.
“Obviously her parents are involved and they know more than I know. But this idea of a revolving door of coaches I just don’t think that’s good for any player, much less so for a player at this stage of her career. We have to wait and see and hopefully she finds someone she can stick with for a while.
“We have got to keep a little perspective here. At Wimbledon last year she was unable to finish a match because of stress and it got to be too much for her. Then she came out and did something that no one has ever done – man or woman – in 150 years of tennis, coming from the qualifying and winning. All of a sudden, there is this pressure on her, this expectation, that has gotten a little bit overwhelming as well. She has changed coaches, three, four or five times which is unbelievable for someone who has just come off winning a major.
“I think movement is an issue for her, obviously experience, she is still very young. She has sort of put herself in a difficult position because a lot is expected of her and with the people around her, we are not sure if she is comfortable with them just yet. Hopefully in the next year or two she will find that.”
Tennis great Chris Evert offered an alternative view to McEnroe, as she defending Raducanu’s coaching moves.
“Everybody’s goal and everybody’s dream is to find that right person who can be your coach,” she told Eurosport. “Obviously she has not found the right person, it’s very radical what she is doing, she has three or four people that are helping her. For me, that would be very confusing.
“I like to make things very simple when I was on tour, one coach who you can trust and respect. If my coach wanted to bring someone in to help me with my serve, then they would do that. I had no problem with that. It is whatever works for her, I cannot make any judgements.
“But I do think at some point she will have one coach, because I think she will figure it out that it is easier mentally, emotionally and physically just to have one person that you can really trust, answer to, and collaborate with.
“Let’s also remember she hasn’t played that much on red clay either, you can tell by the way she was moving, she wasn’t sliding comfortably, she wasn’t going in and out of corners very comfortably. You have got to hand it to her, she hasn’t had that experience.
“When you talk about her life and how it has changed, she is a superstar. Look what it did Naomi Osaka – where Naomi had to take a long break because it was not an easy transition.
“I just want to complement Emma as I think she has handed everything beautifully, I think she has taken everything in her stride, I think tennis is the number one priority for her, she has the ability ignore the naysayers who doubt her ability. She still has a huge ceiling and I think we all have to be patient with her.”
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