Emma Raducanu urged to have ‘fun’ and ‘ride the wave of youth and confidence’
Young players like Emma Raducanu should have “fun on and off the court” and they should be allowed to develop in their own time instead of being shaped by coaches, according to former world No 1 Mats Wilander.
Having parted ways with Andrew Richardson shortly after winning the US Open at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu’s search for a new coach became a hot topic in the tennis community.
The hunt came to an end at the beginning of November when she confirmed that the experienced Torben Beltz, who had previously worked with former world No 1 Angelique Kerber, would be her new mentor.
However, seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander believes she should not have rushed into appointing a new coach and should have forged her own path first.
“We mustn’t forget that it wasn’t like we didn’t know who she was. We knew she had a huge game,” told Eurosport.
“They [young players] need to play the way they want to play, and they need to find out how good they are, and they need to ride the wave of youth and confidence for as far as they can before you start hiring coaches that have helped players to win Grand Slams. She knows how to win a Grand Slam. She won one.
“She needs to have fun, she needs to be allowed to do what she wants to do off and on the tennis court, and she needs to develop in her own time and not to force coaches on her.
“I’m not saying that Torben Beltz is not… he’s a great coach, he obviously coached Angie Kerber for a long time. I believe it helped her win Grand Slam tournaments, but Angie Kerber knew how to do that anyway.”
Wilander used Alexander Zverev as an example of forcing an experienced coach on a young player as the German tried various other former players including Ivan Lendl, Juan Carlos Ferrero and David Ferrer.
The 24-year-old has opted to keep his father Alexander Senior as his sole coach for the majority of the 2021 season and it yielded great results as he won the season-ending ATP Finals and gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I just feel it’s unnecessary to take coaches that have experience when you are dealing with an 18 year old who is fresh, who is so full of life,” the Swede said.
“We’ve got to let these kids grow up before you try to shape them. Otherwise, there’s a very, very big chance that people are going to be what stops Emma from developing into a great player.
“I think she needs to be allowed to do that herself. We saw with Sascha Zverev – Ivan Lendl did not help Sascha Zverev at all! He was forced to try with these superstar coaches. It doesn’t work for an 18-year-old.
“They need to grow up in their own time and with Emma Raducanu, I’m sorry, but it’s not a good idea to have too many voices in her head. The only voice she needs to listen to is her own.”
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