Emma Raducanu must learn to enjoy her game and settle on a coach, says tennis doyenne Sue Barker
Emma Raducanu has the “game and mindset” to return to the top of women’s tennis, but former French Open champion and tennis presenter Sue Barker has highlighted two things she needs do to turn around her flagging fortunes.
Raducanu was the toast of the tennis world in September last year when she became the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam – notching up 10 victories in a row without dropping a set to win the US Open at Flushing Meadows at the age of 18.
She surged up the WTA Rankings and into the world top 20 and eventually reached a career-high No 10 earlier this season.
However, she has struggled with form and injury for most part of the year as she failed to put together a decent run of form. Her US Open title defence came to a shuddering halt in the first round in August and she slumped to outside the top 80.
After stringing three wins together at the Slovenia Open she moved back into the top 60, but she retired from her semi-final clash against Jelena Ostapenko in the third set due to a glute injury. She then lost her opening matches at the Korea Open this week before withdrawing from next week’s Transylvania Open due to a wrist injury.
Despite her stuttering form, former world No 3 Barker – who won 15 singles titles – feels the 19-year-old has all the right tools, but needs to start enjoying the sport.
“She’s got the game and she’s shown she’s got the mindset and physically she’s fabulous,” she told The Telegraph.
“I mean, I don’t know about the injuries and what’s happening with those, but she got through the US Open from qualifying.
“I feel that she’s got all the attributes. Now she’s got to learn how to win and maybe how to enjoy it.”
Another aspect that former BBC presenter Barker believes Raducanu needs to address is her coaching situation.
The teenager has gone through several coaches in the space of a year and she is currently working with Dmitry Tursunov, but Barker says it is time for her to end the merry-go-round as she is putting unnecessary pressure on herself.
“I feel she needs one person that she really trusts and believes in,” Barker said. “Every coach comes in with a different mindset, a different way of wanting to play and a different way of teaching, and to me, that would be totally confusing.
“It would be disruptive before it became effective, but I also feel that the pressure that she’s been put under has just been immense.”
Raducanu and Tursuno have had some success since teaming up in July and they have had success as the British No 1 beat former world No 1s Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka at the Cincinnati Masters while her semi-final in Slovenia was her first last-four appearance since her US Open title run.
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