Emma Raducanu: Maria Sharapova’s old mentor warns coaches off working with Brit

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu’s search for a new coach could prove troublesome, according to Maria Sharapova’s former mentor, Michael Joyce.

The former American tennis player started training Sharapova in 2004 –– helping her win three Grand Slam titles and become the world number one.

In 2018, Joyce also coached Britain’s Johanna Konta, before splitting to mentor Canada’s, Eugenie Bouchard.

And now, the mastermind behind Sharapova’s rise to the top of women’s tennis has admitted he was shocked to find out Raducanu had parted ways with her coach.

The Brit announced her split with Andrew Richardson just weeks after her remarkable victory at the US Open and issued a plea for a more “experienced” coach.

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“I’d love to have someone with great experience right now by my side so if any experienced coaches are out there looking, you know where to find me,” she said after losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Indian Wells.

Joyce, however, is not convinced many coaches will be queuing up to work with the teenager.

“I was really surprised with the wording of the statement that was released when Emma announced she was splitting with Andrew Richardson, saying she felt she needed someone with Tour-level experience,” he said.

“I didn’t like the statement. If you have a good coach and it works well, then you’d think you would want to stick with them. Why would you want a big-name coach?

“She’s a great player but it’s going to be a tough job for the next coach, as expectations are high.
“If she goes to the Australian Open next year and goes out early, people will say it’s because of the coach.

“I’d known Maria for quite a long time before coaching her, as I was her hitting partner. We got to know each other, we were on a journey.

“It’s a tough one for whoever comes in and works with Emma as they won’t have that relationship and they will be under a lot of scrutiny.”

Raducanu

Raducanu sought the help of former British tennis player Jeremy Bates at Indian Wells, but her second-round defeat has done little to further his case as a potential full-time replacement.

Argentina’s Carlos Rodriguez, who previously worked with Belgian star Justine Henin, is the new favourite to land the job as things stand.

But Joyce says Raducanu should focus on dealing with the spotlight more than anything and should consider speaking to Sharapova for advice.

“Players can get on a hot streak, get in a zone and a bubble where everything just seems to come together. It’s how you react when that comes to an end.

“There are likely to be hiccups with such a young player, with expectations high and a superstar status to get used to.

“It can only help Emma to speak to Maria so I would encourage her to do that.”
Having left California, Raducanu is now on her way to Moscow, where she’ll compete in the Kremlin Cup next week.

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