Emma Raducanu warned new coach will lead to her being used as 'propaganda' by Putin

Raducanu coach

Emma Raducanu has been warned that her new partnership with Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov could be used as a propaganda tool by Vladimir Putin. 

Raducanu’s team confirmed the Brit would start working with Tursunov on a trial basis during the upcoming American swing, as she bids to defend her US Open title. 

But Chris Bryant, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Russia has warned the teenager to scrap working with the Russian, amid fears the Kremlin may frame the partnership to fit a narrative that suits them. 

Speaking to Telegraph Sport, he said: “The Kremlin will portray this as a PR coup and an indication that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine, so It’ll be a real shame if Emma goes ahead with this.

“I urge her to think again and at the very least to condemn Putin’s barbaric war.”

Tursunov is the former coach of world number two Anett Kontaveit and was allegedly from blocked from entering the UK this summer ahead of Wimbledon. 

It is understood that any Russian or Belarusian coach wishing to attend Wimbledon and other warm-up events in the UK had to sign a declaration denouncing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Kontaveit split with Tursunov at the start of the grass-court season, citing his inability to travel to America and his “visa problem” as the reason for parting ways. 

Anett Kontaveit

Who is Tursunov? 

Tursunov is a former Russian tennis player, who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in both 2005 and 2006. 

He won seven career titles during his career, including the Eastbourne International in 2009. 

The 39-year-old was also part of the Russian team that won the Davis Cup in 2006 and reached the final the following year. 

Tursunov

After retiring in 2017, he moved to coaching and started working with the likes of Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Vesnina. 

In August 2021, he began working with Kontaveit and the two enjoyed immediate success with one another. 

In October of last year, the Estonian won back-to-back titles at the Kremlin Cup and the Transylvania Open, before reaching the final of the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. 

LTA decline to comment 

The Lawn Tennis Association have not commented on Raducanu’s new coaching appointment. 

However, Julian Knight, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee, told the Telegraph that: “It does jar to see a Russian coaching Britain’s number one rising star.

“You would hope that the LTA would show some leadership on this and be able to advise Emma what is the best course of action,” he continued. 

Emma Raducanu

US Open fast approaching

It’s been almost a year since Raducanu’s unprecedented and unlikely triumph at the US Open. 

Raducanu

Since then, the Brit has not had it easy and has trialled multiple coaches after splitting with Andrew Richardson.

So far this year, Raducanu has failed to make it to the third round of any Grand Slam, despite climbing to 10th in the latest WTA rankings.

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