Top coaches afraid to sign up with trigger-happy Emma Raducanu says her agent

British tennis player Emma Raducanu poses in the Evian VIP Suite At Wimbledon 2023

British tennis player Emma Raducanu poses in the Evian VIP Suite At Wimbledon 2023 – Getty Images Europe

Emma Raducanu’s agent has predicted that she will keep changing coaches every four or five months for the remainder of her career – with the possible side-effect of scaring off future candidates for the role.

IMG’s senior vice-president Max Eisenbud explained that Raducanu and her father Ian are responsible for her rapid coaching turnover, which has already seen five full-time appointments come and go in the space of two years.

But Eisenbud also stressed that this has been a successful method from Raducanu’s junior days onwards, helping to carry her to the 2021 US Open title.

“Her dad and Emma control all the coaching stuff,” Eisenbud told the Tennis Podcast in an interview published on Monday. “That’s been their philosophy all the way up through the juniors – that they never had coaches a long time – so for them that’s calm waters: having a coach for four to five months and then going on to someone else.

“That’s not traditional,” added Eisenbud, 51. “I think people have a hard time understanding how you can get to the fourth round of Wimbledon [in 2021] and then you don’t keep working with Nigel Sears, who is a great coach and a great guy. People when she stopped working with Nigel were killing her – and then she won the US Open.

“Okay, then she changes coaches again. Now Andrew Richardson is a great guy and a very good coach and he was definitely part of that success, but so was Tim Henman, who was helping her a lot, and quite frankly her dad was the one who was putting in a lot of the gameplans for the matches.

“So it [the pattern of short coaching tenures] doesn’t look great for the people who want everything to be wrapped up in a perfect bow. But for the family, it’s just the way they’ve always done it. People just need to get over the fact that that’s what she’s gonna do. It’s probably gonna be like that for the rest of her career, because that’s what’s comfortable for them.

“Her and her dad have their own philosophy. Richard Williams [the father of Venus and Serena Williams] had his own philosophy when he came on. I understand that it’s uncomfortable. I understand that it doesn’t fit in this pretty box that everyone wants it to. But if Emma Raducanu’s biggest issue is that she changes coaches every four months, I’ll sign up for that.”

Vodafone ambassador Emma Raducanu at work

Vodafone ambassador Emma Raducanu at work – craigstrydom

Eisenbud was then asked whether he thought that Raducanu – whose coaching roster includes not only Sears and Richardson but Torben Beltz, Dmitry Tursunov and Sebastian Sachs – will struggle to hire replacements in the future. He replied “I would think there are probably coaches who might be afraid to take the shot because they’ve seen a track record.”

Raducanu has been missing from the tour since late May and is still recuperating from surgery on both wrists and one ankle. But Eisenbud – whose career took off when his first client Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 – insists that Raducanu will win more grand-slam titles.

He also denies that her nine commercial partners – who include Porsche, Vodafone and Dior – have been a factor in her drop outside the world’s top 100 this summer.

“I don’t think anything would have changed if we did zero deals,” said Eisenbud. “Most people think that she is shooting [adverts and promotions] all the time, that’s not the case. The days that she is shooting are very mapped out. She is a hard worker, she is never skipping practices. But I understand why people see all the sponsors, they see all the money, they have a platform on social [media] and they wanna take shots.

“I don’t think any perceived issues with her tennis game is because the coaching wasn’t right,” Eisenbud added. “I think it’s because she went through an enormous event, which just rocked her world. She won US Open and started playing big tournaments, and she didn’t even know where the player lounge was or the locker room was. If she had the greatest coach of all time, if [legendary Australian] Harry Hopman came back and lived with her and stayed with her, I don’t think anything would have been different.

“If you look from Sharapova, most of the teenagers that won, it took them two years to win again. She skipped many steps and many experiences. I’m not surprised by any of the up and down tennis. I wouldn’t bet against her. She’s going to figure this all out. She’s young [21 this coming November]. You don’t just accidentally win the US Open the way she did. You have to be great to do what she did.

“Do I think that she will be in the top five in the world for 20 years? I don’t think so, I don’t think she is that. But I think she will win more grand slams, and she will compete to be in the top when things settle down.”

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