US Open: Defending champion Raducanu needs a 'settled coach' – Lloyd

By Sports Desk August 29, 2022

Emma Raducanu can deal with the high expectations around her but needs to find a coach and stick with them, according to former British number one John Lloyd.

Raducanu is set to defend her US Open title at Flushing Meadows as the final grand slam of the year gets underway on Monday.

The teenager's sensational success at the 2021 tournament as a qualifier came from nowhere, but she has been unable to replicate it since, having not won any further singles titles.

In fact, she has not even been beyond the quarter-finals of any slam or WTA Tour event since her extraordinary success.

Lloyd still struggles to comprehend her achievement.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Lloyd said: "When you win a slam the expectations are going to go through the roof, that's just the way it is.

"She achieved something, I'd liken it to Rocky, it was very similar. People have sent me film scripts like the one Wimbledon, the tennis film that came out, and I told the person, they sent me the script six months before, I said, 'This is stupid, stop coming up with these movies where you get some guy or woman comes up from the qualifiers and wins a grand slam, it doesn't happen, it's stupid, it's never going to happen.' And then she goes and does it.

"What she achieved was amazing, but she did it almost like getting an A in a test without doing the homework. She really didn't do the homework to get there.

"She hasn't done the miles yet, and her body hasn't, the toughness hasn't come. She went above it before she was ready in some ways, but she's already got it, that's in her pocket now. She is a slam winner and no-one can take that away from her.

"The expectations are unbelievably high, and they're going be and she has to face that fact, she can’t hide it, she's a slam winner so people are going to expect, but people in the game know that it was going be a tough year [for her]."

The 19-year-old split from her coach Torben Beltz in April after just six months, saying she needed "a new training model" and she has been working with Dmitry Tursunov on a trial basis in the last month.

Beltz became the third coach to move on from working with Raducanu in just 12 months after she swapped Nigel Sears for Andrew Richardson, who had been in her corner at last year's US Open.

Lloyd acknowledges there is not necessarily a right way to do things in tennis, though he is certainly not convinced by Raducanu's approach of choosing a new coach every few months.

"I'm not a big fan of the coaching situation," Lloyd added. "After what Richard Williams did [coaching Venus and Serena Williams] … to say that there's a norm, he threw that out the window.

"What they're doing now in coaching is almost like they're getting hold of coaches, soaking up like a sponge all the information they have and then they go onto the next. I don't think that works in tennis. I could be proved wrong, but I don't think that's right.

"You have to have coaches that you trust completely, because I think a lot of winning matches – I don't want to give too much credit to coaches because it's the person on the court that does the work – but I think a lot of matches are won by the night before the match, and even the morning of the match… you have a trust a coach and what they're saying to you.

"You're a unit, and I don't think chopping and changing having a different coach every three months is the right way to go about. I could be wrong but I think she has to have a settled coach."

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