Working with Coach Tursunov, Raducanu Shares US Open Outlook

Bright yellow balls came bobbing at Emma Raducanu from every possible direction.

The US Open champion confronted the barrage with fast hands and a perpetual smile.

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Fans thrust tennis balls of all sizes at Raducanu for autographs following her Citi Open practice—turnout for the British No. 1’s training sessions is a testament to Raducanu’s popularity on Tour.

A year after Raducanu made history as the first qualifier—male or female—to capture a Grand Slam singles title iin New York, she’s very much a woman in demand in Washington, DC. The second-seeded Raducanu will face American qualifier Louisa Chirico in her Citi Open opener.

The 2022 season has proved challenging learning curve for the Formula 1 fan, who arrives in Washington, DC with a 9-12 record. Raducanu, who hasn’t posted back-to-back wins since the Mutua Madrid Open last May says the biggest lesson she’s learned is to keep getting up to fight another day during down times.

“I’ve learnt that I’m pretty resilient,” Raducanu told the media in Washington, DC. “I’ve pretty much been knocked down every single week literally in front of everyone, get back up every single time. It’s just a fun learning experience for me. I would say that.”

Gearing up for her US Open title defense later this month, Raducanu is working with highly-respected coach Dmitry Tursunov on a trial basis. Tursunov coached both Aryna Sabalenka and Anett Kontaveit to some of their best results. World No. 2 Kontaveit and Tursunov split earlier this year, apparently due to travel restrictions on the Russian-born Tursunov.

The 19-year-old Raducanu said her priority is improving rather than focusing on her US Open title defense.

“Starting here in the Citi Open, you’ll see what happens on the match court, you’ll analyze it, you’ll be like, Hey, this didn’t work, I need to do this better for the next match,” Raducanu said. “You use every single week as an opportunity to try to do that. I’m not really thinking too far ahead about the US Open, that I need to win the US Open again. I don’t. I just want to improve.

“I’m focusing on what I’m training on every single day. That’s how the best results happen, when you’re that focused on what you’re doing every single session.”

During her inspired run to the Flushing Meadows major title, the then 150th-ranked Raducanu showed the skills to take the ball on the rise, defend on the run and dictate play with her forehand.

Tursunov successfully helped both Sabalenka and Kontaveit channel their power into controlled strikes. Raducanu said it’s too soon in this trial to identify specific changes they might make.

“Since, like, Miami I didn’t really, like, have a coach,” Raducanu said. “I sort of took a period to just settle. I didn’t want to rush into anything. It’s just a trial week here. We’re going to see how it goes.

“Yeah, I think it was a great opportunity to trial him, so that’s what we’re doing. Yeah, see how it goes.”

Though she moves with the balance of a gymnast on court, Raducanu has not sustained stability in her coaching team. Champions ranging from John McEnroe to Chrissie Evert suggest frequent coaching turnover is another obstacle in Raducanu’s quest for progress.

The world No. 10 aims to find her footing on North American hard courts ahead of her US Open title defense later this month.

“I would say that, take away the US Open, the results I’ve had in the past year wouldn’t have been terrible for any 18-, 19-year-old,” Raducanu said. “I have to take a step back and give myself a pat on the back, as well.

“This year was always going to be pretty tricky, trying to find my feet at this sort of level. I skipped every stage basically. I went from playing a few 25s to playing the top 10 or playing the slams and everything. Still managed to win a round or two in some bigger events. I’m quite proud of myself in that way.”

Photo credit: Citi Open Facebook

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