Sue Barker has backed Emma Raducanu’s decision to stick with Dmitry Tursunov after going through a series of mentors over the last 18 months. The British No 1 made waves when she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam at last year’s US Open but has since experienced mixed results on the tour, with Barker admitting that Raducanu needed one consistent coach.
Raducanu is almost at the end of her first full season on the professional tennis tour, currently sitting at No 67 in the world. The 19-year-old had an unprecedented rise last year when she won the US Open as a qualifier ranked down at No 150 in the world and shot into the top 25, reaching a career-high of world No 10 earlier this year.
But she suffered a big drop after losing in the first round upon her return to Flushing Meadows this year and has experienced mixed results, with a 17-18 win-loss record in 2022. Following her rollercoaster season, former pro-turned-broadcaster Sue Barker shared the one thing she believes Raducanu needs.
“I feel she needs one person that she really trusts and believes in,” the 66-year-old told The Telegraph, referencing the teenager’s multiple coaching splits over the last 18 months. Raducanu reached the second week of Wimbledon in 2021 in what was her Grand Slam debut but parted ways with then-coach Nigel Sears.
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But things look different this time around for Raducanu and her new coach, as the 1976 French Open champion backed her decision to stick with her new coach. Tursunov already has experience with former world No 2s Aryna Sabalenka and Anett Kontaveit, and his presence in the Brit’s team has been felt. After enlisting the Russian, she reached the quarter-final in Washington before beating multi-Grand Slam champions Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati.
Despite her disappointing early exit at the US Open, the British No 1 managed to reach her first semi-final since her 2021 Flushing Meadows victory at the recent Korea Open. Raducanu initially hired Tursunov on a trial basis and, while she is yet to confirm whether or not their partnership is now permanent, it appears to be a given as the pair enter their third month of working together.