BBC Breakfast hosts discuss Emma Raducanu’s loss
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Emma Raducanu’s selection of Torben Beltz as her coach has been questioned by former tennis star Mats Wilander, who believes the young Brit perhaps needs to figure out her own style first. The 19-year-old recently announced she will be coached by the German who masterminded Angelique Kerber’s rise to the top of the sport.
Beltz helped Kerber win the Australian Open and US Open in 2016, and Raducanu was keen to acquire a coach with such experience and pedigree to help her get up to speed on the WTA Tour ahead of her first full campaign.
The Brit burst onto the scene by impressing at Wimbledon but she stunned the sporting world as she went from qualifier to champion at the US Open, becoming the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam.
Less than two weeks after her victory at the US Open, Raducanu split with her coach Andrew Richardson in order to find an experienced coach like Beltz.
However, Wilander believes Raducanu should be enjoying the freedom of playing the game at her own pace without any pressure.
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“We mustn’t forget that it wasn’t like we didn’t know who she was. We knew she had a huge game,” the seven-time Grand Slam champion told Eurosport.
“They [young players] need to play the way they want to play, and they need to find out how good they are, and they need to ride the wave of youth and confidence for as far as they can before you start hiring coaches that have helped players to win Grand Slams.
“She knows how to win a Grand Slam. She won one. She needs to have fun, she needs to be allowed to do what she wants to do off and on the tennis court, and she needs to develop in her own time and not to force coaches on her.
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“I’m not saying that Torben Beltz is not… he’s a great coach, he obviously coached Angie Kerber for a long time. I believe it helped her win Grand Slam tournaments, but Angie Kerber knew how to do that anyway.”
Unlike the view of England rugby union head coach Eddie Jones – who commented that Raducanu may already suffer from off-court distractions – Wilander reiterated his point that the US Open champion should be playing without pressure and enjoying her tennis before she signs onto a structured, highly-rated coach.
“I just feel it’s unnecessary to take coaches that have experience when you are dealing with an 18 year old who is fresh, who is so full of life,” said Wilander.
“We’ve got to let these kids grow up before you try to shape them. Otherwise there’s a very, very big chance that people are going to be what stops Emma from developing into a great player.
“I think she needs to be allowed to do that herself. We saw with Sascha Zverev – Ivan Lendl did not help Sascha Zverev at all! He was forced to try with these superstar coaches. It doesn’t work for an 18-year-old.
“They need to grow up in their own time and with Emma Raducanu, I’m sorry, but it’s not a good idea to have too many voices in her head. The only voice she needs to listen to is her own.”
Raducanu is preparing for her first full pre-season on the WTA Tour ahead of the Australian Open, having had a short break at the end of the 2021 campaign.
The 2022 Australian Open begins on January 17 and concludes on January 30.
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