Nigel Sears (L) will now longer coach Emma Raducanu (R)
Great Britain’s new teenage star Emma Raducanu has changed her coach in the aftermath of her thrilling run to the fourth round of Wimbledon.
Out goes the experienced Nigel Sears – who also happens to be Andy Murray’s father-in-law – and in comes Andrew Richardson, who has been chosen on the basis of his familiarity with Raducanu and her game rather than his experience on the professional tour.
Previously head coach at the Bromley Tennis Centre in south-east London, Richardson helped to establish Raducanu’s basics when she was a young girl. When he flies to the USA with her this weekend, for the first stage of her build-up to next month’s US Open, he is more likely than anyone to make her feel comfortable in this new environment.
Raducanu is already unusually savvy for an 18-year-old in the way she researches opponents herself, while also interrogating various trusted contacts about how she can improve on a regular basis. She is not someone who shows up at a training session and waits to be told what to do. Rather, she is more likely to set her own goals, which is why a familiar face in her support staff could be exactly what she needs at this formative stage.
Since her dramatic exit from Wimbledon – which saw her retire from her fourth-round match against Alja Tomljanovic with breathing difficulties – Raducanu has received a wild card from the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, which starts on August 2. As the world No 185, she is now highly ranked enough to enter qualifying at the US Open later this month.
Since Wimbledon, Raducanu has also attended the European Football Championships and the British Grand Prix, in a sign of her sudden elevation into the ranks of British sporting celebrities. Her social-media accounts have gathered over half-a-million followers across Instagram and Twitter.
Meanwhile, Jack Draper – the other British teenager who made such a fine impression at Wimbledon – is once again dealing with injury frustration after turning his ankle in training at the National Tennis Centre. Draper faced world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the first round and became one of only two men – the other being finalist Matteo Berrettini – to take a set off the eventual champion.
Draper – who is 19 – was also supposed to be heading out to the USA to play hard-court tournaments, but his departure is now likely to be delayed.