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Emma Raducanu is continuing to find herself in tricky territory after hiring Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov. There were fears the country would use his link with the US Open champion to further their own agenda, and the country’s tennis federation has now fired back after he started working with the 19-year-old on a trial basis, claiming him as their own.
Raducanu linked up with Tursunov for the recent Citi Open in Washington, months after splitting with coach Torben Beltz. Her decision to hire the former pro came with controversy due to his Russian origin, as the chair of the all Parliamentary group on Russia shared his fears that the world No 10 could get caught up in the country’s propaganda.
And it seems the Bromley local is already in an uncomfortable situation as the president of the Russian Tennis Federation staked his claim over Tursunov, despite his new partnership with the Brit. “He is ours, he happens at our training camps, we do not leave him, we support him,” Shamil Tarpishchev said, per TACC.
The RTF boss also stood by the former world No 20 despite his decision to work with Raducanu instead of helping the country’s local talent. He continued: “The question of whom he trains is the personal opinion of the athlete. We once offered him to work, just like Chesnokov, but he chose a different path, it is more profitable to train one of the leading athletes today.”
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Tarpishchev’s words come after Labour MP and chair of the all Parliamentary group on Russia Chris Bryant urged the British No 1 to reconsider her decision to enlist Tursonov for a trial. “The Kremlin will portray this as a PR coup and an indication that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine, so it’ll be a real shame if Emma goes ahead with this,” he told Telegraph Sport.
“I urge her to think again and at the very least to condemn Putin’s barbaric war.” Raducanu herself has said little on her recept link-up with the retired pro, as he joined her for the tournament in Washington but was not with her this week in Toronto, where he had pre-existing commitments.
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Tursunov became a free agent when he parted ways with world No 2 Anett Kontaveir earlier this year, after it was reported that he was struggling to obtain visas to travel for the tour as a result of his Russian citizenship.
Before leading the Estonian to a first appearance at the WTA Finals and a top five debut, Tursunov worked with former world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka. And if his trial with Raducanu proves successful, he could join the reigning US Open champion in Flushing Meadows for her title defence.
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