Raducanu confesses to ‘provoking’ coaches and explains being difficult to manage

Emma Raducanu has confessed that she previously ended coaching partnerships after her mentors failed to keep up with the number of “provoking” questions that she asked. The Brit explained that she wouldn’t just do something she was told to until she understood it. Currently sidelined following surgery, Raducanu had worked with five different coaches in an 18-month span.

Raducanu’s coaching decisions have often caused a stir in the tennis world as the 20-year-old has yet to form a long-term partnership in her young career. The 2021 US Open champion has now explained one of the reasons that some of her coaches often don’t work out is because of her intellectual and curious approach to her tennis.

“I ask my coaches a lot of questions, I think that on certain occasions they haven’t been able to keep up with the questions I’ve asked so maybe that’s why it ended,” she told BBC Radio 4 today. While some hadn’t kept up with her questions, Raducanu said she would keep on “provoking” to challenge her mentors’ thinking.

The former world No 10 continued: “But yeah, it’s something I’ve always done and I keep provoking, I keep asking questions to coaches and challenging their thinking as well. I’m not someone that you can just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, I need to understand why and then I’ll do it.”

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Raducanu’s curious approach has helped her compete with those who can hit harder or run faster on the court, as she detailed how she used her brain to help her tennis. “I think that I was always very intellectually curious from a young age. I think my dad was someone who always provoked me to think, to ask questions,” she explained.

“I got my logical side from him and my resilient side from my mum. So I think that maybe I do shape and frame the way I train or the way I approach certain decisions differently and I think that it does give me an advantage because I’m not necessarily the biggest hitter or the strongest or run the fastest but I think that I can use my brain in ways that can give me a same advantage.”

It remains to be seen who takes on the task of being Raducanu’s coach as she gears up for her return to competition and whether they can handle the 20-year-old’s intelligent approach. The Brit parted ways with her most recent coach Sebastian Sachs after undergoing three surgeries in May as she knew she would be unable to play tennis or even practice for several months.

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When she first burst onto the scene at Wimbledon in 2021 – receiving a wildcard and storming into the second week despite being ranked outside of the world’s top 300 – she was working with Nigel Sears, a renowned WTA coach and Andy Murray’s father-in-law. They split shortly after and Raducanu headed to the North American swing with her old LTA youth coach Andrew Richardson.

Despite making history at the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open that summer, she axed Richardson within a couple of weeks of her victory. Seeking a coach with experience on the tour to help her navigate the circuit, she hired Torben Beltz. They split after just five months together and Raducanu later took on Dmitry Tursunov for an extended trial period during the North American swing into her last few events of 2022 but once again it didn’t work out and she hired Sachs until being sidelined by surgery.

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