Emma Raducanu’s agent has predicted that she will continue to change coaches every four to five months for the remainder of her career – with the possible side effect of scaring away future candidates for the job.
IMG Senior Vice President Max Eisenbud explained that Raducanu and his father Ian are responsible for his rapid turnover as a coach, which has seen five full-time appointments come and go in the space of two years.
But Eisenbud also emphasized that this has been a successful method since Raducanu’s early days, helping to propel her to the 2021 US Open title.
“Her dad and Emma handle all the training stuff,” Eisenbud told the tennis podcast in an interview published on Monday. “That’s been their philosophy since juniors – that they never had coaches for a long time – so for them it’s calm waters: have a coach for four to five months and then move on to another one.
“This is not traditional,” added Eisenbud, 51. “I think people have a hard time understanding how you can get to the fourth round of Wimbledon. [in 2021] and then you don’t continue to work with Nigel Sears, who is a great trainer and a great guy. People when she stopped working with Nigel were killing her – and then she won the US Open.
“OK, so she changes trainers again. Now Andrew Richardson is a great guy and a great coach and he was definitely part of that success, but also Tim Henman, who helped her a lot and, frankly, her dad was the one who laid out a lot of the game plans for the matches.
“Then [the pattern of short coaching tenures] doesn’t sound great for people who want everything wrapped up in a perfect bow. But for the family, it’s like they always have. People just have to get over the fact that this is what she’s going to do. It’s probably going to be that way for the rest of her career, because that’s what’s comfortable with them.
“She and her father have their own philosophy. Richard Williams [the father of Venus and Serena Williams] had its own philosophy when it came out. I understand it’s uncomfortable. I understand that it doesn’t fit in that pretty little box that everyone wants. But if Emma Raducanu’s biggest problem is that she changes coaches every four months, I’d subscribe to that.”
Eisenbud was asked if he thought Raducanu – whose coaching roster includes not only Sears and Richardson but also Torben Beltz, Dmitry Tursunov and Sebastian Sachs – will struggle to hire replacements in the future. He responded, “I think there are probably coaches who might be afraid to shoot because they’ve seen a track record.”
Raducanu has been absent from the tour since the end of May and is still recovering from surgery on both wrists and an ankle. But Eisenbud – whose career took off when his first client, Maria Sharapova, won Wimbledon in 2004 – insists Raducanu will win more Grand Slam titles.
He also denies that his nine business partners – which include Porsche, Vodafone and Dior – were a factor in his drop out of the world’s top 100 this summer.
“I don’t think anything would have changed if we didn’t make any deals,” Eisenbud said. “Most people think she is shooting [adverts and promotions] all the time, it is not the case. The days that she is filming are well mapped out. She is a hard worker, never misses training. But I understand why people see all the sponsors, see all the money, have a social media platform [media] and they want to take pictures.
“I don’t think any perceived problems with his tennis game are because the training wasn’t right,” Eisenbud added. “I think it’s because she went through a huge, world-shattering event. She won the US Open and started playing big tournaments, and she didn’t even know where the players’ room or the locker room was. If she had the greatest trainer of all time, if [legendary Australian] Harry Hopman went back and lived with her and stayed with her, I don’t think anything would have been different.
“If you look at Sharapova, most teenagers who won took two years to win again. She skipped a lot of steps and a lot of experiences. I’m not surprised by any of the up and down sneakers. I wouldn’t bet against it. She will figure it all out. She is young [21 this coming November]. You don’t accidentally win the US Open the way she did. You have to be great to do what she did.
“Do I think she will be in the top five in the world for 20 years? I don’t think so, I don’t think she’s that. But I think she will win more Grand Slams and will compete to be at the top when things settle down.”
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