Emma Raducanu is almost Russian now
US Open winner Emma Radukanu will prepare to defend her title under Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov. According to the Daily Mail, the former Russian national team player will accompany the 19-year-old Brit at the tournament in Washington from August 1-7 and possibly at other American hard-court events. Until June of this year, Tursunov worked with Estonia’s Anette Kontaveit, who made her the world’s second-ranked player. And before that Dmitry coached Arina Sobolenko from Belarus, who was also number two in the WTA rankings.
A baller and a lucky mentor
The formal reason for Tursunov’s breakup with Kontaveit was the coach’s problems with moving around the world because of his Russian passport amid sanctions. However, there should be no questions about Dmitry’s work in the United States. He has been based in the States since the age of 12 and probably has at least a residency permit in this country. Despite his tennis upbringing in the U.S., Tursunov spent his entire career as a player under the Russian flag and won the Davis Cup with our national team. During that period Dmitry had a reputation of the main ballplayer and the original of our tennis. However, when he started coaching, it turned out that he was a skillful and successful coach.
After his career ended in 2017, Tursunov began working with a rising star from Belarus, Arina Sobolenko. They were one of the brightest teams in women’s tennis. What was their epic timeout, during which Dmitri was silent for a full minute. Or the genius dialogue: “What should I do on tactics?” – “Rip your ass!” Or Arina’s foul-mouthed conciliatory post on social media after their conflict at the 2019 US Open. Such a high-profile relationship led many fans to speculate that there was more than just a working relationship between coach and mentee. However, both have amicably assured that this is not the case.
At the time, Tursunov was married to jewelry designer Adele Bakhtiyarova. In 2019, the couple had a long-awaited child, but in August 2020, the tennis player’s wife announced her divorce. Even earlier – before the start of the coveted 2020 season – the most colorful duo in women’s tennis broke up, and, as the further career of Sobolenko showed, the dismissal of Tursunov did not affect the game of Arina in the best way. After a series of professional and personal failures, Dmitri thought about retiring from tennis and opening a coffee shop, but in the summer of 2021 he still started working with Kontaveit, and the Estonian almost immediately began her breakthrough to the top of the rankings.
Forced, underhanded is going to be a constant conflict, and he’s going to break through at some point. There are some players who have the potential to play in the top five, but they stand behind the fifty. You can take a player like that, make him or her play, but when he or she gets up to the twenty, he or she will be fired right away because everything will be on conflict, which will forever be suppressed. And then it will just blow his mind, because he will think that he knows everything and knows how to do it and has succeeded on his own.
Single Tournament Player
Working with Radukanu is a very serious challenge for Tursunov. If only because the British woman can be considered the main young star of women’s tennis. After her sensational victory at the US Open Max Eisenbud, Maria Sharapova’s former manager, began working with her, and Emma landed a flood of advertising contracts. The young, sexy and charming daughter of a Chinese and a Romanian is really a dream for any sports agent. Except that after her triumph in New York, Raducan had a hard time with tennis victories.
At the magical U.S. Open 2021, Britain’s Cinderella made it to the title through qualifying, winning 10 straight matches. But then at no subsequent tournament has she been able to get more than three wins in a row. She has not reached a single WTA Tour semifinal, and even though she is currently ranked number 10 in the world rankings, it is clear that she needs to improve in the American Tour series as a matter of urgency. Otherwise she risks remaining a “single tournament player”. In principle, Emma has everything to make a breakthrough in the results, but her strategy with the coaches until recently caused only amazement.
After the US Open Emma for some reason did not renew the contract with Andrew Richardson, who prepared her for a triumphant victory, and for a long time Radukanu had no coach at all. In November, the Brit said she would work with German Torben Beltz, who had previously coached Angelique Kerber. But this specialist did not last even six months. Emma went through two Grand Slam tournaments without a permanent coach and only now turned to Tursunov, not afraid of the political accusations of working with a specialist from Russia. The new duo has a lot of work to do. Radukanu does not have the same physical abilities as Sobolenko or Kontaveit. And most importantly, it is unclear whether she is ready to step away from glamour and adopt Tursunov’s original style.