British tennis star Emma Raducanu is set to make her debut at the French Open next week.
The 19-year-old will travel to Paris to compete in the fourth Grand Slam of her career, but without a coach.
She appointed Torben Beltz in November, but the pair parted ways in April after just 10 WTA matches together.
Prior to Beltz, Radacanu worked with Nigel Sears at Wimbledon and Andrew Richardson at the US Open, but both were only given short contracts with the teenage star.
According to the BBC’s tennis correspondent Russell Fuller, Raducanu is now working with the LTA’s head of women’s tennis Iain Bates and senior performance advisor Louis Cayer.
She has also been practising with Raymond Sarmiento at the National Tennis Centre in London this week, with the American tennis player set to stay on as her hitting partner.
Fuller spoke to an observer who knows the Raducanu family to decipher their approach to coaching.
“If a coach isn’t working, it’s just going to be done,” they said. “So I wasn’t surprised with Torben [Beltz] going, seeing how she was playing. It didn’t really feel like she made any sort of improvements.
“Obviously, it is brutal and there will be a trail of coaches by the end of her career, I’m sure.
“But there’s also another side. I have actually always found them remarkably respectful of people that perhaps they shouldn’t respect. Their attitude is that they might have that one little piece of gold, and Ian will probe them for an hour until they find it.
“I think they want somebody who can challenge her tennis IQ and there are very few people who can do that. I think that’s quite a difficult thing for them to understand and digest.
“I think they sign up with coaches, and then they get quite disappointed, as they don’t know as much as they thought they did.”
Another insider described Raducanu’s approach to coaching as “pretty wacky” but potentially beneficial.
“They drain the resource and knowledge of coaches pretty quickly, and then they obviously want the next one,” they said.
“When people do things differently, the whole world takes a look at it and thinks this is bizarre, because no-one has done it this way before.
“But I’m not that sceptical because I’ve seen too many people do some pretty wacky things, and they turn out to be goldmines.”
Raducanu has struggled to overcome a number of fitness issues since her improbable victory at the US Open in September.
Severe blistering on her right hand led to defeat in the second round of the Australian Open.
She then retired from her first-round match at the Guadalajara Open with a hip injury, before struggling with her back at the Miami Open, Madrid Open and Italian Open.
According to another insider, Raducanu’s “tennis ability is way ahead of her physical development.” She is expected to put her fitness issues behind her as she gains more experience on the WTA Tour.
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