Emma Raducanu is looking for a fourth head coach since shooting to fame at last summer’s Wimbledon. And Riccardo Piatti is a leading candidate to take the role – perhaps on a part-time basis – after the US Open champion trained at his Italian academy earlier this month.
Speaking from Greece last night, Piatti said: “It depends. I am interested in working with everyone.” The British No 1 on Tuesday announced she was splitting with German Torben Beltz after only five months and six tournaments together. And the Bromley teenager said she now plans to play under a “new training model” which could see her work on a short-term basis with different coaches on different surfaces.
The British No 1 spent a week at Piatti’s Bordighera academy in Liguria before her first ever professional events on clay. The Italian, who has worked with Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, could assume the head coaching role at the head of a team without being full-time on the road. Piatti, who is currently at a coaching conference in Athens, split with world No.12 Jannick Sinner in February.
Raducanu will play this week’s Madrid Masters with the support of LTA’s head of women’s tennis Iain Bates. “I want to thank Torben for his coaching, professionalism and dedication over the last half a year,” said Raducanu in a statement. “He has a huge heart and I have enjoyed our strong chemistry during the time together.
“I feel the best direction for my development is to transition to a new training model with the LTA supporting in the interim.”
The US Open champion only started working with Beltz in November and achieved their best result together at the Porsche Grand Prix Tennis last week when she gave world No 1 Iga Swiatek a battle in the quarter-finals. The German had experience of taking Anqelique Kerber to two Grand Slam titles and world No 1.
But Raducanu, and her father Ian, have a short but busy history of making unusual coaching decisions. She made her breakthrough at Wimbledon last year under the guidance of Andy Murray’s father-in-law Nigel Sears. He was replaced for the US Open by Andrew Richardson as Raducanu became the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam title.
Richardson’s contract was then not renewed after New York as her team sought a coach with more WTA experience. And Raducanu played the rest of the season without a full-time coach – the LTA’s Jeremy Bates helped her in Indian Wells – while winning only two matches.
After contracting Covid in December, this year she won only two matches in her first five tournaments as she suffered from blisters at the Australian Open and then a hip problem.
The All England Club left open the possibility of Raducanu playing the first match on Centre Court on the first Tuesday with the retirement of defending champion Ash Barty.
More immediately, the No 9 seed will face world No 49 Tereza Martincova in the first round in Madrid on Thursday. Raducanu beat the Czech in the recent Billie Jean King Cup tie in Prague. Great Britain will face the USA, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands in their Davis Cup group stages in Glasgow in September.
Published at Tue, 26 Apr 2022 17:08:00 +0000