Emma Raducanu’s former coach, Mark Petchey, has outlined what he would like to see from the British teenager as she bids to defend her US Open title. Raducanu shocked the world by winning at Flushing Meadows 12 months ago but her results have been patchy ever since.
Raducanu comes into the tournament, which starts on Monday, having just beaten two legends of the sport in Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. The 19-year-old notched a ‘bagel’ against both opponents in Cincinnati before losing to Jessica Pegula in the round of 16.
Those wins against high-profile stars should go some way towards restoring Raducanu’s momentum before her first-round match against Alize Cornet in New York. And that may have come just in time according to Petchey, who would like to see a change in mindset and a move closer to the baseline amid concerns about her confidence.
“If anything, what I’d like to see from Emma next week is a shift in mindset,” he told The Telegraph.
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“Watching her at the Canadian Open the other day, I noticed that she was playing a good metre further behind the baseline than when she won the US Open. Sometimes, a player will find themselves slipping back a little when their confidence dips.
“But I like Emma’s game best when she is playing ‘tidal tennis’ – by which I mean sweeping in and out of the court as the rally demands. If she can rediscover that forward-and-back element in her game, she can make progress again in New York. I certainly see her winning more majors.”
Since winning the US Open without dropping a set in September last year, Raducanu has failed to make it past the second round of any Grand Slam. She could have a tough time against Cornet, who made it to the French Open quarter-finals this year and is ranked inside the world’s top 40.
Some of the attention and pressure is likely to be diverted away from the Brit as Serena Williams’ farewell and Novak Djokovic’s absence also represent compelling storylines surrounding the tournament. Raducanu has chopped and changed her coaching set-up since bursting onto the scene but Petchey, who worked with her back in 2020, claims that her work ethic cannot be questioned.
“Emma’s attitude during our sessions was spot-on,” he added. “She had just passed her driving test, so she was driving across from Bromley to the National Tennis Centre on the other side of London, then putting in three-hour sessions where she was totally engaged, asking questions, concentrating on every ball.
“My philosophy of coaching is informal: I just try to react to what’s working and what isn’t. But the one thing I did say to Emma, and that I say to the clients here in Messini as well, is ‘You need to have a full tool-kit to be the best version of yourself on the court.'”