Dmitry Tursunov praises Emma Raducanu’s professionalism: ‘There was no aura of diva or superstar about her’

Emma Raducanu and her coaching team at training Credit: Alamy
Emma Raducanu and her coaching team at training Credit: Alamy

Dmitry Tursunov has opened up about short stint as Emma Raducanu’s coach, saying he was “super impressed” with her work ethic, adding that she knows she still has “a long way to improve and climb”.

The Russian started working with Raducanu on a trial basis after Wimbledon and he accompanied her during the North American hard-court swing, which included her US Open title defence.

The British No 1 struggled to put together a decent run of form throughout 2022, but many thought she had turned the corner after getting impressive results over former world No 1s Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka at the Cincinnati Masters.

However, she was unable to reproduce that form at the Flushing Meadows as her title defence came to an end in the first round in New York.

Raducanu and Tursunov, though, continued to work together after the US Open before the Russian decided to take up a role to become Belinda Bencic’ full-time coach in early October.

In an interview with Tennis Majors shortly after the announcement, Tursunov revealed there were “some red flags” when he worked with Raducanu, saying: “I was walking away from Emma regardless of whether there was another [player] available or not.

“We didn’t agree on the terms and there were some red flags that just couldn’t be ignored. So that’s why it’s a little frustrating to read things like that… I wasn’t hopping from one player to another, I wouldn’t do that.”

He added: “Our trial period was over at the US Open but I stuck around, trying to see if there was going to be a way to impress the team (he laughs). I really wanted to make it work.”

In a new interview, the Russian was full of praise for the 20-year-old Raducanu.

“Honestly, I did not see or feel that there were lots of outside things going on. From the time that we started, Emma just really had her nose to the ground,” he told Sportskeeda.

“She was very hard working and did not see her skip a lot of things. There was no aura of diva or superstar about her and I think she has been managing that part very well. I was super impressed with her and couldn’t be happier with the way she is as a professional athlete.”

This year was Raducanu’s first full season on the WTA Tour and she played 18 tournaments compared to just seven last year.

Tursunov insisted that Raducanu was always realistic about defending her US Open crown and knows she still has a lot to learn.

“As far as defending the US Open, I have never won a Slam so I don’t know what it’s like to defend a Grand Slam. I think she has done quite well in that sense,” he said.

“Honestly, the expectations of her repeating it were extremely unrealistic and anyone who understands anything about tennis would agree to that. It’s not because she doesn’t have the abilities. She has the ability but the game just needs to be improved to have that consistency to play at the high level.

“I think she was also very realistic, she understood that she’s got sort of a long way to improve and climb. And I think she was absolutely ready for it and hungry to improve. I can’t get into her mind. I can’t speak for her. But that’s the impression that I was getting.

“From my perspective, there are only positive things that I can say about her, just the way she handled it, how professional she is for her age. I wish I was like that when I played.”

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu confirms her first event of 2023 – ‘It is a great way to start off the Australian Open swing’

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