Emma Raducanu brings back old confidante for Nottingham Open

Raducanu is about to embark on another grass-court campaign - Getty Images/Nathan Stirk

Emma Raducanu has called upon her old confidante Jane O’Donoghue to help her prepare for this week’s Nottingham Open, because her main coach Nick Cavaday has been unwell.

During a practice session in Nottingham this weekend, Raducanu played a set with last year’s Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur. She was watched by O’Donoghue and Lawn Tennis Association employee Mark Hilton.

Raducanu has spent the first six months of this season working with Cavaday, an ally from her schooldays who guided her development at the Bromley Tennis Centre between the ages of ten and 12

Cavaday was seen training with Raducanu as recently as last week, but his presence has been intermittent since the end of her clay-court season. Sources said it was likely that he would make it to Nottingham in time for her first match on Tuesday.

O’Donoghue was the LTA’s national coach for women between 2009 and 2019, so was also part of Raducanu’s support network during those early days. Now, though, O’Donoghue works for a subsection of the Credit Agricole/Santander banking empire.

She spent a week with Raducanu in Auckland at the start of the year, before Cavaday arrived for the Melbourne leg, and also guided her Wimbledon campaign in 2022, when she was beaten in the second round by Caroline Garcia.

Raducanu gained extra preparation time on grass by skipping the French Open, where she could have entered the qualifying event with her protected ranking. In a statement, she said that “It’s important for me to keep laying on the foundations and I will put in a healthy block [of training] before the grass and subsequent hard court seasons to give myself a chance to keep fit for the rest of the year.”

In Nottingham, Raducanu will play Ena Shibahara, the world No 279 from Japan, in Tuesday’s first-round matches. Shibahara came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw.

The tournament also features five other British women: Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart, who have been drawn to face each other in the first round, as well as Lily Miyazaki, Heather Watson and qualifier Emily Appleton.