Tennis sensation Emma Raducanu is knocked off the field: does Justine Henin’s success coach save?

©  AFP

Emma Raducanu (WTA 22) is back on the ground after her overall victory at the US Open. The 18-year-old British lost her opener at the prestigious WTA tournament in Indian Wells (hard/8,150,470 dollars) against Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich (WTA 100) in two sets: 6-2 and 6-4. The match lasted 1 hour and 26 minutes.

Vincent Van Genechten

Raducanu was the seventeenth seed who was free in the first round, but choked immediately in her first game in Indian Wells. The young British recently caused a real stunt by winning the US Open as a qualifier, without losing a set. So things didn’t go as smoothly in California.

“Aliaksandra played a very good match”, reacted Raducanu. “It was clear that she has a lot more experience. She carried out her plan and deserved to win. You have to play matches to get to your best level and I’m not on that at the moment. I haven’t played anything for a month, so the sharpness is a bit off. What am I going to work on? First I’m going to analyze this match, with a fresh head. Then we’ll see what could be done better. All this is new to me, everything I am experiencing.”

In the meantime, Raducanu has been without a coach for a while. At the end of September, she said goodbye to her coach Andrew Richardson. “At this point in my career, when I’m going to compete against the world’s best players, I need someone with more experience at this level,” Raducanu clarified her decision. “I need someone who has experienced it all before and can take me by the hand, because it is still all new to me.”

And that experience, according to The Telegraph, must come from Carlos Rodriguez. Yes, the former success coach of Justine Henin.

The Argentinian was the coach of the Belgian between 1995 and 2011. Together they won seven grand slam titles and the gold at the 2004 Olympics. The Argentinian also worked with Li Na (whom he propelled to victory at the Australian Open), Amanda Anisimova, Daniela Hantouchova, Peng Shuai, Dominique Monami and Dick Norman. In May, he accepted another role in Henin’s tennis academy.

© BELGA

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