Emma Raducanu: US Open champion’s mental strength is truly special, says coach



The coach who guided Emma Raducanu to her astonishing US Open triumph says her mental strength is “truly special”.

Andrew Richardson was hired after Wimbledon for the trip to the United States, but says there have not yet been any conversations about the future.

Raducanu, 18, beat 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez on Saturday to become the first qualifier, and first British woman for 44 years, to win a Grand Slam singles title.

“No, no conversations,” Richardson said, shortly after being presented with the winning coaches’ trophy by the teenager.

“This is obviously a moment that doesn’t happen very often so I’m going to enjoy that, and I think she should as well.

“I’m sure when we get back to England, we’ll sit down and see what the plans are, so we’ll see.”

Richardson, who until the end of last year was the head performance coach at Culford School, set Raducanu no result-orientated targets over the seven-week trip.

But the 47-year-old did tell her after US Open qualifying that someone was going to have to play very well to beat her.

“For me, the biggest strength she has is the mind,” said Richardson, who also worked with Raducanu from the age of 10.

“I think everything starts with the mind and the strength she has shown throughout the trip; and the resilience she showed.

“Her ability to deal with adversity and compete is where it all starts. I’ve known her from a young age, and she’s always had that.

“I’m not sure it can be coached. I think a lot of it is parenting, and her parents should take a lot of credit for the person Emma is. The mental strength she has is truly special.”

After completing a photo shoot and a round of media interviews on Saturday evening, Raducanu enjoyed a midnight dinner with her team at their hotel.

The champion must now decide how many more tournaments she wants to compete in over the course of what remains of the season.

The prestigious WTA event in Indian Wells is just over three weeks away and although Raducanu’s ranking will rise to 23, she would compete as a wildcard as the entry list has already been published.

If she plays and performs well in California, there is an outside chance Raducanu could qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals for the year’s top-eight players.

The Finals are expected to be staged in Guadalajara, Mexico, in early November, although that is yet to be officially confirmed.

Expectations will inevitably be high next year, and the LTA’s head of women’s tennis Iain Bates has sounded a note of caution.

“There has to be a degree of perspective in that Emma’s not yet played a full year on tour,” he told BBC Sport.

“She needs to do so many other things around getting used to tour life, and learning how to play and compete and win, week in week out.

“I think we should be optimistic for the future but we might need to give her some time to find her feet and develop into a player who hopefully we can watch for many years.”

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