Why has Emma Raducanu’s choice of new coach sparked controversy?

Emma Raducanu’s decision to hire Russian coach Dimitry Tursunov has sparked controversy ahead of the British number one’s US Open title defence. Tursunov, a former top-20 player and Davis Cup-winner, is a recognized top-level coach having previously worked with Aryna Sabalenka and Anna Kontaveit and was taken on by Raducanu on a trial basis for the US hard court swing.

Raducanu has been enduring a tough 2022 after ending the previous year in style by becoming the US Open champion without dropping a set. Since then she has faced criticism for her sponsorship commitments and has not been able to replicate her Flushing Meadows success on court, falling in the first round of the Canadian Open to Camila Giorgi. She next faces Serena Williams in the opening round in Cincinnati.

Now the 19-year-old is in the firing line over her choice of coach, with the Russian Tennis Federation claiming Tursunov as their own while UK Labour Party MP Chris Bryant has voiced his disapproval: “The Kremlin will portray this as a PR coup and an indication that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine, so it will be a real shame if Emma Raducanu goes ahead with this”

Tursunov unable to attend tournaments with Raducanu
Meanwhile, Tursunov is unable to attend many of the tournaments his charge is playing in as he cannot present his Russian passport as credentials. In addition, the President of the Russian Tennis Federation wants Tursunov’s services back home: “He is ours, he works in our training camps, we support him,” Shamil Trpishchev was quoted as saying by TACC.

Trpishchev though did express his support for Tursunov: “The question of who he trains is the personal opinion of the athlete. We once offered him a job, just like Chesnokov, but he chose a different path”.

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