MIKE DICKSON: Emma Raducanu needs more consistency off the court with her coaches in order to enjoy further success in Grand Slams
Andy Murray once predicted a young Caroline Garcia would become world No1.
Presumably the corporations who have invested millions in sponsoring Emma Raducanu were given similar expert forecasts about the British teenager’s long-term potential.
Murray is just out so far on Garcia, who has peaked at No4 and played nearer to that as she knocked out Raducanu than she did to her current listing of 55.
Emma Raducanu needs more consistency with her coaches in order to enjoy further success
Of course Raducanu has already banked a US Open title, something that is for ever. Whether she will emerge eventually as someone residing in the top five comes with no such guarantee.
There remains a strong chance she will, given time, but not unless she absorbs the lessons that have continued to come thick and fast in the wake of Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu has compared her experiences since to a gap year, albeit a rather more extraordinary one than some of her contemporaries from her selective Kent grammar school will have had.
What the British No1 should have gleaned from her unique experiences is the need for stability, especially in physical training and body maintenance.
Raducanu looked underpowered and her opponent Caroline Garcia had more variety
All the evidence was out there on Centre Court. Garcia’s first serve was 10mph faster, and with her groundstrokes she struck the ball with far more potency.
Her game had more variety, too, winning 16 points out of 20 when she approached the net. Aside from the two breaks she gave up, she was excellent.
Raducanu looked underpowered by comparison, although she can point to the side strain that hindered her preparations for Wimbledon.
In her ever-changing support box only one figure remained from the triumph of New York. That was Iain Bates, the Lawn Tennis Association’s head of women’s tennis, a trusted locum amid the swirl of coaching personnel.
Sitting elsewhere in the stands was her physio from New York, Will Herbert, who is back to his more general role with the governing body’s performance team. Andrew Richardson, the swiftly discarded coach from the American trip, was in Spain, working at a junior tournament.
Andrew Richardson played a key part in Emma Raducanu’s US Open success but didn’t have his coaching arrangement extended
It is not immediately clear what the future involvement will be for Jane O’Donoghue, who has been helping Raducanu out in recent weeks. A former LTA employee, she now has a career in finance with the Royal Bank of Canada in London. But then not a lot is settled around the British game’s prize asset, who can no longer rely on the shock of the new.
As Garcia, who she had beaten in March, observed: ‘When you are young and coming up and no one knows you, it’s always positive on your side. It’s pretty tricky to find videos of good-quality matches where you can watch what they are doing. And then obviously everyone knows you.’
It’s hoped Raducanu will have found a more consistent way forward for her next tournament
Raducanu’s next tournament is the Washington Open at the end of July, and you hope by then she will have found a more consistent way forward.
Coaching requirements are an individual thing, and Raducanu clearly believes she has to work things out for herself. In the long run that may pay off, but moves are afoot to legalise the dispensing of advice from the stands.
What is a non-negotiable is the acquiring of strength and stamina to withstand the rigours of the tour. A performance plan, rather than a series of ad-hoc arrangements, has to be put in place.
This will hopefully prevent the regular physical setbacks which had restricted her to seven games of competitive tennis in a month.
‘It’s just great for me to get all these lessons at such a young age so that when I’m in my mid 20s, I’ll have those issues or little glitches in my game sorted,’ she said.
Raducanu may be young, but she cannot wait until then. If the penny drops quicker, she will still have many better Grand Slam experiences than this one.