As if Emma Raducanu isn’t already reaching for the stars, the 18-year-old tennis sensation’s decision to sack coach Andrew Richardson just after her US Open for a ‘high level appointment’ suggests she wants to stay at the top.
The British No 1 announced on Friday that she has parted ways with one of the the masterminds behind her Flushing Meadows fairytale and one of her main mentors at Bromley Tennis Centre where she began playing from a young age.
The move is not a surprise, given Richardson was on a short-term contract that was planned to end after the US Open anyway. But Raducanu revealed she is looking for a coach with more WTA Tour experience, so she can win competitions to continue her rise up the rankings, as she currently sits as the World No 22.
She said this week: ‘I feel like at this stage in my career, and playing the top players in the world, I realised I really need someone right now that has had that WTA Tour experience at the high levels, which means that I’m looking for someone who has been at that level and knows what it takes.
‘And especially right now because I’m so new to it, I really need someone to guide me who’s already been through that.’
Emma Raducanu is looking for a new coach following her shock US Open victory this month
Raducanu let go Andrew Richardson (above) who was on a short-term contract on her team
So with her momentum rising as she prepares for a decision that could shape the rest of her career, where does Raducanu go next?
The decision needs to come quickly, as the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells starts in the first full week of October.
Sportsmail analyses all of the high-profile options available to Raducanu…
One of the names being touted is former British No 1 Tim Henman, who was by Raducanu’s side for almost her entire US Open campaign whilst working as a courtside pundit for Amazon Prime.
Henman has been part of Raducanu’s life for a long period of time – Richardson was his best man at his wedding 20 years ago and the ex-British No 1 was often seen giving the 18-year-old tips and advice between matches in New York, including before the final.
Tim Henman (right) was by Emma Raducanu’s side for her US Open win at Flushing Meadows
Henman’s close relationship to Richardson, however, does raise question marks over whether the former Wimbledon semi-finalist would be the right choice for Raducanu. How different would the guidance really be compared to Richardson’s training?
The former tennis star has also never shown any intention of coaching professional players, let alone up-and-coming stars since his retirement in 2007.
Punditry and commentary has been the name of the game for Henman, particularly at Wimbledon – but also for Amazon Prime.
Perhaps Henman will continue to play that advisory role as a close friend, but a professional coaching role looks slightly far-fetched.
Henman, however, has shown no desire to go into coaching and is a regular in TV punditry
A more realistic option for Raducanu would be former Australian star Darren Cahill, who has the top quality WTA Tour experience she has been looking for.
The 55-year-old has coached multiple former World No 1s in the women’s game in guiding Ana Ivanovic and Simona Halep, taking the latter to the very top in 2017 and 2018, which included a win at the French Open.
Halep also split with Cahill earlier this week, which does raise questions about the timing of that alongside Richardson’s departure from Raducanu’s coaching team just two days later.
Darren Cahill (above) is one of the more qualified people to take Raducanu forward in her game
Cahill also coached Daniela Hantuchova, who has an all-time career singles ranking high of World No 5, but her career highlights came in the mixed doubles category in the early 2000s.
The Australian has also worked with Andy Murray in the past and was seen in the British No 1’s player’s box during the 2014 Indian Wells tournament, after the Wimbledon champion had split with former coach Ivan Lendl for the first time.
Also in the men’s game, Cahill coached Lleyton Hewitt to become the youngest player to reach World No 1 back in November 2001.
Cahill, a 1988 US Open semi-finalist, is perhaps one of the more qualified people to take charge of Raducanu’s career, but like Henman, he also has punditry and sponsorship duties with ESPN and Adidas respectively which could affect matters.
The Australian (left) coached Simona Halep (right) to World No 1 but left his role this week
Another British coach who has experience of WTA Tour coaching is Andy Bettles, who is currently coaching world No 4 Elina Svitolina and is the former hitting partner of top ranked player Ana Ivanovic.
Bettles had an unremarkable tennis career himself but is now coaching one of the top players in the world in Ukrainian Svitolina, though unlike Raducanu she is yet to win a Grand Slam under his stewardship.
There would be an element of risk for Bettles to take on Raducanu’s career. First, the 28-year-old has been a part of Svitolina’s coaching team since 2018 so there is a long-term investment there.
Andy Bettles, coach of Ukrainian World No 5 Elina Svitolina (above), is another British option
Meanwhile, it is worth remembering that Svitolina is ranked higher than Raducanu in the rankings and success in a very open women’s draw is still likely should he remain with Svitolina.
However, Raducanu is quite simply the biggest thing in tennis, while Svitolina was beaten by Leylah Fernandez at Flushing Meadows, who went on to lose to the British star in the final.
Svitolina also has Marcos Baghdatis as a coach – so there is an opportunity to move on for Bettles should he wish.
Another option for Raducanu is French coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who is another extremely well-qualified option for the British No 1.
Mouratoglou is one of the most successful tennis coaches in the world, having been Serena William’s chief trainer since 2012, helping her win three Wimbledon titles, three US Open victories, a pair of French Open and Australian Open wins along with the Olympic gold medal.
Patrick Mouratoglou (right) is an option having been Serena Williams’ (left) coach since 2012
The 51-year-old also took Williams back to the top of the WTA rankings, but the American tennis icon’s last Grand Slam title came in 2017 and she is now ranked at 41 in the world. Things are starting to fade for the 39-year-old.
The French tennis coach’s record is excellent and he is no stranger to taking on young British female talents. Mouratoglou coached Laura Robson between 2010 and 2011 but injury problems damaged her career and the Frenchman moved on.
While there are clear positives to taking on Mouratoglou, there will naturally be a greater expectation on Raducanu should she take on one of the world’s top coaches.
Mouratoglou (far right at Wimbledon) also coaches American teen Coco Gauff (not pictured)
Success is not always guaranteed with the Frenchman as well. He is yet to deliver a Grand Slam title for Greek talent Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is been teetering on the edge of glory for some time.
Mouratoglou is also on American teenage tennis star Coco Gauff’s coaching team – how many young tennis prodigies can he really take on?
One unlikely option would be a reunion with Nigel Sears, who coached Raducanu at her infamous Wimbledon tournament before stepping aside for Richardson to take her place.
Raducanu (right) could go back to ex-coach and Andy Murray’s father-in-law Nigel Sears (left)
Sears, the father of Kim and therefore Andy Murray’s father-in-law, has an excellent pedigree in the women’s game having coached the likes of Ivanovic, Hantuchova and young Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who has won two career titles in her career aged 25.
The 64-year-old was Raducanu’s coach for three years before quitting after Wimbledon, would she really go back to him after Richardson took her to the next level?
Sears did, however, coach Raducanu on a consultancy basis so maybe there could be a more permanent advisory role in the making?