Britain’s new tennis heroine Emma Raducanu has arrived in Indian Wells. A video released by the organisers shows her training in front of Californian mountains and palm trees under the watchful eye of Jeremy Bates, the former British No1.
Bates is in Indian Wells with Katie Boulter, the British No6, whom he has been steering for several years. But he is also the Lawn Tennis Association’s national coach, so has a general watching brief over the leading British women.
Raducanu will be playing only her third tournament on the WTA Tour. She lost in the first round of both previous events – first at Nottingham against compatriot Harriet Dart, and then in San Jose on her return to the tour after Wimbledon.
Raducanu’s coaching situation is a major talking point in British tennis. She has already split with two coaches this year after short but apparently successful runs – the first being Nigel Sears, who assisted her during the grass-court season, and the second being Andrew Richardson, who supervised her mind-boggling US Open triumph.
On both occasions, it was a surprise when the Raducanu family decided to end the partnership. But then, even during her junior days, she tended to move quickly between coaches – and sometimes even to use multiple coaches at once. At one point, a rumour went around that her father Ian wanted her to have a different specialist coach for each shot.
Could Bates be a contender to work with Raducanu on an individual level? Perhaps. He knows the game inside-out, both from his own experience as the best British male of the early 1990s and from many years coaching on behalf of the LTA.
But his presence in Indian Wells is more down to Boulter and his role as a national coach than any sort of audition. Raducanu is expected to appoint an official coach at the end of the season, as she prepares for her first full year on the tour.
Raducanu inspires £30m funding boost for tennis courts
By Molly McElwee
The Emma Raducanu bounce is officially taking hold with tangible investment, after the Government announced a £30 million pledge to revive thousands of public tennis courts across the country.
Eighteen-year-old Raducanu’s historic win at the US Open captured the attention of the nation as 9.2 million tuned into Channel 4 to see her become Britain’s first female major champion since 1977.
On Saturday the Government made public their £21.9m commitment to seize on this moment, with the Lawn Tennis Association making its own £8.4m contribution, in plans to refurbish more than 4,500 courts at more than 1,500 venues.
It comes after unprecedented success for British tennis in New York, with Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett completing a Grand Slam with their fourth wheelchair doubles major title of 2021, and Joe Salisbury winning both doubles titles in the men’s and mixed events. The trio and Raducanu were welcomed back to the UK with a flashy welcome home event last month, and there are renewed hopes for long-term British success in tennis across the board.
The new investment is aiming to translate to increased participation, and open up the sport to people of all backgrounds. It follows Andy Murray’s calls last month for the LTA to “capitalise” on this “opportunity” to spread the sport’s reach.