Former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta has launched a bizarre attack on Emma Raucanu, saying the teenage star’s grand slam triumph is “not good for tennis”.
Raducanu shocked the tennis world by winning the US Open and becoming the first qualifier in history to win a grand slam title.
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And while the tennis world was completely captivated by the British teenager’s extraordinary achievement, Pennetta was less than impressed.
The 2015 US Open champion reckons a qualifier should never be able to win a grand slam and is a bad look for the women’s game.
“I don’t like it. What is happening, this very strong discontinuity, in my opinion, is not good for tennis,” the retired Italian told Corriere della Sera.
“In my time it could never have happened that a young girl played from qualifying, like Emma Raducanu in New York, to win a grand slam.
“Top athletes made too much difference. There is something wrong.
“Charisma is missing, so women’s tennis is more difficult to sell.”
Emma Raducanu on the hunt for new coach
Raducanu raised eyebrows after parting ways with coach Andrew Richardson after her US Open victory.
Richardson coached the teenage star for two years at youth level and linked up with her again in July on a short-term deal for the duration of her time in the United States.
However Raducanu said she was looking for a coach with more experience at WTA level.
“If any experienced coaches are out there looking, you know where to find me,” she said.
“I’m not joking, if anyone knows any experienced coaches.”
Australia’s Darren Cahill, Argentina’s Carlos Rodriguez and Spaniard Esteban Carril have all been linked with the role, but it’s the latter who looks set to begin a trial period with the 18-year-old.
Carril previously worked with Johanna Konta before being axed just weeks after she was named most improved player of 2016 and broke into the world’s top 10.
Michael Joyce – the American coach who masterminded Maria Sharapova’s rise to tennis stardom – says he can’t understand Raducanu’s decision to part ways with her former coach.
He’s described taking over the role as the British teen’s tennis mentor as somewhat of a poisoned chalice.
“I was really surprised with the wording of the statement that was released when Emma announced she was splitting with Andrew Richardson, saying she felt she needed someone with Tour-level experience,” Joyce told Sun Sport.
“I didn’t like the statement. If you have a good coach and it works well, then you’d think you would want to stick with them. Why would you want a big-name coach?
“She’s a great player but it’s going to be a tough job for the next coach, as expectations are high.
“If she goes to the Australian Open next year and goes out early, people will say it’s because of the coach.
“I’d known Maria for quite a long time before coaching her, as I was her hitting partner. We got to know each other, we were on a journey.
“It’s a tough one for whoever comes in and works with Emma as they won’t have that relationship and they will be under a lot of scrutiny.”
Additional reporting by Andrew Reid
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