Raducanu embracing life as a ‘loner’ with no coach
By Ben Rothenberg in Rome
Emma Raducanu believes going it alone on tour is helping her to understand what she needs to do to continue her rise towards the top of the rankings, as she prepares to face a fellow former US Open champion in her opening match in Rome. Raducanu will face a tough test against Bianca Andreescu in the first round of the Italian Open, a player who, like herself last year, won at Flushing Meadows after rising from relative obscurity in 2019. It will be Raducanu’s second meeting against a US Open champion – she won the first against 2017 champion Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open in January – and although she is travelling with the LTA’s Iain Bates, Raducanu is still without a designated full-time coach. But she said she enjoyed the independence and introversion on tour, cheerfully calling herself “a loner”. “I can easily and very happily spend a lot of time on my own. I think it’s something that is off court as well as on court,” she said. “For the past year, I’d say I’ve had a lot of people around me. And very often, to be on my own is interesting because I’m kind of finding out a lot about myself, understanding what I need and what I don’t need.” Raducanu won two rounds at each of her first two tournaments on clay, reaching the quarter-finals in Stuttgart in April and the last 16 of the Madrid Open last week. Her draw in Rome offers a steep climb to reach that threshold: the 10th seed opens against Andreescu, 21, of Canada, who has been ranked as high as four in the world. “It’s going to be a good matchup,” Raducanu said. “She’s a great athlete and obviously a champion.” Raducanu had not played a professional match on clay before last month and is still finding her timing on the surface, learning when to attack and when to wait. “I feel like I have been progressing with each week, improving, just getting a better understanding of when to stay in the point or when to stay aggressive,” she said.