Andy Murray will be working with a new coach in Stockholm this week – the in-demand Spaniard Esteban Carril – as he looks to turbo-charge his recent climb up the rankings.
The news has ramifications beyond Murray’s camp, however, as Carril is the one coach who is known to have performed a trial with Emma Raducanu last month. Carril is clearly out of the running now for that post, which was described by another leading coach last month as a “poisoned chalice”.
Just to send further ripples across the small pond of British tennis, Raducanu told reporters on Sunday that she has a coach in place for the Australian Open in January. Strangely, though, she declined to reveal the identity of the new appointment.
All we can say, as things stand, is that Carril is not the man in question. Sources suggested that Murray felt he needed a shake-up, after a month in which he has beaten three top-50 players but also produced an uncharacteristically wayward effort against unheralded German Dominik Koepfer. His ranking has recovered a little in that time, from a low point of No172 to No144, but still fails to reflect the quality of many of his recent performances.
None of this means that Murray’s head coach Jamie Delgado, a stable part of the set-up for more than five years, is leaving. The idea is for Carril – whose presence in Stockholm is, again, being described as a trial – to add extra input, in the same way that Mark Petchey did during the summer.
Raducanu, meanwhile, continues to travel to European events without a coach. She is in the Austrian city of Linz this week, with a small entourage that consists of her mother Renee and agent Chris Helliar.
“I’m here on my own and being my [own] coach again this week,” said Raducanu, “which I think is really good for me long-term. I’m really feeling positive about my coaching situation. It’s in a good place. And yeah, I will have a coach in place in the Australian Open.”
Asked why she wasn’t ready to reveal the coach’s name, she replied “It’s a bit confidential. Yeah, I mean, it’s my decision. It’s not like fully done and yeah, that’s it. It’s in a good place.”
Raducanu’s coaching situation has been a talking point since Andrew Richardson’s contract went unrenewed after her US Open triumph. When Raducanu lost her opening match at Indian Wells a month ago, she told reporters “If any experienced coaches are out there looking, you know where to find me.”
Volunteers have not been numerous. The rapid turnover of coaches within the Raducanu camp – which saw Nigel Sears oversee her grass-court events this summer, before Richardson took over for the American hard-court leg – led Maria Sharapova’s former coach Michael Joyce to call the position a “poisoned chalice”. There is a perception that anyone who takes on the role may not hold it for long.
Raducanu will play a qualifier – either Kateryna Kozlova or Xinyu Wang – in her opening match in Linz on Tuesday. She reaffirmed on Sunday that she had felt off-colour in Romania the week before last, where she lost heavily to Marta Kostyuk in the quarter-finals of the Transylvanian Open. But five PCR tests all showed negative for Covid, and Raducanu insists that she is now “feeling the ball well” again as she prepares for her final event of the season.