“Ivan Lendl didn’t help Sascha Zverev at all” Mats Wilander talks about the need for proper grooming of youngsters, draws comparison to Emma Raducanu

Former World No. 1 Mats Wilander praises Emma Raducanu over the hiring of coach Torben Beltz, draws comparison to the unsuccessful paring of Sascha and Lendl.

Mats Wilander and Emma Raducanu
Mats Wilander and Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu‘s search for a coach was one of the most interesting sagas in the second half of the 2021 season. The teenager who shocked the world by winning the 2021 US Open ranked 150th in the world and having entered the tournament as a qualifier, she parted ways with her then-coach Andrew Richardson only a week later.

She then played 3 more tournaments before ending her season and was without a permanent coach during the spell and that reflected in her results as she was defeated by World No. 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in Indian Wells, World no. 55 Marta Kostyuk in Romania and then to World No. 106 Xinyu Wang in Linz, her final appearance of the 2021 WTA season.

She has since then hired Torben Beltz, the former coach of 2-time Grand Slam champion and Olympics silver medallist Angelique Kerber, as her permanent coach. Speaking on her hiring of Beltz, 7-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Mats Wilander believes that it is a good move for the 18-year old who is yet to play a full season on the tour.

“Ivan Lendl didn’t help Sascha Zverev at all! In the end, he was forced to try with these so-called “superstars” coaches. But that doesn’t work for an 18-year-old. They need to grow at their own pace. For me, it’s the same with Emma Raducanu. It’s not a good idea to have too many voices in your head. The only voice she needs to listen to is her own,” said Wilander.

Emma Raducanu to play 2 exhibition matches in 2021

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu

Ivan Lendl, the 8-time Grand Slam champion had joined the team of Alexander Zverev in August 2018 and split in July 2019 over poor results and personal differences between Sascha and Ivan. Wilander pointed specifically to the need for young players needing different grooming than already established players and believes that not all coaches are able to guide youngsters easily.

As for Emma, she can now test her pairing with Beltz when she plays in an exhibition match against Elena-Gabriela Ruse at the Champions Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall on 28 November 2021 and then will travel to Abu Dhabi where she will play Belinda Bencic in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on 16 December 2021.

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