Serena Williams’ former coach Rick Macci expressed concern for Emma Raducanu after the Brit suggested she wished she had not won the 2021 US Open. Raducanu made history when she won her maiden Grand Slam title in New York over two years ago but coaching instability and injuries have hampered her development.
Raducanu has struggled with the added scrutiny that comes with being a major champion. She missed most of the 2023 season due to injury, undergoing surgery on both her wrists and her ankle in May as she played just 10 matches across five tournaments, posting a 5-5 record.
Raducanu suffered an ankle injury that forced her retirement from a second-round match in Auckland back in January, her first event of the year. The 21-year-old then fell to Coco Gauff in the second round of the Australian Open before returning at Indian Wells approximately two months later.
She won three matches to reach the last 16, where she was defeated by the World No. 1 Iga Swiatek. Raducanu was then beaten in the opening round in Miami to Bianca Andreescu, before losing to Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart in April in her most recent match.
Earlier this year, Raducanu – whose career-high ranking of World No. 10 came in July 2022 – revealed she sometimes wishes she never embarked on her incredible run to the US Open title. For Macci, the change in Raducanu’s mentality is the source of her problems.
“You don’t lose the talent or the skill: you lose the desire,” the American told Tennis Infinity. “With Emma, the only thing that’s a little concerning [is] when I hear she says, ‘I wish I wouldn’t have won the US Open, because everything changed.’ That’s brutal.
“I respect her honesty, but as a little girl, you pick up the racket, you love to play, it’s so innocent. Your goal is to like, ‘I want to be like that someday. I want to win tournaments and win a Grand Slam.’
“But anybody at that age that can go through qualifying, win the US Open, you got the talent. You got amazing potential mentally, but now it’s all against her. So I wouldn’t write her off. But just like [Naomi] Osaka, maybe not this year, but the following year, I think by the end of 2025, she could be top 10 in the world, if she is all in.”
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During his career, Macci has helped five players achieve the World No. 1 ranking across their careers: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriati and Andy Roddick. He also coached major champions Mary Pierce, Anastasia Myskina and Sofia Kenin.
The 69-year-old has spoken of his desire to coach Raducanu several times in the past – and the offer still stands as he looks to improve her mentality. Speaking to The Telegraph last month, Macci said: “If she’s going to listen to every little thing that is said about her then that doesn’t work, you’ve got to be bulletproof and I can help her with that.
“You need an ability to forget just as importantly as the ability to remember and she must learn from the adversity she’s faced.”
Raducanu is preparing to make her anticipated comeback next month at the WTA 250 tournament in Auckland, which could serve as a warmup event for the 2024 Australian Open.
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