Picking Russian coach bad news for Emma Raducanu – British MP

  • Emma Raducanu picked Dmitry Tursunov as her fourth coach
  • She cut ties with her ex-coach Torben Beltz after a five-month stint
  • British MP Chris Bryant warns this is a bad move

After deciding to engage Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov, British tennis star Emma Raducanu risks being used for Russian propaganda, Chris Bryant has warned.

Bryant is the chair of the all-Parliamentary group on Russia. He urged the defending US Open champion to reconsider her decision. Since she ended her relationship with Torben Beltz in April, the British star has not been working with a trainer.

Anett Kontaveit, currently ranked second in the world, is one of Tursunov’s former students. He was instrumental in assisting Kontaveit in her initial ascent to the global rankings.

After the French Open, he and his Estonian partner went their own ways since he was having trouble getting visas to travel to other countries due to the fact that he held a Russian passport.

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu. Photo/Inquirer Sports

He has not made any sort of public statement regarding the conflict, and in order for him to ever work in Britain, he would be required to sign a legal declaration condemning the invasion of Ukraine.

Bryant is one of the British MPs who noticed Raducanu’s action. The Labour MP, who is also a member of the select committee for Foreign Affairs, urged the winner, the 19-year-old to rethink the decision out of concern for the propaganda that it could have.

He says it would be a shame if she goes ahead because the Kremlin will present it as a PR coup. It will indicate that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine, he told Telegraph Sport.

“The Kremlin will portray this as a PR coup and an indication that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine, so it’ll be a real shame if Emma goes ahead with this. I urge her to think again and at the very least to condemn Putin’s barbaric war,” advised the MP.

Julian Knight, who is the chairman of the committee for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, was eager to provide his opinion as well. He urged the Lawn Tennis Association to become involved.

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu checking her blistered hand at the Australian Open. Photo/Sky Sports

The LTA offers Raducanu assistance in the areas of medicine, science, and general well-being. He said it’s not a good image having Tursunov coach the British No.1. Knight says he hopes that the LTA would provide some leadership in this situation and advise Raducanu on the most effective way to proceed.

He feels that should the Russian hold up to the coaching job; there must be hard talk around his take on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Tursunov is Raducanu’s fourth coach since she started her tennis career. She recently cut ties with Torben Beltz, a German coach who she picked in December 2021. Before Beltz, Raducanu sparked a fierce debate about playing without a coach after winning the US Open 2021. Andrew Richardson coached Raducanu in the months leading to the Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows in New York.

However, she hasn’t managed to win any other Grand Slam since then.

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