Less than two weeks after becoming the first qualifier to win the US Open, 18-year-old tennis phenom Emma Raducanu is letting go of the person who helped her claim the title. Raducanu is parting ways with her coach, 47-year-old Andrew Richardson, for his lack of WTA tour experience and plans to wait until the season's end to pick a replacement.
Richardson and Raducanu worked together for two years at the youth level and reunited on a short-term deal in July. Under Richardson, Raducanu developed into the WTA's 22nd-ranked player and Britain's first female Grand Slam winner since 1977 as the first qualifier ever to win the US Open.
That rapid ascent apparently wasn't enough for Raducanu to keep Richardson.
"At the time, I thought Andrew would be a great coach to trial, so we went to the States but never did I even dream of winning the US Open and having the run I did," Raducanu said. "And now I'm ranked No. 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me."
Raducanu reportedly doesn't have a replacement for Richardson in mind, but she's looking for someone with significant WTA tour experience. The former Davis Cup player Richardson doesn't quite have that, as he's competed in only three Grand Slam events -- all Wimbledon -- and advanced past the first round once.
A common trope is "you are who you surround yourself with," and the newly crowned US Open champ Raducanu is taking those words to heart by looking for a fellow championship-caliber player as her coach.
"I'm looking for someone who has been at that level and knows what it takes," Raducanu said. "And especially right now because I'm so new to it, I really need someone to guide me who's already been through that."
Raducanu has yet to compete since her US Open win -- except for a friendly double's match with Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton -- and doesn't have a timeline for her return yet. That timeline, though, could reveal itself relatively soon.
"I'll decide in the next few days where I'm going to go to but, wherever I play next, I'm going to make sure I'm ready," Raducanu said. "I don't want to jump into things too early."
Except when it comes to letting go of the coach that helped her win a Grand Slam title.