Emma Raducanu has lined up a trial with seasoned Spaniard Esteban Carril this week as she looks to find a coach to accompany her to the Transylvanian Open in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca.
Carril – who is 44 and had a highest singles ranking of No462 – made his name by helping Johanna Konta climb from outside the world’s top 100 into the top 10, thanks partly to her unexpected run to the semi-finals of the 2016 Australian Open.
Since that partnership concluded, at the end of the 2016 season, Carril has been closely associated with the Lawn Tennis Association.
His duties there included a part-time stint at the LTA’s National Academy in Stirling, Scotland.
Most recently, he has been working with British No 10 Katie Swan, although he was also on hand to offer a few tips to Raducanu when she was developing her service action last year.
Raducanu is entered into two more events this season, first in Romania in a week’s time and then in Linz early next month.
After losing her opening match at Indian Wells 10 days ago, she sounded frustrated that she had not been supported by a full-time coach, saying: “If any experienced coaches are out there looking, you know where to find me.”
Raducanu’s year has already featured two relatively short-term coaching appointments. Nigel Sears filled the role during the grass-court season and Andrew Richardson during her six-week summer stint in the United States, which ended with her extraordinary triumph at the US Open.
“It’s tough to have that conversation with anyone,” she said, when asked about the end of Richardson’s short tenure.
“But I need someone who’s had that professional tour experience, and has been through it.”
Richardson had worked with Raducanu a decade ago in Bromley during her formative stages, but he has not previously
accompanied a top-100 player around the various stops of the WTA Tour. The circumstances around Raducanu’s brief visit to Indian Wells, where she lost her first match since the US Open to world No 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, seemed less than ideal.
The former British No1 Jeremy Bates – who also works for the LTA – helped out with her preparations but was due to leave after her opening match whatever the result, as he had a prior commitment with British No5 Katie Boulter.
Some tennis insiders believe that the rapid coach turnover in the Raducanu camp has made other potential signings think twice about taking up a role with her.
Michael Joyce, who worked with Maria Sharapova for years, has gone so far as to describe the post as a “poisoned chalice”.
The coaching carousel usually speeds up in the off-season, with more appointments being made and also shelved, but Raducanu would surely be more comfortable if she can put someone in place before the end of this breakthrough year.
In Indian Wells, the only member of her three-strong team from the US Open to be present was her IMG co-agent Chris Helliar, as Richardson and the LTA physio Will Herbert both remained in the UK.
Raducanu’s trip to the WTA 250 event in Romania will give her a chance to finally open her account on the WTA Tour, where she has played only three matches to date.
Her father Ian is Romanian by birth, and her grandmother Niculina still lives in Bucharest.