‘Let Her Breathe’ - Top Coach Nick Bollettieri Says US Open Champion Raducanu Needs Time - UBITENNIS
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‘Let Her Breathe’ – Top Coach Nick Bollettieri Says US Open Champion Raducanu Needs Time

The iconic tennis mentor gives his view on the British teenager and her future in the sport.

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Emma Raducanu reacts during a Women's Singles match at the 2021 US Open, Monday, Sep. 6, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

One of the most prestigious coaches in the world of tennis believes Emma Raducanu has a bright future ahead but nothing is for certain.

Nick Bollettieri is a 90-year-old tennis mentor who has worked with no fewer than 10 former world No.1 players during his career, including Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and both of the Williams sisters. He founded the Nick Bollettieri Academy in 1978 which was later bought by IMG. However, he continues to be involved in the academy until the present day.

Writing for the Daily Mail, Bollettieri praised Raducanu’s mental strength during her historic run at the US Open where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title at the age of 18. Raducanu was playing in the main draw of a WTA event for only the fourth time in her career. Prior to the tournament she had never faced a top 20 player but managed to score wins over Maria Sakkari and Belinda Bencic. In the final she defeated fellow rising star Leylah Fernandez. Throughout her time in New York Raducanu didn’t drop a set in 10 matches played.

“I was impressed by Emma’s physicality in the final against Leylah Fernandez, who in her own right is a deeply impressive player,” Bollettieri commented.
“Emma’s mental control throughout her unprecedented feat was marvellous. She didn’t crack. She smiled and prevailed.”

Looking into her game in more detail, the American coach says he is impressed by Raducanu’s footwork which he also says is an important part of Roger Federer’s game. The teenager is currently mentored by Nigel Sears who previously worked with the likes of Ana Ivanovic and Daniela Hantuchova. She is also supported by the Lawn Tennis Association and is part of their highest-level support programme which provides support to players aged 16-24 in the UK who are considered the best in the country.

“Emma does all the basics well, but eye-catching was her remarkable footwork. That’s the bedrock for everything else. Roger Federer has sublime talent and shots but the bedrock is in the footwork. Watch it, but you’ll need slo-mo,” he said.
“Emma’s ability to strike difficult balls well was outstanding at this US Open. Striking a ball well is requirement 101 but consistently hitting back those tough shots: that marks you out. Those are the positives.”

Becoming the first British woman to win a major title since 1977, Raducanu has received a surge of interest in her by both fans and sponsors. The question is what will the future have in store for her?

Bollettieri is staying cautiously optimistic about how dominant Raducanu can become on the Tour. He points out in recent times players such as Jelena Ostapenko and Bianca Andreescu have also triumphed in the major tournament but are yet to win their second title.

‘Raducanu’s next tournament, and next Slam, will be telling. We’ll see how she copes with fame, and having done something nobody has ever done before, and expectations she’ll keep doing it,” he said.
“I can’t tell you with any honesty I know she’ll be a world-beater. I see the potential, and all sorts of positives, and I hope she continues to soar. But go easy, and let her breathe. Let her find her way.”

As to what advice he would give to Raducanu, Bollettieri said it is vital to ‘never be satisfied’ and always want to improve further. Adding that the tennis player and those around her must be patient with her progress.

Raducanu has pulled out of her next tournament which was meant to be the Chicago Fall Classic Open next week. Instead, her focus is getting ready for the Indian Wells tournament which will take place in October.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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