Emma Raducanu lines up Esteban Carril as trial coach ahead of next week’s Transylvania Open
Emma Raducanu and Cam Norrie have sparked something of a gold rush for British tennis, with the latest episode taking place in the Californian desert last night.
While Norrie was contesting the final of the BNP Paribas Open, Raducanu was looking ahead to next week’s Transylvania Open in Romania, with the likelihood of having a trial coach in place.
The US Open champion is believed to be lining up Esteban Carril, the Spaniard who helped turn Jo Konta into a world-class player.
Carril, 44, had a journeyman career as a player but has gained a glowing reputation as a coach. He took Konta from outside the top 100 to No 10 before they surprisingly split in late 2016, shortly after she had been voted most improved player of that year.
While there has yet to be official confirmation, he looks like the candidate identified to take on Konta’s successor as British No 1. She has been without a coach since the deal with Andrew Richardson was not renewed after New York.
Carril has had a lengthy tie-up with the British game and the Lawn Tennis Association. He has recently been with Katie Swan and was also involved briefly at the troubled LTA Academy project in Stirling.
Having withdrawn from this week’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Raducanu is due to play in the WTA event at Cluj-Napoca next week, followed by Linz in Austria before wrapping up a season of dramatic breakthroughs.
Konta is considering ending her playing career after slipping down to No 82 in the rankings
Several coaching candidates have been spoken to and in Indian Wells the Kent teenager used Jeremy Bates as a stopgap option.
Konta, who is seriously considering ending her career, is now down to 82 in the rankings but showed a startling improvement when working with the Spaniard.
Raducanu’s feats in New York have kick-started a heady period for the elite end of the British game. It has also included Joe Salisbury winning the doubles at the US Open, where wheelchair players Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid also won titles.
Dan Evans made the fourth round at Flushing Meadows while Andy Murray’s fitness has suggested his career may yet be prolonged.
Following Raducanu’s success at the US Open Amazon are putting £1m into the women’s game
Regardless of the result last night when Norrie took on Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, the 26-year-old left-hander has a chance of making the year-end ATP Finals in Turin for the season’s top eight players.
The success of Raducanu means Amazon are putting £1million into the women’s game from the sales of the rights to her US Open final.
Much bigger than that is the Government promising £22m of funds to renovate public tennis courts. There are fair questions to be asked whether this is an appropriate use of taxpayer money, given the £40m-plus the LTA receives annually from Wimbledon.
True success at the sharp end for the LTA would be represented by a steady supply of top-100 players. This still looks some way off. Along with Raducanu, Konta is in the top 100 for now, as is 29-year-old Heather Watson. Beneath them are three younger players — Harriet Dart, Katie Boulter and Francesca Jones — bunched between 140 and 160.
Cam Norrie has a chance of making the year-end ATP Finals for the season’s top eight players
Norrie and Dan Evans are firm fixtures in the men’s top 30. If their fitness stands up to it, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund ought to rise again.
Otherwise the candidates to join them look limited in the immediate future. Liam Broady has had a strong season in moving up to No 126 and Jack Draper has shown flashes of immense promise, although he has had injury problems since his eyecatching grass court season and recently split with coach Ryan Jones.
Murray returns this week to Antwerp and the European Open, where two years ago he won the title after having a metal cap inserted in his hip. He badly needs a decent run to revive his falsely depressed ranking and has a tough first- round draw against American Frances Tiafoe.