“Work hard and good things will happen,” Barry Cowan says Emma Raducanu must trust the ‘process’ with long-term planning a key part of the British No 1’s progress alongside side her coach, Torben Beltz, despite an injury-hit start to the 2022 season
Tennis analyst Barry Cowan says people must not have “knee-jerk reactions” just because Emma Raducanu loses a match, but he insists she needs long-term planning.
The 19-year-old has been unable to find any momentum since her stunning US Open triumph in September.
Her pre-season training in December was disrupted by a bout of Covid-19 and she then struggled with a blister on her hand at the Australian Open.
The British No 1 suffered a minor injury to her left leg during a gruelling first-round match against Daria Saville in Guadalajara – the longest WTA match of the season – before pulling out of the WTA tournament in Monterrey.
This is going to be a difficult part of the year for Emma because of Indian Wells, Miami and then the clay where she’s incredibly inexperienced but just because she loses a match, it’s not the end of the world.
Although Cowan says Raducanu might not be playing top-10 tennis right now, it’s important she maintains her relationship with coach, Torben Beltz.
“She needs consistency around her to put in the hard yards and improve as a player. There’s so much there in terms of her tennis, but there are certain things along the way that are going to affect you because your life is going to change and she’s in demand,” Cowan told Sky Sports.
“Right now, anything that’s happening on the match court for me is something that I don’t get worried about. It’s elsewhere. Is she putting in the hard practice sessions? Is she focused? Has she got her mind on tennis? At the moment, I’m not worried about it.
“This is going to be a difficult part of the year for Emma because of Indian Wells, Miami and then the clay where she’s incredibly inexperienced but just because she loses a match, it’s not the end of the world.
“If she feels pressure is building then unfortunately that only tends to go one way and then you panic a bit and if she makes another coaching change because she’s lost another couple of matches, it’s short-term. She needs long-term planning which is something I hope will happen.
“If she has three coaches in a year and she’s constantly changing things, searching for the US Open level, then I think her confidence can erode quickly.”
Beltz, who is best known for his work with fellow German tennis player Angelique Kerber, teamed up with Raducanu ahead of the 2022 season after she parted ways with Nigel Sears after Wimbledon and Andrew Richardson after the US Open.
Cowan hopes his appointment with the current world No 12 will last for, two, three or even four years.
“If you look at the history of the sport, the very, very top players in those key years, between 18-22, very few of them change coaches. They have that consistent coach for that period of time,” he said.
“Emma needs a constant message. You don’t get lucky to win a US Open at 18-year-old in the way she did, but there shouldn’t be pressure.
“There shouldn’t be pressure for Emma to do well at the French Open or Indian Wells or Miami.
“Right now, she’s not a top 16 level. She’s not top 20 level or top 30 level at the moment – that will come.
“If she’s judging herself on not making third round at those tournaments as a failure, I think that’s a very dangerous mindset for her to be in.
Multiple Grand Slam champion in the making?
Since Serena Williams won her record 23rd Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open, 12 of the next 19 majors have seen first-time champions – including Raducanu’s remarkable victory in New York.
But Cowan believes the British teenager will add to her title triumph at Flushing Meadows in years ahead.
He said: “I did see her as a multiple Grand Slam winner when she won the US Open, so why should I change my mind six months later?
“We all have to make sure we’re not knee-jerk in our reactions just because Emma loses a match there is still so much tennis ahead of her.
“Across the sport if you take your eye off the ball, whoever you are, things can go wrong very quickly. You’ve got to be consistent in what you’re doing and have a consistent team around you.