Emma Raducanu has turned to the fitness trainer who helped transform Andy Murray from slender teenager into uber athlete.
In what may prove to be a significant hire, the former US Open champion has begun work with Jez Green on her off-season training block with a view to establishing a permanent partnership.
Emma Raducanu, who turns 20 next month, has already been in the gym with one of the most experienced operators in his field, who boasts an impressive c.v.
She is, however, once again looking for a coach after Dmitry Tursunov brought their arrangement to an end, with the California-based Russian believed to have made the choice himself.
The arrival of 50-year-old Green could well have a more lasting impact, as Raducanu’s body has proved a major impediment when it comes to backing up her extraordinary summer of 2021.
Green was a key component in making Murray someone who could handle the rigours of the tour, after an early career which was also restrained by physical shortcomings.
Having initially struggled with the demands of the modern game, the Scot became an outstanding athlete whose court coverage enabled him to reach world No 1 in the era of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Green’s eye for detail and easygoing manner saw him go on to work with the likes of Alexander Zverev and another US Open champion, Dominic Thiem. In recent days, he has been spotted at Roehampton’s National Tennis Centre with Raducanu.
Few around the circuit are more respected in his line of work, and Raducanu will hope that he can mould her into someone who can withstand the grind of the tour.
When last year’s Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova underwent a training block with Green, she described it as ‘life-changing’.
Green has developed his ideas over 20 years working on the tours and bases his approach on factors beyond just building up strength and fitness.
The focus is on how an athlete moves and building a long-term plan which, above all, seeks to enable players to get into the best position to hit the ball. He has spoken of needing six to 12 months to properly instil his ideas, including spells completely away from the tennis court.
Raducanu is currently using Andy Murray’s former fitness trainer to get herself back in shape
Recently, he explained his guiding principles to the Control the Controllables podcast. ‘My philosophy has always been that tennis is a movement sport,’ said Green. ‘People like to speak about track work or lifting weights but this is purely, to me, an accessory to movement.
‘I’m fascinated with the greats and how they move. The best players are always the best movers. The actual specifics of movement — where the feet place, what angles the hips are, what angles the knees are, the centre of gravity, how wide the base is.’
Emma Raducanu is a natural mover, so she should be a good subject for Green’s philosophy. She has worked with a variety of trainers and physios, but it has taken a long time to find someone who can fully oversee that side of the process. The aim will be to end the sight of tour staff regularly coming on court to administer running repairs.
This year, Raducanu has retired from four matches and had her grass campaign wrecked by a side strain. She is absent from this week’s Transylvania Open due to a nagging wrist problem.
While Green, who likes to take a long-term perspective in implementing his scientific principles, will be trying to address that, it will not be alongside Tursunov.
The Russian teamed up with Raducanu in late July with a view to seeing where they were at the end of the season. There appeared to be tentative signs that he was restoring an aggressive intent to her game, but it is thought he has decided to hook up with a player ranked considerably higher than the current world No 68.
In a reverse of what has happened too often with Raducanu in the past, it appears that he was the one wanting to go elsewhere.
Raducanu has split with a number of coaches but it seems Dmitry Tursunov walked away
There were also complications, unlikely to improve, when it came to his ability to travel. Although a long-time resident of the US, Tursunov’s nationality has made securing visas a potential snag. At the end of last month, the WTA event in Estonia became a Russian-free zone due to a government edict and there are increasing moves across the EU to limit their access.
Tursunov’s departure may be a useful jolt to Raducanu, whose post-New York problems began with her abrupt parting from Andrew Richardson.
Few players reach the top and stay there without a settled and trusted set-up. Green may be one part of the puzzle coming together, and another needs to be a full-time coach.
Raducanu’s regular tour season is over but she intends to play for GB in Glasgow next month at the 12-nation finals of the Billie Jean King Cup.