Former British No. 1 Tim Henman has emerged as the secret mentor to US Open champion Emma Raducanu, assisting her coach Andrew Richardson, who was Henman’s best man and at his wedding in 1999.
Raducanu has parted company with Nigel Sears, her coach of three years earlier this tear. Sears is Andy Murray’s wife Kim’s father.
Speaking after her semi-final victory in New York Raducanu praised Henman. “Tim is honestly such a big inspiration. He has been helping me to treat one point at a time. You can’t get ahead of yourself.”
Henman, 47, was working for Amazon Prime TV network covering the US Open, but was also offering the teenager advice on how t cope with the pressures of Grand Slam tennis.
And his support has been recognised as a massive boost to Raducanu, who’s parents Ian and Renee could not be in New York because of covid restrictions.
“Tim is honestly such a big inspiration. He has been helping me to treat one point at a time. You can’t get ahead of yourself,” Raducanu said after her amazing win.
It has also been revealed that Henman’s employers, Amazon, also invested in Raducanu, part-funding her tennis development with a £60,000 payment through the Prime Video Future Talent Award.
‘It’s phenomenal the way she has gone about it with such limited experience and at such a high level,” Henman said just before her semi-final victory.
“She has been outstanding. The key thing is just concentrating on her game plan. She has played on [this court] a couple of times so she knows the surroundings.
“It is hard at any age to shut out all the noise around her whether it be the media or friends getting in contact. She has to concentrate on what she is doing.”
And Henman backed Raducanu to win more majors.
“What she has achieved, second grand slam and the way she has gone about it, she will win more of these, she is that good,” he said.
“This is not some flash in the pan or fairy tale. She is playing top five tennis. Her world will be turned upside down but she has good people around her. It will be a hell of a ride if she can stay injury free.
“It is hard at any age to shut out all the noise around her whether it be the media or friends getting in contact. She had to concentrate on what she was doing.”
Amazon Prime screened the game live, and agreed a deal with free-to-air Channel 4 in the UK to share the broadcast, attracting nine million viewers.