Dmitry Tursunov says he decided to stop coaching Emma Raducanu at the end of his trial period with the tennis star because of “red flags” that he could not ignore.
The Russian had been working with the 19-year-old after she split with full-time coach Torben Beltz in April but has since said the pair could not agree on terms.
Tursunov is now working with Olympic champion Belinda Bencic but says that was not the reason he left Raducanu.
“I was walking away from Emma regardless of whether there was another [player] available or not,” he told tennismajors.com, in an interview published on Wednesday.
“We didn’t agree on the terms and there were some red flags that just couldn’t be ignored. So that’s why it’s a little frustrating to read things like that.
“I wasn’t hopping from one player to another, I wouldn’t do that.”
Raducanu burst onto the scene in 2021, reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon before winning the US Open.
The then 18-year-old became the first qualifier in either men’s or women’s tennis to reach a grand slam final, let alone win one.
‘She is hungry to improve’
Injuries, poor form and changes to her coaching staff have contributed to disappointing results ever since and the teenager is now ranked 76th in the world.
Earlier this month, she pulled out of the Transylvania Open due to a wrist injury.
Despite her struggling to settle into the WTA Tour, Tursunov was full of praise for his former player.
“First of all, she’s absolutely great, she’s a hard worker and she doesn’t think or act like she’s a superstar,” he added.
“She is hungry to improve and is obsessed with tennis. I think it’s quite a rare combination. So I really loved working with her, and I really wanted to make it work. It was a very difficult decision for me to walk away from a player that I like and respect.
“In my opinion, she’s minimum a one-year project, but I would say that she’s probably a two-and-a-half-year project to be on the safe side.
“Of course, it’s hard to say that and it’s hard for people to understand how it is possible because she already won the US Open. But, in my opinion, her game is very raw, and I think in many ways it could use a lot of improvement.”
CNN has reached out to Raducanu’s team for comment but has not received a reply.