Emma Raducanu, the 18-year-old American tennis prodigy, announced on Instagram that she has lost to 28-year-old European qualifier Amadise Bergechi of France in the opening round of the women’s singles of the Carina Wertschlager Bata (WIM) Tennis tournament in Torun, Austria.
Raducanu has been the subject of much on-court speculation in the last couple weeks with suggestions that she would be the next face of the American women’s tennis program.
On Monday, the Washington Post broke the news that Washington private school coach Raphael Beltz, who coached Washington’s top-ranked player, Madison Keys, and coaches daughter Alize, the Australian Open quarterfinalist, for years, would become the next head coach of the USTA’s Next Gen program.
A day later, at 9:55 a.m. on Tuesday, Raducanu, who was on the fence about what she would do, released a statement.
“It is quite unusual to be put in an awkward situation in regards to making this statement,” said the USTA-WIM player development international development director in a statement released by USTA. “Playing professionally was always the goal that we set for ourselves from a young age. Having the option to play internationally has been fantastic, but as we all know, that can change in a matter of minutes.
“It was a great challenge to face and took tremendous time and commitment, but ultimately it was the best decision for me and my career. I want to thank Raphael and Kim for the opportunities that they have given me, and wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future. I am excited to see the direction in which the program will be moving with him at the helm.”
Raducanu, a well-accomplished junior player, joined the USTA’s international development program in 2016 after winning every single Fed Cup singles rubber she ever played as a member of the United States’ junior Fed Cup team in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 season. Raducanu is scheduled to play for the United States at the world junior tennis championships in Bogota, Colombia, in July.
Bergechi, a native of Gabon who won both of her matches in the first round, swept Raducanu 6-1, 6-1.