The Labour MP for Rhondda, Chris Bryant, has attacked the current British US Open tennis champion, Emma Raducanu for claims that she has hired former Russian tennis player, Dmitry Tursunov, as her new coach.
Mr Bryant, who is Chair of the all party parliamentary group on Russia, has urged the 19 year old to reconsider her decision, and at the very least to publicly condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Commenting on Raducanu’s decision to work with Tursunov, Bryant told the Telegraph, “The Kremlin will portray this as a PR coup and an indication that the UK doesn’t really care about the war in Ukraine, so it will be a real shame if Emma Raducanu goes ahead with this”.
Bryant’s comments have since been criticized by Vladimir Kornilo, a spokesperson for the Russian State news agency RIA, who said, ”Do you understand the extent of paranoia and outright Russiaphobia in the west”.
Bryant’s comments have though been echoed by the Conservative Chair of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Juian Knight MP, who said, “It does jar to see a Russian coaching Britain’s number one rising star”.
Mr Knight has urged the Lawn Tennis Association to show some leadership on the issue.
Raducan’s coaching relationship with Tursunov is reported to be starting on a trial basis during the impending US hard court season. Raducanu has been without a coach since she split with Roben Beltz in the spring of this year.
Mr Tursunov has yet to make any public comment about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.