John McEnroe addressed Emma Raducanu’s worrying Wimbledon withdrawal (Pictures: Getty/BBC)
John McEnroe has been criticised after claiming the
Wimbledon experience ‘got too much’ for British wildcard Emma Raducanu after her worrying withdrawal from the All England Club.
The 18-year-old, ranked 338th in the world before the tournament, was trailing 4-6 0-3 to Ajla Tomljanovic when she called for medical assistance.
She left court to receive further treatment but it was soon announced she would not be returning and had retired from the fourth-round match.
It is not yet known whether Raducanu suffered an injury or was struggling mentally, although she appeared to be holding her stomach before her withdrawal.
McEnroe – who won seven Grand Slams, including three Wimbledon titles – claimed the occasion got the better of Raducanu just moments after her dream debut came to an abrupt end.
He told BBC Sport: ‘It’s a shame. I feel bad for Emma. It appears like it just got too much which is understandable.
‘It makes you look at the guys and girls who have been around for so long and wonder how they handle it. Hopefully she will learn from this experience.
‘Maybe it’s not a shame this has happened right now when she is 18. I played this tournament at 18 and in a way I was happy I lost.
‘I was able to understand what it would take to make it. Allow her to take some deep breaths and maybe get some wildcards.’
His comments have been widely criticised on social media, however, with celebrity doctor Alex George saying he ‘didn’t realise McEnroe was medically qualified’.
Raducanu defied the odds to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon and announce herself onto the world stage.
Reacting to Raducanu’s retirement, former British No. 1 Annabel Croft said: ‘We’ve seen so much from Emma in the course of this tournament.
‘She’s got a complete technique, a beautiful service motion and a good second serve. She also has a strong head on her shoulders. She’s very joyful and brings it the court.
‘It’s painful to see her go out this way, but this has been a great launchpad. There’s going to be a lot of interest in her now.
‘For Emma now it’s about working with her team around her keeping her feet on the ground. She’s extremely intelligent – both as a player on the court, and as a person.’
Raducanu was 4-6 0-3 to Ajla Tomljanovic (Picture: Getty)
Raducanu’s opponent, meanwhile, admitted she was shocked by the manner of her victory, which sets up a quarter-final meeting with fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty.
‘I am actually shocked because Emma must be hurt if she came to the decision to retire,’ Tomljanovic said. ‘I am really sorry for her, I wish we could have finished it. I am wishing her all the best.
‘I thought I found my groove although Emma was hurt and not at her best, which kind of explains it.
‘It didn’t really sink in I’m in the quarters because of the circumstances. I am thrilled to play Ash, and to have two Aussies in the quarter-finals is great for everyone back home.’
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