John McEnroe caused fury on social media with his post-match comments on Emma Raducanu’s premature withdrawal from her fourth-round clash against Ajla Tomljanovic at Wimbledon on Monday evening. The teenage British hopeful was forced to pull out of the contest in the second set after receiving medical attention for an unspecified problem.
Raducanu gained plenty of admirers during her debut Grand Slam campaign at the All England Club, reaching the fourth round after a string of impressive victories against higher-ranked opposition.
However, she did not get the opportunity to progress to the last eight after she was rendered unable to continue by a troublesome issue that plagued her efforts to down Tomljanovic.
Speaking on BBC One after the match, McEnroe appeared to suggest that Raducanu simply gave up and was unable to cope with the occasion.
“I feel bad for Emma,” he said. “It appears it got a bit too much which is understandable, particularly what we’ve been talking about this last six weeks with [Naomi] Osaka.
“How much can players handle? It makes you look at the guys who have been around, and the girls, how well they can handle it.
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“People say: ‘You were so bad on the court, you used to misbehave’. But yes, I was the norm. These guys who can keep their composure, and the girls out there, are amazing.
“We have to appreciate the players who are able to do it so well and hopefully she will learn from her experience.”
McEnroe’s comments were widely criticised on Twitter, with many suggesting that his verdict on Raducanu’s withdrawal did not reflect the true nature of the situation.
Paul Newman wrote: “I think John McEnroe just suggested that Raducanu just bottled it and chose not to play because of the pressure.”
Iwannabeacontender responded: “In fairness to JM he’s called it as he sees it. Looked like a panic attack to me, poor girl.”
Sethgavriel posted: “Not sure if I like John McEnroe’s tone talking about Emma Raducanu as if she’s just a little girl who just couldn’t take the pressure like the other little girls including Naomi Osaka.”
Meanwhile, Nelle_Macbeth added: “Absolutely gutted for Raducanu, but that feeling overtaken by rage at McEnroe spouting absolute drivel and being super dismissive of her; making out like she just got overwhelmed when we have no idea what happened.”
Speaking after the match, Tomljanovic, who will face compatriot and world No 1 Ashleigh Barty in the next round at Wimbledon, wished Raducanu well and expressed her surprise at the unfortunate situation.
“I am actually shocked because Emma must be hurt if she came to the decision to retire,” said Tomljanovic in her post-match interview.
“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.”