Murray defends Raducanu as critics blame pressure for withdrawal
Emma Raducanu's remarkable Wimbledon debut ended in distressing circumstances as she was forced to retire against Ajla Tomljanovic after suffering breathing difficulties.
"I think some of what John McEnroe said was fair. However, the timing was a bit off considering nobody knew what Emma Raducanu's issue was," Andy Murray said on Twitter (File Photo).
Andy Murray has defended British teenager Emma Raducanu after John McEnroe and several others said the 18-year-old wildcard pulled out of her Wimbledon last-16 match on Monday because she could not handle the pressure.
Raducanu's remarkable Wimbledon debut ended in distressing circumstances as she was forced to retire against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic after suffering breathing difficulties in the second set.
"At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy," Raducanu said on Twitter on Tuesday.
"The medical team advised me not to continue and although it felt like the hardest thing in the world not to be able to finish my Wimbledon on the court, I was not well enough to carry on."
Two-time Wimbledon champion McEnroe had suggested on BBC that the occasion "got a little bit too much" for Raducanu and compared her anxiety with Naomi Osaka's mental health struggles.
Osaka had withdrawn from the French Open after the first round and skipped the grasscourt swing for the sake of her mental well-being but Murray said McEnroe was quick to jump the gun without understanding why Raducanu had breathing issues.
"I think some of what he said was fair yes," Murray said on Twitter. "However, the timing of it was a bit off considering nobody had any clue what her issue was, injury/illness/breathing issues etc., at the time of his comments."
Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen said sport was about "dealing with pressure, bad form, (and) negative media" but Murray said that was not the case with Raducanu.
"No question mental toughness can be what separates the best in sport but you surely aren't judging her mental toughness on yesterday's match," he added.
Pietersen later said he had "no clue about the context" and did not know the circumstances surrounding the discussion on Twitter.
Raducanu is ranked 338 in the world and two months ago she was sitting for school exams. Until a month ago she had not even contested a match on the main WTA Tour.
"We were very sad to see Emma forced to withdraw from her match last night and wish her all the best with her recovery," Wimbledon organisers said in a statement.
"She should be commended for the poise and maturity she has shown throughout the Wimbledon fortnight and we very much look forward to welcoming her back next year and in the years to come."
Tomljanovic, who had a row with Jelena Ostapenko when the Latvian took a medical timeout in their third round encounter, said McEnroe's comments were "harsh".
"I can't imagine being in her (Raducanu's) shoes at 18, playing a fourth round in your home country. It's something I can't even imagine," she said.
"For him to say that, it's definitely harsh. I have experienced something similar but not to that extent. I know that it is a real thing."