BBC commentator John McEnroe has come under fire after suggesting Emma Raducanu found playing in the last 16 at Wimbledon “a bit too much” after withdrawing from the match on medical grounds.
The three-time men’s champion has come under fire from Raducanu’s opponent Ajla Tomljanovic as well as medics on social media after hinting that the 18-year-old Briton was unable to handle the occasion.
Raducanu appeared to suffer from stomach cramps and hyperventilation before retiring 0-3 in the second set. It was later confirmed that she had retired with respiratory issues, but after the game McEnroe drew parallels with Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from Roland Garros and Wimbledon due to depression and anxiety.
“I feel bad for Emma, obviously,” McEnroe said. “It seems like it’s gotten a bit too much, understandably, especially with what we’ve been talking about over the past six weeks with Osaka not even here.
“How much can the players handle? It makes you look at the guys who have been there and the girls for so long – how well they can handle it. I hope she will learn from this experience.
McEnroe also suggested that the late start contributed to Raducanu’s predicament. “I don’t think it helped that the previous game was so long because it made him think more,” he added. “It’s a lot to take on, especially when you’ve never been there before. “
However, he also suggested that the manner of his loss would be of great benefit to him in the future. “It might not be a shame that this is happening now when she is 18,” he said. “I played this tournament when I was 18 and in a way I was happy that I lost. I was able to figure out what it would take to do it.
After being briefed on McEnroe’s comments, Tomljanovic said they were “definitely tough”.
“I can’t imagine being in her place at 18 playing a fourth round in your home country,” she added. “It’s something I can’t even imagine. For him to say that, it’s definitely hard. I experienced something similar but not to this point. I know it’s a real thing. I have spoken to athletes who have been through this. It is not easy. “
McEnroe was also criticized on social media with Dr Alex George, an A&E doctor, tweeting: “I didn’t know John McEnroe was medically qualified or had x-ray vision! “