Men criticised for unsympathetic observations after British teenage tennis star was forced to stop playing mid-match.
Former tennis star John McEnroe’s reaction on the BBC’s broadcast to British teenager Emma Raducanu’s mid-match retirement at Wimbledon has put him in the spotlight.
The 18-year-old Raducanu stopped playing while trailing in the second set of her fourth-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic on Monday night.
Raducanu was visited by a trainer, then left the court for a medical timeout.
Eventually, the chair umpire announced the 338th-ranked Raducanu, who is of Chinese and Romanian heritage, would not continue because of a health issue, but did not specify why.
“I feel bad for Emma, obviously,” McEnroe told viewers, adding: “It appears it got a bit too much, which is understandable.”
He then made a reference to Naomi Osaka, the four-time major champion who pulled out of the previous Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, and also missed Wimbledon because she said she needed a mental health break.
The 62-year-old seven-time Grand Slam singles champion regularly appears as an analyst on television coverage at the All England Club.
Listening to the John McEnroe commentary about Emma Raducanu. Two things: 1. Is he drunk? 2. Is there anything more annoying than a man telling a woman she’s not hurt she’s just emotional? No, no there isn’t. Please ask him to stop. #Wimbledon
— Harriet Minter (@HarrietMinter) July 5, 2021
The All England Club has said Raducanu had “difficulty breathing.”
“I can’t imagine being in her shoes, at 18, playing a fourth round in your home country. It’s something I can’t even imagine,” Tomljanovic said, when asked about McEnroe’s comments. “For him to say that, it’s definitely harsh.”
I didn’t realise John McEnroe was medically qualified or that he has X-ray vision! I hope Emma Raducanu is ok and wish her a speedy recovery. Did her country proud 🇬🇧
— Dr Alex (@DrAlexGeorge) July 5, 2021
Meanwhile, critics on social media slammed McEnroe, who was known for angry outbursts on the court, and the 56-year-old British broadcaster Piers Morgan, who offered his own commentary on the situation.
“Ms Raducuna’s [sic] a talented player but couldn’t handle the pressure & quit when she was losing badly. Not ‘brave’, just a shame,” tweeted Morgan, who recently quit a TV show after being challenged over his views.
“If I were her, I’d tell my fans to stop abusing McEnroe, & seek his advice on how to toughen up & become a champion like he was.”
Tennis player Andy Murray said Morgan’s analysis was “harsh”.
Think this is a very harsh take on the situation Piers https://t.co/rGuWC5ScDT
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 6, 2021