John McEnroe Criticized for Remarks on Emma Raducanu's Mid-Match Wimbledon Retirement

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2021

Britain's Emma Raducanu plays a return to Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic during the women's singles fourth round match on day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
AP Photo/Alastair Grant

John McEnroe is facing backlash after his comments on British tennis player Emma Raducanu following her retirement in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Raducanu withdrew from her match against Ajla Tomljanovic on Monday night while trailing 6-4, 3-0, three games away from defeat. She said in a statement afterward that she began to "breathe heavily and felt dizzy" before the medical team advised her to stop playing.

McEnroe seemingly believed she had retired for mental health reasons based on his comments for BBC (via ESPN):

"It appears it just got a little bit too much, as is understandable, particularly with what we've been talking about this over the last six weeks, with Naomi Osaka not even here.
"How much can players handle? It makes you look at the guys that have been around and the girls for so long -- how well they can handle it. ... We have to appreciate the players that are able to do it so well, and hopefully she'll learn from this experience."

Naomi Osaka notably skipped Wimbledon due to mental health reasons after withdrawing after the first round of the French Open.

McEnroe's comments have been criticized by many, including by British tennis star Andy Murray:

Andy Murray @andy_murray

No question mental toughness can be what separates the best in sport but surely both of you aren’t judging her mental toughness on yesterday’s match?! <a href="https://t.co/83tLG5F9ca">https://t.co/83tLG5F9ca</a>

Tomljanovic was also surprised with the criticism of her 18-year-old opponent.

"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. "For [McEnroe] to say that, it's definitely harsh."

Raducanu entered the tournament as the No. 338 player in the world competing in her first Grand Slam. She had a dream run through the first few rounds, winning three matches in straight sets to reach the fourth round.

The run unfortunately ended with injury, with the competitor saying dropping out was the "hardest thing in the world."