Andy Murray defends Emma Raducanu after mid-match Wimbledon retirement

British teenager withdrew from fourth-round match against Tomljanovic after she experienced 'difficulty breathing'

Britain's Emma Raducanu withdrew from her match against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in the Wimbledon women's singles fourth round. AFP
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Andy Murray has come to the defence of British teenager Emma Raducanu after she withdrew from her Wimbledon fourth-round match.

Raducanu stopped playing while trailing in the second set of her match against Ajla Tomljanovic on Monday. Raducanu left the court for a medical timeout. Eventually, the chair umpire announced the 338th-ranked player would not be continuing because of a health issue.

The All England Club later announced Raducanu had “difficulty breathing”.

"At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy," Raducanu explained 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."

But that was not the end of the story. Former tennis star John McEnroe caused controversy after suggesting that Raducanu found the situation a "bit too much" to handle.

“I feel bad for Emma, obviously,” McEnroe said on BBC's broadcast. “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 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. Hopefully she’ll learn from this experience.”

McEnroe made the reference to Osaka who pulled out of French Open over her refusal to speak to the media, and also missed Wimbledon for a mental health break.

Murray then took to Twitter to defend Raducanu after former England cricketer captain Kevin Pietersen and media personality Piers Morgan commented on mental toughness of players.

Murray wrote: "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?!

"I think some of what he [McEnroe] said was fair yes. However the timing of it was a bit off considering nobody had any clue what her issue was injury/illness/breathings issues etc at the time of his comments."

Raducanu's opponent Tomljanovic also backed the youngster. “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.”

Updated: July 06, 2021, 3:08 PM