Emma Raducanu says ‘the whole experience caught up with me’ after Wimbledon retirement

The 18-year-old withdrew midway through fourth round match having made history on her debut

Emma Raducanu admitted that the "whole experience caught up with me" after the British teenager explained the reasons for her fourth-round Wimbledon retirement.

Raducanu, 18, enjoyed a historic Wimbledon debut when she became the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round. However, she was unable to complete her match against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic on Monday evening, withdrawing after an off-court medical timeout while trailing 6-4 3-0.

Writing on Twitter, Raducanu said: “Hi guys, I wanted to let everyone know that I’m feeling much better this morning. First up, I want to congratulate Ajla on an incredible performance and I’m sorry our match ended the way it did.

“I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week and I think the whole experience caught up with me. At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy.

“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.

“I want to thank the people who have cheered me on every single match, I wanted to win so badly for you! I also want to thank the All England Club, my team, the LTA, my parents and friends.

“Last night will go a long way to helping me learn what it takes to perform at the top. I will cherish everything we have achieved together this week and come back stronger! Can’t wait to see what’s next on my journey.”

Difficulty breathing was given as the official reason for her withdrawal on Monday night but the initial lack of explanation for what caused it led to intense speculation.

John McEnroe was heavily criticised after jumping to the conclusion immediately after the match on the BBC that she could not handle the occasion, and Piers Morgan said on Twitter saying she needed to toughen up.

Andy Murray weighed in, replying to a tweet from Kevin Pietersen about mental toughness being what separated good athletes from great ones, although the former England cricketer later insisted he had not been referring to Raducanu.

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, who did not enter Court One until late in the evening, insisted the long wait had not been an issue, saying: “I was prepared to go out there whatever time of day I was required to. I was so excited. I didn’t find a problem with that at all.”

Tracy Austin made her Wimbledon debut aged just 14 in 1977, and she said: “I think the moment just became too large.

“It was a long day. That’s a long time to think about the match. It’s very difficult to adapt to so much attention. She really has not played enough matches. It was just a bit too much to ask.”

Updated: July 7th 2021, 6:39 AM
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