Tennis legend John McEnroe says his comments about US Open winner Emma Raducanu over her Wimbledon exit have been misconstrued.
Making her major debut, Raducanu retired from her last-16 Wimbledon match due to breathing difficulties, while McEnroe, commentating on the match for the BBC, said the occasion appeared to get “a little bit too much” for her.
While McEnroe came under fire for the comments, the three-time Wimbledon champion said they had been blown out of proportion.
“I meant exactly what I said,” McEnroe told CNN host Christiane Amanpour in an interview.
“I tried to relate it in a small way to my experience when I first went to Wimbledon also at 18.
“There’s a lot of great upsides, but there’s also pressure you put on yourself and expectations that others put on you. I mean that was to me as vanilla as it comes… I was very supportive of her, I thought, at the time.
“You know the papers over in England. Sometimes they, like, make a big deal out of, to me, nothing.”
Raducanu, 18, stunned the sports world when she beat fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez to become the first qualifier to win a major title.
McEnroe said he had wondered how she would handle her new-found fame after her Wimbledon run.
“I don’t think you could possibly do it any better than she did it (at the US Open),” McEnroe said. “That’s insane that she’s been able to do this.”
McEnroe also said he hopes to see Naomi Osaka return to action soon after the Japanese took a break from tennis.
“Osaka was someone who was very shy and introverted the first time I met her. I think she continues to be that way now,” he said of the four-time major winner.
“She came out last year, made a big statement at the US Open wearing the mask. It was a great thing.
“Now, all of a sudden, more attention is on her. I hope to God she can handle it because we need her around for another ten years.”
In my first article on this topic, I argued that slams won and performance in slams are the key criteria for being the modern-era tennis GOAT. In this article, I thought I would have an initial look at performance within slams to see if it helped to separate the big three, given they are all […]