BBC pundit John McEnroe has faced a backlash over his controversial comments about Emma Raducanu’s exit from Wimbledon.
He claimed 'it got a bit too much' for the British starlet, as she retired from her fourth-round match with Ajla Tomljanovic, whilst in visible discomfort.
Aged just 18, Raducanu has been catapulted into the spotlight in recent weeks with her impressive performances and looks likely to be the next great British tennis superstar.
Raducanu could be seen holding her stomach at various points and required a medical timeout. Her trainer encouraged her to take 'nice slow breaths'.
The match was slipping away from her, and at 6-4, 3-0 down, she called an end to her involvement in the tournament. Breathing difficulties were cited as the reason for her withdrawal, although the exact cause of this is yet to be disclosed.
Not for the first time, McEnroe’s ill-advised words have landed him in hot water. Speaking on the BBC’s coverage of the iconic tournament, McEnroe said, per The Sun:
"I feel bad for Emma, I mean obviously it got - it appears it got a bit too much, as is understandable, particularly what we've been talking about for the last six weeks.
"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.
"These guys that can keep their composure and the girls out there are absolutely amazing. So, we have to appreciate the players that are able to do it so well and hopefully she will learn from this experience.
"Maybe it's not a shame that it happened right now, when she's 18. I think, seeing this, expectations drop a little bit, allow her to take a couple of deep breaths."
Criticism has been flooding in from fans on Twitter too.
Dr Alex George said: "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."
Harriet Minter said:
"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."
Another commented: "Switched off at John McEnroe's comments - an absolute disgrace and completely unnecessary. Incredible tournament from Emma Raducanu and best wishes for a speedy recovery."
A fourth said: "Why, when Andy Murray started playing big matches and getting leg cramps, was it accepted as part of transition to top-level tennis, yet when Emma Raducanu takes a medical time out the 'girl' has found it 'too much' and is 'emotional'? Totally unfair by John McEnroe."
A fifth wrote: "McEnroe being very patronising about Raducanu. Maybe she's actually ill rather than being overwhelmed by the occasion…"
There was no press conference for Raducanu to elaborate on what happened, but it’s possible she will release a statement today.
Her exploits at this tournament have us all excited to see what the future holds for British tennisNews Now - Sport News