John McEnroe says he supports the comments he made about British tennis star Emma Raducanu about her retirement from Wimbledon – and praised her “crazy” triumph at the US Open.
The 62-year-old American, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles, has been criticized for her reaction to Raducanu’s withdrawal in her last Wimbledon match against Ajla Tomljanovic.
In what was the teenager’s major debut, Raducanu retired due to breathing difficulties – and McEnroe then suggested to the BBC that the opportunity was “a bit too much” for her.
While McEnroe has been criticized for her comments, the three-time Wimbledon champion said they were out of proportion – and called Raducanu a “formidable athlete” for her “crazy” triumph in the United States.
“I meant exactly what I said,” he told CNN, referring to his July comments.
“I tried to make a little connection with my experience when I first went to Wimbledon at 18 as well and managed to qualify like Emma did.
“There are a lot of good sides, but there is also the pressure you put on yourself and the expectations that others put on you.
“Compared to a lot of other things I’ve said in the past, I mean it was as vanilla as it gets for me. I was very supportive of her, I thought, at the time.
“You know the newspapers in England. Sometimes they make a big deal out of nothing for me. “
Raducanu amazed the sports world when she beat compatriot Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final to become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles title.
The 18-year-old’s feat was all the more remarkable as throughout her qualifying matches and the main draw on her way to the trophy lifting, she didn’t lose a single set.
“I don’t think you can do it any better than she (at the US Open),” McEnroe added.
“It’s crazy that she could have done that.”
by Raducanu 6-4 6-3 win over Fernandez, 19 in New York this weekend also saw her become the first British woman to win a major singles title since Virginia Wade in 1977 at Wimbledon – and the first to do so at the US Open since Wade in 1968.
McEnroe said of the teenage final: “Totally unexpected. I never thought it would happen in my lifetime to see an 18 and 19 year old do it.
“I can’t imagine anyone in his camp (Raducanu) expecting this. Winning the US Open without losing a set – it’s crazy. She’s a great athlete, she looks like ‘to be a great kid. “