Emma Raducanu backed to return stronger as Ajla Tomljanovic hits back at John McEnroe’s ‘harsh’ comments
Ajla Tomljanovic has sent a word of encouragement to Emma Raducanu after the teenager’s “heartbreaking” Wimbledon exit while she also criticised John McEnroe over his “harsh” observation about the youngster’s retirement.
Raducanu’s fairytale Wimbledon run came to a sad end in the fourth round as she appeared to struggle to breathe with the score 6-4, 3-0 in favour of Tomljanovic. She took an off-court medical timeout and never returned to the court as she retired.
It was later confirmed that 18-year-old retired due breathing difficulties.
Australian Tomljanovic advanced into her first Grand Slam quarter-final, where she will face compatriot Ashleigh Barty, but she took time out to praise Raducanu.
“Just wanted to take a moment and wish @emmaraducanu all the best after tonight,” she wrote on Instagram. “I know it feels heartbreaking now but I have no doubt you will come back stronger and better. Congratulations on an incredible Wimbledon.”
In the post-match press conference Tomljanovic was asked about tennis great John McEnroe’s comments for the BBC on the back of 18-year-old’s retirement with the American suggesting that Raducanu could not handle the pressure.
“I feel bad for Emma, obviously,” McEnroe said. “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 has been criticised widely and Tomljanovic also felt it was “definitely harsh”.
“I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what was wrong with Emma,” she said. “I did hear the reasoning. I’ll start with saying that 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.
“For him to say that, it’s definitely harsh. I have experienced something similar but not to that extent. I know that it’s a real thing. I’ve spoken to athletes that have gone through that. It’s not easy.
“When I heard the reasoning, I almost felt worse about it because I know how bad that can feel. But then again, it didn’t happen to me. I can’t imagine how she must be feeling having to pull out. Being down 6-4, 3-Love, you can come back from that quickly, especially on grass.
“It’s really sad that she had to do that. I do feel sorry.”
2023 Australian Open women’s final info, form, H2H, preview: Elena Rybakina vs Aryna Sabalenka
All the info you need ahead of the 2023 Australian Open women’s final.
Elena Rybakina: Why the quiet girl is set to dominate Grand Slam tennis
Elena Rybakina could be an all-timer.
Mats Wilander expects Elena Rybakina to make ’10 grand slam finals’
Kazakhstan’s Rybakina beat Victoria Azarenka 7-6, 6-3 to set up a final with Belarusian fifth-seed Sabalenka.
Australian Open day 11: Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina reach women’s final
The story of the 11th day of action from Melbourne Park.
Aryna Sabalenka books power battle with Elena Rybakina in Australian Open final
Sabalenka beat Magda Linette 7-6 (1) 6-2 to reach her first grand slam singles final.
Novak Djokovic plunged into fresh controversy and he needs to fix it quickly
Novak Djokovic needs to do all he can to clean up the mess created by his father as quickly as possible.
WATCH: Andy Murray shares hilarious mock lipreading video from Thanasi Kokkinakis clash
Andy Murray saw the funny side of a TikTok video from his Australian Open second round win.
Novak Djokovic still motivated by Rafael Nadal rivalry
That Grand Slam record is on Novak Djokovic’s mind for sure.
Elena Rybakina clinches straight sets semi-final win over Victoria Azarenka
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeated Victoria Azarenka to reach her second grand slam final at the Australian Open.