John McEnroe makes a bold prediction for Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu on court

John McEnroe came under fire for his criticism of Emma Raducanu after her withdrawal from Wimbledon in the summer of 2021, but he is now backing the British youngster to shine this year.

Raducanu’s withdrawal from Wimbledon during her fourth round match against Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties saw McEnroe suggest the pressure of the moment had got to her.

The youngster responded in the most remarkable fashion imaginable by coming through qualifying and winning the US Open a few months later, creating tennis history by winning ten matches without dropping a set.

She went on to endure a difficult maiden season on the WTA Tour, sliding down the rankings and struggling to live up to the expectations she stirred up with her Grand Slam victory.

Now McEnroe has emerged as a vocal supporter for Raducanu, as he spoke to Tennis365 at a Eurosport and discovery+ event.

“I think the last year has been overwhelming, obviously,” said McEnroe.

“She has gone through a lot of changes in her life and now she has had issues with injuries.

“But it felt like for the first time the pressure was not on her and was on Coco Gauff when they played at the Australian Open and that is not a bad thing.

“Everyone in the tennis world is hopeful that she can embrace what’s happening with her and hope that she gets back to the level she showed at the US Open.

“I saw her at Wimbledon that summer and when she didn’t come out to play in the round of 16 at Wimbledon, we were all worried she might struggle to cope with the change to her life.

“Then she went to New York and wow, what a performance to win a Slam.

“We just all want to see her compete and enjoy the challenge in front of her and if she does that, I’m sure she can have a great year. That’s what we all want to see.

“Ultimately, tennis is a competition and you have to find way to deal with that. I wish Emma all the best.

“Let’s put this on the record. You don’t win a Grand Slam by luck. She is great player and can come back and challenge again.”

Raducanu has confirmed she will play at the inaugural ATX Open in Austin, Texas, alongside the likes of Danielle Collins, Sloane Stephens and Peyton Stearns.

The 2021 US Open champion has committed to play at the WTA Tour tournament, which starts on February 27 at Westwood Country Club.

“We are thrilled that Emma, the youngest Grand Slam champion in the game today, will be coming to the ATX Open,” said Christo Van Rensburg, DropShot Series Tournament Director.

The event, which will be the first tournament held in the United States during the WTA’s 50th anniversary season, will also feature a 16-team doubles field.

Watch every match from Roland-Garros, 28 May – June 11, LIVE and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport

Latest