Emma Raducanu returns to Wimbledon with John McEnroe hoping she is “able to do her thing”.
This is the future of our game. And people are checking to see what part Emma’s going to have in that and so there’s a high interest level, obviously. John McEnroe
The 19-year-old Brit, seeded ten this year, stunned the tennis world when she reached the fourth round and then sealed the US Open in 2021.
Both achievements came a short time after taking her A levels and turning professional.
And Raducanu, back training in SW19 after nursing a side problem picked up at Nottingham recently, secured the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
But it all left her having to deal with an instant high profile.
McEnroe, a commentator for the Corporation at this year’s Championships, said: “She’s trying to grow up in front of the world and in front of people and that can be difficult. It (the US Open win) happened so quickly. I don’t know if anyone could have possibly anticipated this would happen.
“This is the future of our game. And people are checking to see what part Emma’s going to have in that and so there’s a high interest level, obviously. So I think it’d be good, obviously, for her and her family and the sport that she finds something as soon as possible that she feels more relaxed and able to do her thing.”
McEnroe was criticised for hinting at Raducanu’s retirement – due officially to breathing trouble – during her fourth-round encounter with Ajla Tomljanovic at Wimbledon last year, was to do with the pressure of the situation.
He still felt the same. McEnroe said: “I was just giving an educated guess as to what I thought was happening, based on 45 years of being around the professional game. And what it seemed like was happening. It’s not like she’s the first person it’s happened to. Maybe it’s the first person it happened to where she was told, for whatever reason, not to continue playing. That may be the difference.”
* Quotes from The Guardian