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Thursday, September 16, 2021

John McEnroe stands by Emma Raducanu comments: ‘I meant exactly what I said’

Amid a row that ensued, Piers Morgan supported the comments, but Andy Murray later leaping to her defence. As McEnroe attempted to draw a line under the controversy last night, he said he raised the issue as he also felt “overwhelmed” by his debut at the tournament. However, he added that his comments about Raducanu paled with other opinions he had voiced in the past. “I mean that was to me as vanilla as it comes….I was very supportive of her, I thought, at the time,” he added.

McEnroe added that there was a lot of concern in British tennis “along with people in her family and, and the people that work with her” at “how is she going to be able to handle this sort of newfound fame”. However, she proved in New York that she can handle all the pressure she was under, he added.

“I don’t think you could possibly do it any better than she did it when the US Open,” he added. “Are you kidding me? That’s insane, and that she’s been able to do this now there’s going to be obviously a lot more focus on it. It’s incredible.

“If Billie Jean King says pressure is a privilege, I believe her. She’s done more for women’s sports and maybe sports in general than anyone in the last 100 years.”

Murray and Marcus Rashford had expressed support for Emma Raducanu as the teenager’s mental strength was first scrutinised.  Rashford said the same breathless problem had “happened to me playing for the national team in U16s against Wales”.

Of Raducanu’s Wimbledon experience, McEnroe had added that she is “not the first person to deal with pressure in sport”. “I don’t know how she is turning it around over the last couple of months but I’m sure a lot of people would like to find out,” he added.

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