John McEnroe’s suggestion that Emma Raducanu’s new-found fame was a cause for concern has been emphatically dismissed. At Wimbledon this summer, BBC commentator McEnroe questioned Raducanu’s ability to cope under pressure after she retired from her last 16 match with Ajla Tomljanovic, citing dizziness and breathing problems.
The 18-year-old however, seemed to allay any doubts over her mental strength with her sensational US Open win, which made her the first qualifier to ever capture a Grand Slam.
McEnroe, 62, who sought to clarify his comments in the wake of her success at Flushing Meadows, then said: “I’m sure there was a lot of concern in the British Tennis Association (sic), how she is going to handle this sort of new-found fame.”
However, Scott Lloyd, chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, said he never had doubts over Raducanu’s ability to learn from her experience at Wimbledon.
“I wasn’t concerned how Emma would deal with that because she is a fast learner. She is focused and she is physically and mentally strong,” he said.
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“It’s natural at that juncture to feel waves of emotion and in particular the physical demands that that kind of environment puts on you.
“I don’t believe anyone at the top of their professional career doesn’t go through difficult losses or difficult moments on court, but she has already shown that she can move on from that and use it to her advantage.”
Lloyd however, did call for the British star to be given “breathing space” following a surreal fortnight, which saw her rise 127 places in the world rankings, and pocket £1.8 million in prize money – more than her entire previous career earnings.
“Obviously, on the back of New York, Emma’s life outside the court has been turned upside-down but she is a very grounded person with great values and a great family behind her,” said the 41-year-old.
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“It will take some adjustment and she will need some breathing space. There will be bumps in the road, and there will be times next year when she is going to have a target on her back, and she will have to get used to that.
“Like everybody in top-level sport, she may have some difficulties in sustaining this level of performance but she has shown she has the capability to go on and do that.”
Raducanu, who has since put her Wimbledon withdrawal down to a “physical issue,” is now back home in Bromley but has seamlessly embraced the spotlight since her win over Leylah Fernandez.
On Monday, she attended the Met Gala, and was pleasantly surprised when on a sightseeing tour of New York, she came across a Nike billboard of herself.
Undoubtedly though, life will never be the same again for Raducanu, who has already been tipped to become a billionaire by PR experts.
She has already trademarked her own name, although is yet to comment publicly on any future plans off the tennis court.
Having become the first British woman who capture a Grand Slam since Virgina Wade in 1977, she is also overwhelming favourite to be crowned BBC Sports Personality Of The Year in December.
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