Emma Raducanu needs to find right formula for her future, says John McEnroe
- McEnroe: No ranking points at Wimbledon is ‘crazy’
- American praises Andy Murray’s progress with metal hip
John McEnroe hopes that Emma Raducanu will be able to find the right formula to thrive again despite having to grow under the glare of the spotlight.
“She’s trying to grow up in front of the world and in front of people,” McEnroe said. “And that can be difficult. It [the 2021 US Open triumph] happened so quickly. I don’t know if anyone could have possibly anticipated this would happen.”
Raducanu is continuing her recovery from the side injury she picked up at Nottingham in her first event of the short grass-court swing. She withdrew from her scheduled tournament the following week and has not played since. However, on Monday she trained at Wimbledon.
“This is the future of our game. And people are checking to see what part Emma’s going to have in that,” McEnroe said. “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.”
At Wimbledon last year, McEnroe received intense criticism for his punditry following Raducanu’s retirement in the fourth round against Ajla Tomljanovic. In the aftermath of her retirement he suggested that her departure, which was officially described as breathing issues, was pressure-related. The 63-year-old says he would not say anything differently.
“I was just giving like an educated guess as to what I thought was happening, based on 45 years of being around the professional game,” he said. “And what it seemed like was happening, which is totally, you know, happens all the time. 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.”
In the wake of Andy Murray’s run to the Stuttgart final, McEnroe expressed his amazement at the level that the Scot has been able to exhibit despite his metal hip. “I know it had to be tough for him in a lot of ways to watch these guys continue to amass records where he basically couldn’t play at all. I’m not a doctor. I’m amazed that he’s moving as well as he is. If you’ve got a metal hip, that would tell me that you wouldn’t move as well, that you would be stiffer, that you couldn’t react as quickly. I just don’t see how it’s even possible.”
Wimbledon will be played without ranking points after the ATP and WTA chose to rescind them in response to the All England Club’s ban of Russian and Belarusian players. McEnroe echoed a popular opinion on the tour, stating he opposed both the original decision by Wimbledon and the tours’ response. He also noted the effect it could have on Novak Djokovic.
“This guy has been up against it. Some of it, he made this decision and he’s going to have to live with that. And he seems hellbent on that decision. But to get deported out of Australia, to go to Wimbledon and then you work and then you get no points [if] you win it again and you drop spots in the rankings. It just seems crazy.”
Meanwhile the ATP announced on Tuesday that it will trial “off-court” coaching after Wimbledon. It will allow, among other things, coaches to verbally coach their player when they are on the same side of the court. Hand signals will now be permitted at all times. The WTA has adopted similar rules over the past two years.
John McEnroe is part of the BBC’s Wimbledon 2022 lineup. Catch all the action across BBC TV, radio and online from Monday 27 June.