John McEnroe tells Emma Raducanu to 'back up the hype'

·2 min read
Britain's Emma Raducanu returns the ball to France's Caroline Garcia during their women's singles tennis match on the third day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships - SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Emma Raducanu returns the ball to France's Caroline Garcia during their women's singles tennis match on the third day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships - SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

The BBC’s main Wimbledon pundit John McEnroe told Emma Raducanu to “back up the hype” after her chastening second-round defeat by Caroline Garcia on Wednesday.

Speaking on the BBC highlights show Today at Wimbledon, McEnroe suggested that Raducanu couldn’t continue to use inexperience as an excuse for much longer. He also recommended that she should stop chopping and changing her support team.

“Get a comfort zone with the people around you,” was McEnroe’s advice to Raducanu, who came to Wimbledon with a city banker - Jane O’Donoghue - as her main tennis adviser after going without a traditional head coach since April.

“I don’t know who they [the support staff] are. She keeps switching teams as new coaches come in and out of the situation. That’s not a good thing. But she’s got to figure it out for herself.

“She won the US Open. Some slouch doesn’t win the US Open. She’s a great player. You’ve got to look at it like that, not ‘I’m inexperienced’. I’m not totally buying that part.

“She got to the fourth round here last year. She knows that Wimbledon is first-strike tennis [a reference to Raducanu’s own analysis of her grass-court performances]. I don’t mean to burst her bubble here but I think she already understands. Give her some time. But these are things she should have already learned.”

Last year, McEnroe came under fire for his analysis of Raducanu’s breathing difficulties against Alja Tomljanovic. At the time, he suggested that the occasion had “just got a little bit too much” – a verdict which he recently defended and insisted that he would happily offer again.

Here, he again questioned some of the reasons for Raducanu’s recent run of fitness woes. “How did she have blisters?” said McEnroe, in relation to the hand issue that surfaced during January’s Australian Open and the foot problem which bothered her during February’s Billie Jean King Cup. “I don’t understand that part.

“She won the US Open from the qualifying. Of course there is a lot of expectation coming from that. I suppose nerves play a part in injury. She is 19 years old. She should be able to deal with that very quickly. I hope some big things will happen in the future, but you gotta start believing. Back up the hype!”

McEnroe’s punditry partner Kim Clijsters was a little less outspoken, but she also highlighted concerns around Raducanu’s changeable coaching set-up.

“I agree she needs to start working with a team that she can build with for the next few years,” said Clijsters. “[There are] a few things to work on.”

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