Dad ‘proud’ of Raducanu after mystery withdrawal

It was a sad end to what has been an epic start to her Wimbledon career – but as yet there is no news on what exactly forced the teenager out of the match against Ajla Tomljanovic

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu’s father refused to be drawn on the reasons for his daughter’s retirement from her Wimbledon round of 16 match against Ajla Tomljanovic – but said he was proud of her.

The 18-year-old – who beat Sorana Cirstea in the previous round – was forced to stop playing when 6-4, 3-0 down, and was apparently struggling to breathe, clutching at her stomach.

Dad Ian told the Daily Telegraph that he was proud of her as “many people are”, adding: “I think it’s the level” that meant she had to withdraw.

There were hopes that Raducanu might make a statement later in the evening to explain how she was feeling. For her part, Tomljanovic told the press: “I’m actually really shocked. It’s obviously bitter-sweet. Emma must be really hurt if she came to the decision to retire. To play as a Brit at home is unbelievable, so I’m really sorry for her. I wish we could have finished it.”

Raducanu and Tomljanovic had to wait until 8pm UK time to begin their match on Court No 1 as they were scheduled last and had to wait for the conclusion of Felix Auger-Aliassime against Alexander Zverev, which ran to five sets.

Nevertheless, the British player looked comfortable out there, pushing her more experienced opponent and getting five break points, albeit failing to convert any of them. She also looked very happy in front of a partisan home crowd, who were loudly cheering her on.

John McEnroe – working as a pundit at the tournament – suggested that nerves had affected Raducanu physically, saying: “It appears it just got a little bit too much.” His comments triggered a huge backlash from experts and fans alike, who pointed out that there was as yet no evidence for such speculation.

And another legend, Martina Navratilova, also speaking on television, had words of praise for Raducanu’s performance during the tournament.

The nine-time Wimbledon champion declared: “Emma was born to be here. She runs like a deer out there. If you can run like that and hit the ball, you’re in good shape. You make these big jumps in your career and she’s done the big jump at Wimbledon. She’s totally embracing it – I love it.”

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