John McEnroe stands by Emma Raducanu comment despite backlash

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·Sports Reporter
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John McEnroe (pictured right) during commentary and (pictured left) Emma Raducanu with the US Open trophy.
John McEnroe (pictured right) said he stands by his comments from Wimbledon regarding US Open winner Emma Raducanu (pictured left). Images: Getty Images

Tennis great John McEnroe has doubled down on his controversial comments regarding teen phenom Emma Raducanu following her fairytale US Open win.

Making her major debut at Wimbledon, Raducanu retired from her last-16 match due to breathing difficulties, while McEnroe, commentating on the match for the BBC, said the occasion appeared to get "a little bit too much" for her.

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At the time, McEnroe came under fire for the comments, but the three-time Wimbledon champion said they had been blown out of proportion.

Fast-forward two months and Raducanu stunned the sporting world to become the first qualifier ever to win the women's US Open title.

The 18-year-old's fairytale story captivated fans as it propelled her to superstardom.

However, McEnroe has now doubled down on his previous comments and at the same time congratulated the British teen.

"I meant exactly what I said," McEnroe told CNN host Christiane Amanpour in an interview.

"I tried to relate it in a small way to my experience when I first went to Wimbledon also at 18.

"There's a lot of great upsides, but there's also pressure you put on yourself and expectations that others put on you. I mean that was to me as vanilla as it comes ... I was very supportive of her, I thought, at the time.

Emma Raducanu (pictured) smiles with the trophy during the awarding ceremony of the US Open.
Emma Raducanu (pictured) poses during the awarding ceremony after the women's singles final of the US Open. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

"You know the papers over in England. Sometimes they, like, make a big deal out of, to me, nothing."

McEnroe also showered Raducanu with praise following her new-found fame.

Raducanu was firmly in the UK's spotlight after her Wimbledon run, but the teen dealt with the pressure of her second grand slam with aplomb.

"I don't think you could possibly do it any better than she did it (at the US Open)," McEnroe said. 

"That's insane that she's been able to do this."

And the teen storyline, which featured 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez against Raducanu in the final, certainly had millions watching considering the women's final peaked at 3.4 million viewers while the men's final, which saw Daniil Medvedev win his first major title, had a peak of 2.7 million the following day, ESPN said.

John McEnroe addresses Naomi Osaka situation

McEnroe also weighed-in on the Naomi Osaka situation.

An emotional Osaka announced she would take time away from tennis after her loss to Fernandez.

The American said he hoped to see Osaka back in tennis for many years to come.

"Osaka was someone who was very shy and introverted the first time I met her. I think she continues to be that way now," he said of the four-time major winner.

"She came out last year, made a big statement at the US Open wearing the mask. It was a great thing.

"Now, all of a sudden, more attention is on her. I hope to God she can handle it because we need her around for another 10 years."

with AAP

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