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Emma Raducanu has opened up about her heartbreaking retirement at Wimbledon, admitting she was overawed by the situation in her quarter-final clash with Ajla Tomljanovic.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, the 18-year-old revealed she struggled with her breathing and felt dizzy during the fourth-round match before being advised to retire, saying: "I think the whole experience caught up with me."
Raducanu had captivated the tennis world with her remarkable run to the fourth round at her home grand slam.
But the teenager was forced to retire while trailing 4-6 0-3 against Tomljanovic on Monday.
Writing on Twitter, Raducanu said: "Hi guys, I wanted to let everyone know that I'm feeling much better this morning. First up I want to congratulate Ajla on an incredible performance and I'm sorry our match ended the way it did.
"I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week and I think the whole experience caught up with me.
"At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy.
"The medical team advised me not to continue and, although it felt like the hardest thing in the world not to be able to finish my Wimbledon on the court, I was not well enough to carry on.
"I want to thank the people who have cheered me on every single match, I wanted to win so badly for you!
"I also want to thank the All England Club, my team, the LTA, my parents and friends.
"Last night will go a long way to helping me learn what it takes to perform at the top. I will cherish everything we have achieved together this week and come back stronger! Can't wait to see what's next on my journey."
Been so thrilling to watch you perform - and this only means the best is yet to come. Congrats on making it to the 2nd week, awesome achievement.
— Alison Mitchell (@AlisonMitchell) July 6, 2021
So glad your feeling better today, I remember having to step down once from an event due to anxiety,feeling very dizzy and I couldn’t find my balance,you played so well I know we will see u play many many more times in the future rest and remember your dreams are still yours♥️
— Jo Malone CBE (@JoMaloneCBE) July 6, 2021
You made the Nation proud Emma!
— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) July 6, 2021
Absolutely no need to be sorry Emma! This week was the most fun I’ve had watching tennis and I can’t wait to see you back out there smiling and competing for every point.
This stuff happens to all of us, and in much less impressive situations than competing in elite sport!!
— Rhys Lewis (@RhysDLewis) July 6, 2021
We are so proud, you did what no Brit of your age has done in the open era (approx 50 years). You got further than the rest and made history, never apologise for kicking in doors and storming walls
— Byron Murphy (@ByronMurphy8) July 6, 2021
Well done. You played amazing. You did everyone's proud but most of all you did yourself proud. You will come back stronger for this experience. You will definitely grace Wimbledon again and we definitely have a future champion. Onwards and upwards
— Michael Bradley #FBPE #SocialistSunday (@Mike_J_Bradley) July 6, 2021
That’s heartbreaking. How truly awful for Emma Raducanu. As a mere viewer, it’s tough enough - For the lady herself, it must be devastating. Here’s hoping that she will regroup, come back stronger and unleash the potential she’s displayed over the last seven days. #Wimbledon
— Greg Scott (@GregScottTV) July 5, 2021
Oh boy that's a horrible way to end for poor Raducanu, but Saturday was sensational. Focus on those A-level results now and back stronger 👏🏼🙌
— Liam Price (@Liam_Price1) July 5, 2021
Wimbledon organisers defend scheduling of Raducanu match
Wimbledon organisers earlier issued a statement wishing Raducanu well and defending the scheduling of the match.
In a break with convention, the contest was the final match on Court One despite all the other women's ties having been played earlier in the day ahead of the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
"We were very sad to see Emma forced to withdraw from her match last night and wish her all the best with her recovery," the All England Club said in a statement.
"She should be commended for the poise and maturity she has shown throughout the Wimbledon fortnight and we very much look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year and in the years to come."
A five-set men's match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alexander Zverev meant Raducanu and Tomljanovic did not walk out on court until shortly before 8pm, which enabled the contest to be shown in primetime on BBC One.
Difficulty breathing was given as the official reason for Raducanu's withdrawal on Monday night, but the initial lack of explanation for what caused it led to intense speculation.
John McEnroe was heavily criticised after jumping to the conclusion immediately after the match on the BBC that she could not handle the occasion, and Piers Morgan said on Twitter that she needed to toughen up.
Andy Murray hit back, writing: "No question mental toughness can be what separates the best in sport but surely both of you aren't judging her mental toughness on yesterday's match?!
"I think some of what he (McEnroe) said was fair yes.. however the timing of it was a bit off considering nobody had any clue what her issue was injury/illness/breathings issues etc at the time of his comments."
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