Updated: July 7, 2021 7:36:33 am
Andy Murray, former Wimbledon champion, slammed former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen and Piers Morgan after their criticism of Brit teenager Emma Raducanu following her Wimbledon exit.
Three-time Grand Slam Murray voiced his disapproval of Morgan’s ‘very harsh’ assessment of Raducanu and questioned Pietersen for judging Raducanu’s ‘mental toughness’ off the back of her Wimbledon withdrawal.
Raducanu retired from her fourth-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia because of ‘difficulty in breathing’. She was trailing 6-4, 3-0 when the match was called off.
The 18-year-old was playing in her first Grand Slam tournament and second tour-level event. She won fans all over Britain during her run to the second week at Wimbledon.
After the match, tennis great John McEnroe suggested that Raducanu could not handle the pressure.
“It appears it got a bit too much, which is understandable,” for Raducanu. He then referred to Naomi Osaka, the four-time major champion who pulled out of the previous Grand Slam tournament – the French Open – and also missed Wimbledon because she said she needed a break.
“I feel bad for Emma, obviously,” he told the BBC. “It appears it just got a little bit too much, and is understandable, particularly with what we’ve been talking about over the last six weeks about Osaka.
“How much can players handle? It makes you look at the guys that have been around and the girls who have been around for so long – how well they can handle it. Hopefully, she’ll learn from this experience.”
McEnroe was widely condemned for his views, but did find an ally in Morgan who wrote on Twitter, “McEnroe told the truth. Ms Raducuna’s a talented player but couldn’t handle the pressure & quit when she was losing badly. Not ‘brave’, just a shame. If I were her, I’d tell my fans to stop abusing McEnroe & seek his advice on how to toughen up & become a champion like he was.”
Think this is a very harsh take on the situation Piers https://t.co/rGuWC5ScDT
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 6, 2021
Pietersen also supported McEnroe and observed that the teenager could not handle the pressures in the round of 16 encounter.
“Talent is one thing, but mental toughness is what separates the good from the great in sport! Dealing with pressure, bad form, negative media etc is HARD, but that’s sport. It’s demanding. Deal with it, or someone else will deal with it in your place,” wrote Pietersen.
However, Murray, who always defended his teammates, was unimpressed by their views and wrote, “No question of 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?!”
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?! https://t.co/83tLG5F9ca
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 6, 2021
Pietersen later claimed he was not aware of the context surrounding Morgan’s original tweet.
Just for clarity, I was merely responding to a single tweet that had no reference to tennis at all. None whatsoever.
So I actually had no clue about the context.
I was on a golf course yesterday and was celebrating my best ever round of golf last night.
So please relax? 🏌🏻
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) July 6, 2021
Raducanu released a statement on Tuesday where she revealed that she retired reluctantly from her fourth-round Wimbledon match because of dizziness and difficulty breathing.
“I think the whole experience caught up with me,” she said before adding, “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.”
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