BBC release statement after John McEnroe’s comments on Emma Raducanu

The BBC has defended John McEnroe after he was slammed by tennis fans following his comments on British star Emma Raducanu's Wimbledon withdrawal.

Raducanu was forced to retire in her round of 16 match against Alja Tomljanovic on Monday due to medical reasons.

However, commentator McEnroe instead suggested she was overcome with emotion because of the occasion.

He said: "‘It’s a shame. I feel bad for Emma. It appears like it just got too much which is understandable. It makes you look at the guys and girls who have been around for so long and wonder how they handle it. Hopefully she will learn from this experience.

"Maybe it’s not a shame this has happened right now when she is 18. I played this tournament at 18 and in a way I was happy I lost. I was able to understand what it would take to make it. Allow her to take some deep breaths and maybe get some wildcards

Many criticised the former tennis player, including Gary Lineker and her opponent Tomljanovic, but the BBC have said he is entitled to his opinion.

In a statement given to the Daily Telegraph, the BBC said: "John McEnroe offered his personal view on the pressures that tennis players face, based on both his own experience and those of current player.

"He was sympathetic to Emma’s situation."

Raducanu was unable to attend the press conference after the match but she appeared on the BBC the following day to answer questions posed by Sue Barker.

She said: “I’m obviously very disappointed that I couldn’t finish the match. I really, really wanted to be able to compete and try my best.

“But the medical advice was to pull out and yeah, I followed it because I think that their advice was the best in the end.

“I found it very difficult to regulate my breathing, I think it was emphasised by some very long rallies that we had towards the end of the first set which made it tough for me to keep my composure and the breathing in check.

"Then the beginning of the second set was when I struggled with it most and I called the trainer on and yeah made the decision at the end of the change over.”

And she added she wasn't sure what caused the breathing problems to start.

She said: "I think that it was a combination of everything that’s gone on behind the scenes over the past week,

“And an accumulation of the excitement, the buzz, and you know, it’s a great learning experience for me going forward.

“Next time, going forward, I’ll be better prepared.”

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