Wimbledon - 'It’s definitely harsh' - Emma Raducanu defended by opponent Ajla Tomljanovic after exit reaction
Having overcome Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea in the second and third rounds respectively, British rising star Emma Raducanu was sadly forced to retire hurt midway through the second set against a shocked Ajla Tomljanovic in their late evening clash on Wimbledon's 'Manic Monday'. Tomljanovic has expressed her sympathy for her opponent and defended her after some of the reaction.
Britain's rising star Emma Raducanu saw her incredible run at Wimbledon 2021 come to an end in the fourth round after she retired hurt against Ajla Tomljanovic, who has defended her opponent after some of the reaction to her withdrawal.
The 18-year-old - who shocked 2020 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova in the second round and world number 45 Sorana Cirstea in the third - had to wait all day for the match to finally get underway on Court One in the late evening and she struggled with apparent stomach cramps despite giving absolutely everything she could early on.
Raducanu, who was sitting her A-Levels just two months ago, had to take a medical time out in the second set. She then sadly had to retire with Tomljanovic holding a 3-0 lead after she had left the court. Eventually, after brief assistance at the changeover in her chair, she was escorted off the court for a medical timeout and was unable to return with the fans informed by the umpire that play would not continue.
The world number 338 has delighted the British fans over the course of the past week and was clearly unable to demonstrate her best in the match due to suffering with pain.
“I feel bad for Emma, obviously,” tennis legend John McEnroe had said on the BBC. “It appears it just got a little bit too much, as is understandable, particularly with what we’ve been talking about this over the last six weeks with Osaka not even here.
“How much can players handle? It makes you look at the guys that have been around and the girls for so long – how well they can handle it. Hopefully she’ll learn from this experience."
Emma Raducanu musste ihr Achtelfinale in Wimbledon aufgeben
Image credit: Getty Images
Tomljanovic responded: "I can’t imagine being in her shoes at 18 playing a fourth round in your home country.
It’s something I can’t even imagine. For him to say that, it’s definitely harsh.
"I have experienced something similar but not to that extent. I know that it’s a real thing. I’ve spoken to athletes that have gone through that. It’s not easy.”
Immediately after the match, Tomljanovic had spoken for everyone when she simply wished her opponent well and hoped she was okay.
"I am actually shocked because Emma must be hurt if she came to the decision to retire," Tomljanovic said in a sympathetic on-court interview.
"I am really sorry for her, I wish we could have finished it. I am wishing her all the best. I thought I found my groove although Emma was hurt and not at her best which kind of explains it.
"It didn't really sink in I'm in the quarters because of the circumstances. I am thrilled to play Ash, and to have two Aussies in the quarter-finals is great for everyone back home."
Emma Raducanu of Great Britain goes off court for a medical time out in her Ladies' Singles Fourth Round match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia during Day Seven of The Championships - Wimbledon 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
The teenager was making her Grand Slam debut, having only made her maiden appearance on the WTA Tour in June, and Eurosport's Mats Wilander said after the previous round that he believes Britain has something special.
"She is the real deal, and I am talking about the mindset," Wilander told Eurosport at Wimbledon. "An incredible mindset and an incredible mover. She has a great mindset.
I'm telling you, in Great Britain, you have a star that has been born.
"She plays like her idol, Li Na. The forehand is almost an identical copy. She really is a fantastic tennis player and there is nowhere she is going to go but up. She is going to improve and improve.
"She is here to stay. She moves incredibly well and she has real strength. She has literally everything. She can be a superstar."