Both John McEnroe and Tim Henman believe that Emma Raducanu should not take time off from tennis following her Wimbledon second-round exit. The 19-year-old’s 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Caroline Garcia has prompted questions about whether she may profit from some time away from tennis, after her burst onto the scene last year following Raducanu’s US Open win.
McEnroe and Henman disagreed with those suggestions and insisted that she needs to keep working at her game. “She is currently, I believe, 11 in the world,” McEnroe told the BBC’s 6-Love-6: Return of the Mac programme. “She won the US Open so she is a Grand Slam winner. To me, that should tell her and the players around her that she is one of the best players in the world.
“I don’t care how old she is, how inexperienced she is, she is better than the other players. So why would she sort of pull back and start over? Obviously there is a lot of expectation when you win a major, you are super excited, she is super talented, she seems like a great girl, marketer’s dream, she’s got sponsors.
“She has switched, corrected me if I am wrong, four different coaches in the last year. That seems strange, especially dumping your coach when you’ve won something. Just superstition alone I would not do that. You stick with that person for another major or two.”
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During Raducanu’s post-match press conference following her defeat by Garcia, she argued that there was not any pressure on the teenager. “There’s no pressure,” she said. “Like, why is there any pressure? I’m still 19. It’s a joke. I literally won a Slam.
“Yes, I have had attention. But I’m a Slam champion, so no one’s going to take that away from me. If anything, the pressure is on those who haven’t done that.”
Former British No 1 Henman agreed with McEnroe that Raducanu’s time would be better spent improving her game. “She is a very talented tennis player,” he said. “She has got a great attitude, she is a hard worker, but the reason why she is losing at the moment is because of her lack of physical resilience. She is getting these injuries, she hasn’t really had these training blocks.
“Right now she is going to have a few days off after Wimbledon then I think she has got to get right back at it. She has got to get in the gym, she has got to get fitter, stronger, faster. Then she will give herself the opportunity to show her tennis skills.
“The last word I will say is ‘patience’. She is 19, she is going to be a phenomenal player, she is going to win many more big tournaments so she has to be patient as well.”