John McEnroe insists he is 'pulling for Emma Raducanu' - but takes fresh swipe at coach change

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John McEnroe insists he is 'pulling for Emma Raducanu' - but takes fresh swipe at coach change
John McEnroe insists he is 'pulling for Emma Raducanu' - but takes fresh swipe at coach change

John McEnroe has questioned Emma Raducanu’s decision to split with the coach behind her historic US Open triumph following her patchy form since.

McEnroe said he did not know why Britain’s new tennis queen had replaced Andrew Richardson with Torben Beltz after becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam.

The outspoken American said he was “pulling for her” but also warned Raducanu to be “careful” over her off-court commitments, arguing it would be “foolish” for her team to say yes to every opportunity.

McEnroe, who faced a major backlash at Wimbledon last year for suggesting Raducanu’s debut there “got a little bit too much”, repeated his assertion that the experience had been “overwhelming” for her following her retirement from her last-16 match at the tournament.

Speaking to reporters about her “astounding” rise since, he said: “Expectations have now been ramped up in an unbelievable way.

“It’s going to take some time to see how she handles it. I’m sure at times it’s overwhelming. It was overwhelming for her at Wimbledon and then she had this magical run.

“I don’t know why she then decided to change coaches. You would think if a coach took her to the US Open championship that you wouldn’t say that I need a new coach.”

After winning 10 matches in a row without dropping a set at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu has lost five times in her eight outings since.

She looked to be getting back to her best at just the right time when she beat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open.

But a finger blister left her severely hampered in her next match against Danka Kovinic and, despite a valiant effort, she ultimate succumbed to a three-set defeat.

Emma Raducanu was knocked out of the Australian Open in the second round - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Raducanu was knocked out of the Australian Open in the second round - GETTY IMAGES

This will be the 19-year-old’s first full year on the WTA Tour after previously juggling her tennis career and A-Levels.

McEnroe said: “It would be unbelievable if she’s around for the next 10 years doing well – that would be outstanding.

“She seems like a sweet girl, she’s got game, charisma, she’s got everything! I’m pulling for her. It’s not going to be easy. I’m sure she’s trying to figure it all out right now.”

Raducanu’s 'fairytale of New York' triumph saw her become a global superstar overnight, earning invites to the Met Gala and James Bond premiere and lucrative endorsements with the likes of Nike, British Airways and Evian.

Asked about her off-court commitments, McEnroe said: “They say everything in moderation, no matter what it is. I’m not sure she should be lambasted over it.

“But she should be careful with that because obviously she has opportunities to do that and you don’t just go, ‘I’m going to do everything’. Of course not.

“Their management team would be foolish to suggest that. Take it one step at a time. Remember why you’re getting these opportunities, because you’re a great tennis player and you won the US Open.”

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