John McEnroe says he stands by comments he made about British tennis star Emma Raducanu over her retirement from Wimbledon – and has praised her "insane" triumph at the US Open.
The 62-year-old American, who won seven grand slam singles titles, was criticised for his reaction to Raducanu’s withdrawal during her last 16 Wimbledon match against Ajla Tomljanovic.
In what was the teenager’s major debut, Raducanu retired due to breathing difficulties – and McEnroe then suggested on the BBC that the occasion was "a little bit too much" for her.
While McEnroe came under fire for the comments, the three-time Wimbledon champion said they had been blown out of proportion – and called Raducanu a "tremendous athlete" for her "crazy" US triumph.
"I meant exactly what I said," he told CNN, referring to his comments in July.
"I tried to relate it in a small way to my experience when I first went to Wimbledon also at 18 and managed to qualify like Emma did.
"There’s a lot of great upsides, but there’s also pressure you put on yourself and expectations that others put on you.
"Compared to a lot of other things I’ve said in the past, I mean that was to me as vanilla as it comes. I was very supportive of her, I thought, at the time.
"You know the papers over in England. Sometimes they, like, make a big deal out of, to me, nothing."
Raducanu stunned the sporting world when she beat fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in the final of the US Open to become the first qualifier to win a grand slam singles title.
The 18-year-old’s achievement was all the more remarkable as throughout her qualifying and main draw matches on the way to lifting the trophy, she did not drop a single set.
"I don’t think you could possibly do it any better than she did it (at the US Open)," McEnroe added.
"That’s insane that she’s been able to do this."
Raducanu’s 6-4 6-3 victory over 19-year-old Fernandez in New York at the weekend also saw her become the first British woman to win a major singles title since Virginia Wade in 1977 at Wimbledon – and the first to do so at the US Open since Wade in 1968.
McEnroe said of the all-teenager final: "Totally unexpected. Never thought it would happen in my lifetime to see an 18 and 19-year-old do it.
"I can’t imagine anyone in her (Raducanu) camp expected this. To win the US Open without losing a set – that’s crazy. She’s a tremendous athlete, she seems like a great kid."
© Sky News 2021