18 year old British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu was born in Toronto to Chinese mother and Romanian father and moved to England aged two.
She had become the UK’s last hope of success at the Grand Slam after Sir Andy Murray crashed out, but has crashed out herself.
Raducanu was forced to retire during the second set of her Wimbledon clash with Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic due to ‘difficulty breathing’, bringing her fairy-tale run at the grand slam to an abrupt end as her parents and thousands of spectators watched on.
Raducanu, who is ranked 338 in the world and last week became the youngest British woman to make it to the second week at SW19 since 1959, was taken off court requiring medical treatment after losing the first set 6-4 to Tomljanovic before retiring 3-0 down.
She appeared to be clutching her stomach during the second set before quitting the tournament to the shock of her fans inside and outside No1 Court. Raducanu had become the nation’s last hope of success at Wimbledon after British superstar Sir Andy Murray crashed out last week.
US tennis legend John McEnroe suggested that ‘it got a bit too much’ for Raducanu after he told presenter Clare Balding that she buckled under the pressure and got ’emotional’. He is facing a Twitter backlash for making ‘completely inappropriate’ comments about Raducanu’s health.
McEnroe said: ‘I feel bad for Emma, I mean obviously it got – it appears it got a bit too much, as is understandable, particularly what we’ve been talking about for the last six weeks. 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.
‘These guys that can keep their composure and the girls out there are absolutely amazing – so we have to appreciate the players that are able to do it so well and hopefully she will learn from this experience.’
Sitting beside McEnroe, ex-British No1 Annabel Croft said: ‘I think she will cope with it very well, and I think it’s about not reading anything, not looking too much at your phone. I hear (Rafael) Nadal talking about it time and time again when he refers to youngsters coming through.
‘He always says… it’s about the team keeping her feet on the ground and just working every day as she has since she was a little girl to try to be a better tennis player every day.’
Raducanu’s father Ian told the Times newspaper that he did not know why the teenager had sought medical attention, before adding: ‘I think it’s the level.’ Asked if it was nerves, he replied: ‘Who knows?’
Laura Robson, the ex-British No1 who reached the fourth round at the age of 19 in 2013, added: ‘Perhaps the pressure has caught up with her. It’s part of being a Brit at Wimbledon.’
Raducanu was born in Toronto in 2002 to a Chinese mother and Romanian father and the family moved over to England when she was two. Despite only making her first WTA Tour main draw appearance last month at the Nottingham Open, Raducanu has had previous success in youth competitions.
Screens were set up at Raducanu’s school – Newstead Wood School in Orpington – to allow staff and pupils to watch her take on Tomljanovic in the fourth-round match. Staff and club members had also been watching next door at Bromley Tennis club, where Raducanu played regularly from the age of nine to 16, before moving on to train at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
Her teachers described her as ‘focused, determined and hard-working’ on and off the court, with Newstead School headteacher Alan Blount saying she was ‘in the zone’ and ‘loving every minute’ of the tournament.
‘Emma has been with us since year seven when she was 11 years old and she’s always been tipped for great things,’ Mr Blount said ahead of the match. ‘Obviously you can’t look into the future and you don’t know if it is going to come good, but we knew she was heading for great things.
‘If everything was right, she was going to be the next big thing and look, here she is.’