Following a miraculous run at Wimbledon, Emma Raducanu has clarified what led to her frightening exit at the tournament.
The 18-year-old claimed the “accumulation” of “excitement” and “buzz” led to her feeling breathless and having to retire the match.
Raducanu retired in the second set of her Round of 16 match against Alja Tomljanovic, losing 6-4, 3-0. In the second set, she experienced a spell of dizziness and breathlessness which led her taking a medical timeout. However, the referee soon explained that she would not be returning to the match.
While exiting the tournament, she claimed it was “best week of [her] life.”
“I found it very difficult to regulate my breathing,” she said. “I think that it was emphasized by some very long rallies that we had towards the end of the first set, which made it tough for me to keep my composure and the breathing in check.”
“At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy. The medical team advised me not to continue and although it felt like the hardest thing in the world not to be able to finish my Wimbledon on the court, I want to thank the people who have cheered me on every single match. I wanted to win so badly for you,” she added in a statement on her Instagram.
Within the span of a week, the unknown teenage upstart had three shocking upsets to earn her way to the fourth round. Ranked at No. 338 in the world, she was given a wild-card invitation from the All England Club. Wimbledon marked her second tour-level event.
Raducanu became the youngest Brit to reach the Round of 16 at Wimbledon since 1959, receiving support from both English soccer star Marcus Rashford and tennis great Andy Murray.
“I think that it was a combination of everything that has gone on behind the scenes in the last week and accumulation of the excitement, the buzz,” she said. “It’s a great learning experience for me going forward. It’s a great step forward and now next time hopefully I’ll be better prepared.”
Following her exit from the tournament, tennis legend John McEnroe criticized Raducanu for being unable to “handle” the pressure of competition, adding that he believes she would not get an invitation to the U.S. Open.
He also said that the late start time may have contributed to her disordered breathing. Raducanu, however, claimed that she “was prepared to go out there whatever time of day,” and instead that the “whole experience caught up with [her],” as prior to Wimbledon she had never competed in front of over 100 people.
“I was so excited — I didn’t find a problem with it at all. To be able to have the opportunity to go on Court 1 is something that I cherished, and I really appreciate so there’s no problem.”