‘She has very much silenced those critics and I said that at the time “STFU” because you don’t know what you’re talking about!’: Martina Navratilova blasts those who doubted Emma Raducanu’s mental strength after her Wimbledon withdrawal
Martina Navratilova has hit out at those who questioned at Wimbledon whether new US Open champion Emma Raducanu could mentally handle the pressure of the big stage.
Raducanu retired from her fourth-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic on Court One at SW19 in July on medical grounds.
She was seen holding her stomach on several occasions and appeared to be hyperventilating before retiring, and the following day revealed she had ‘breathing difficulties’ and that she thought ‘the whole experience caught up with me’. But her withdrawal received criticism from some quarters.
Martina Navratilova has hit out at criticism of Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon
She was seen clutching her stomach throughout the match against Ajla Tomljanovic in July
Raducanu responded on the court in superb style just a couple of months later by becoming the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam after beating fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final in straight sets.
And Navratilova – who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles – believes that the 18-year-old Brit has ‘silenced her critics’, who will never ‘be talking anything about her mental fitness ever again’.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Navratilova said: ‘She has very much silenced those critics and I said that at the time “STFU” because you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Raducanu retired from her fourth-round Wimbledon match following breathing difficulties
She therefore had to withdraw following a medical timeout on court where she was assessed
‘She is a star in the making, this is just a hiccup. Little did I know what a small hiccup it really was in the grand scheme of things here. I don’t think those people will be talking anything about her mental fitness ever again.’
Raducanu became Britain’s first women’s Grand Slam singles champion since Virginia Wade’s success in 1977.
It was a superb US Open final, with Raducanu prevailing with a 6-4 6-3 success against fellow teenager Fernandez, of Canada.
Navratilova was full of praise for Raducanu and added that, while she can still improve, ‘there are no holes in her game’.
She said: ‘It’s ridiculous how well she has done.
‘She just doesn’t get rattled. She is so switched on in every way and as I say she came out of the box all put together already, no batteries needed. She’s the whole package.’
‘There’s places where she can get better in her game, definitely, she’s 18, but there are no holes in her game and at 18 that is extraordinary so just impressive in every way.’
But she has bounced back on court after beating Leylah Fernandez (left) in the US Open final
She won in straight sets to become the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam tournament