Emma Raducanu was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after struggling with her breathing during the second set of her fourth-round match with Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic; the two players did not walk out on court until 8pm on Monday but Wimbledon organisers have defended the day's schedule
Tuesday 6 July 2021 16:46, UK
Wimbledon organisers have sent their best wishes to Emma Raducanu while defending the scheduling of the 18-year-old's fourth-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic.
In a break with convention, the contest was the final match on Court One despite all the other women's ties having been played earlier in the day ahead of the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Raducanu began to show indications she was struggling at the end of the first set and retired after an off-court medical timeout down 6-4 3-0, with breathing difficulties given as the official reason.
No explanation has yet been provided for what caused Raducanu's problems, but the All England Club said in a statement: "We were very sad to see Emma forced to withdraw from her match last night and wish her all the best with her recovery.
"She should be commended for the poise and maturity she has shown throughout the Wimbledon fortnight and we very much look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year and in the years to come."
A five-set men's match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alexander Zverev meant Raducanu and Tomljanovic did not walk out on court until shortly before 8pm.
The statement continued: "In respect of scheduling, as always, the scheduling of the order of play each day at the Championships is a complex operation and, although we take great care when scheduling matches and allocating courts on a daily basis, it is not an exact science.
"All decisions are made with fairness and the best interests of the tournament, players, spectators and our worldwide broadcast audience at heart, but the unpredictable nature of the length of matches and the British weather can and will cause disruption to any schedule."
The lack of any explanation of what caused Raducanu's breathing issues has led to a great deal of speculation, with John McEnroe believing she could not handle the occasion.
Andy Murray waded in on Twitter to defend her after former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen and Piers Morgan commented on Raducanu's mental toughness.
Murray wrote: "No question mental toughness can be what separates the best in sport but surely both of you aren't judging her mental toughness on yesterday's match?!
"I think some of what he (McEnroe) said was fair yes. However the timing of it was a bit off considering nobody had any clue what her issue was injury/illness/breathings issues etc at the time of his comments."
Tracy Austin made her Wimbledon debut aged just 14 in 1977, and she said: "I think the moment just became too large.
"It was a long day. That's a long time to think about the match. It's very difficult to adapt to so much attention. She really has not played enough matches. It was just a bit too much to ask."
Britain's Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong was sat in the stands for Raducanu's fourth-round match, and she told Sky Sports News on Tuesday: "Her life will have changed overnight after her success last week and the wins she had and now everyone wants a piece of her so that's going to be difficult for everyone to manage.
"The most important thing is she remains grounded, she has good people around her, and you know there's still a lot of work for her to improve on her game and next year she can come back to Wimbledon and be a stronger player for it."
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