‘She silenced those critics and I said ‘STFU’ at the time because you don’t know what you’re talking about!’: Martina Navratilova blows up those who doubted Emma Raducanu’s mental strength after her withdrawal from Wimbledon
Martina Navratilova has slammed those who asked at Wimbledon whether new US Open champion Emma Raducanu could mentally handle the pressure of the big stage.
Raducanu withdrew from her fourth round match against Ajla Tomljanovic at Court One at SW19 in July for medical reasons.
She was seen several times holding her stomach and appearing to hyperventilate before going to bed, and the next day revealed she was having “breathing difficulties” and that she thought “the whole experience was catching up with me.” But her withdrawal was criticized from some quarters.
Martina Navratilova lashes out at Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon
During the match against Ajla Tomljanovic in July, she was seen clamped in her stomach
Raducanu responded in superb style to the field just a few 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 singles titles – believes the 18-year-old Briton has “silenced her critics”, who will never “say anything more about her mental fitness”.
Talk about The Andrew Marr ShowNavratilova said, “She silenced those critics and I said that at the time ‘STFU’ because you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Raducanu withdrew from her fourth round Wimbledon match due to breathing difficulties
She therefore had to withdraw after a medical time-out at the court where she was being assessed
“She’s a star in the making, this is just a hiccup. I didn’t realize what a small hiccup it really was in the grand scheme of things here. I don’t think those people will ever talk about her mental fitness again.’
Raducanu became the first British Grand Slam singles champion since Virginia Wade’s success in 1977.
It was a great final of the US Open, in which Raducanu triumphed with a 6-4 6-3 success against fellow teenager Fernandez from Canada.
Navratilova praised Raducanu, adding that while she can improve, “there are no holes in her game.”
She said, “It’s ridiculous how well she’s done.
“She just doesn’t get upset. She’s so turned on in every way and like I said she came all together out of the box, no batteries needed. She’s the whole package.’
“There are places where she can get better at her game, sure, she’s 18, but there are no gaps in her game and at 18 that’s extraordinary, so just impressive in every way.”
But she has returned to the track after beating Leylah Fernandez (left) in the US Open final
She won in straight sets, becoming the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam tournament