Tennis legend John McEnroe has been slammed for his comments about British star Emma Raducanu after she retired from her round of 16 match at Wimbledon for medical reasons.
The 18-year-old was down 0-3 in the second set against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, after dropping the first 4-6, when she called for a trainer at the change of ends. Raducanu appeared to be struggling with her breathing, and was reassured by the medic.
The hometown hero left the court for treatment, but never returned, as her breakout Wimbledon campaign ended on a sad note.
Commentating for the BBC, McEnroe suggested Raducanu was overwhelmed by the occasion of playing such an important match at her first ever grand slam.
"It's a shame. I feel bad for Emma. It appears like it just got too much, which is understandable," he said.
"It makes you look at the guys and girls who have been around for so long and wonder how they handle it. Hopefully she will learn from this experience.
"Maybe it's not a shame this has happened right now when she is 18. I played this tournament at 18 and in a way I was happy I lost.
"I was able to understand what it would take to make it. Allow her to take some deep breaths and maybe get some wildcards."
Social media slams McEnroe
The American's comments sparked a savage backlash on social media, as people questioned why he said what he did without knowing the full story behind Raducanu's medical issue.
British sports reporter Rob Vickerman tweeted: "How can John McEnroe come out with those comments not knowing anything about her retirement from the match?!"
Broadcaster Harriet Minter wrote: "Listening to the John McEnroe commentary about Emma Raducanu. Two things: 1. Is he drunk? 2. Is there anything more annoying than a man telling a woman she's not hurt she's just emotional? No, no there isn't. Please ask him to stop."
Journalist Chloe Hubbard added: "Feel like the producers could have given McEnroe a bit of a better mental health briefing ahead of him sharing ALL the views there. But you do you."
Jaiden Micheal said "John McEnroe is an absolute embarrassment" while former rugby union star Christian Day wrote: "McEnroe sounding like the ex-player who now sits at the corner of the clubhouse bar and tells anyone who'll listen that they're crap compared to his day."
Scottish actress Annie Wallace said McEnroe was "being a grade A idiot".
"McEnroe was making assumptions about the health of someone without having all the details, blaming her situation on being a young girl," Wallace added.
Tomljanovic responds to McEnroe's hot take
Tomljanovic was quizzed about McEnroe's comments when she fronted her post-match press conference. A reporter asked: "After the match John McEnroe was on BBC, made some quite bizarre comments which he inferred that Emma couldn't handle the pressure, it was anxiety that was causing her issues, and you would be happy for this result and the way it turned out. What would you like to say to his remarks?"
Tomljanovic replied by saying McEnroe's assessment was "definitely harsh".
"I wasn't 100 per cent sure what was wrong with Emma. I did hear the reasoning. I'll start with saying that I can't imagine being in her shoes at 18, playing a fourth round in your home country. It's something I can't even imagine," Tomljanovic said.
"For him to say that, it's definitely harsh. I have experienced something similar but not to that extent. I know that it's a real thing. I've spoken to athletes that have gone through that. It's not easy.
"When I heard the reasoning, I almost felt worse about it because I know how bad that can feel. But then again, it didn't happen to me.
"I can't imagine how she must be feeling having to pull out. Being down 6-4 3-0, you can come back from that quickly, especially on grass.
"It's really sad that she had to do that. I do feel sorry."
Tomljanovic, 28, will play fellow Australian and world No 1 Ash Barty for a place in the semifinals, after the Queenslander beat Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets.
"It did not really sink in that I am in the quarterfinals given the circumstances," Tomljanovic said. "But two Aussies playing each other and one to go through to the last four is great.
"I am thrilled to play Ashleigh and hope it will be a great match."
Everyone still head over heels for Raducanu
Raducanu's worrying exit won't dent her reputation, as everyone in Britain fell in love with the talented teenager during her remarkable run in London.
She played her first match on the main WTA Tour just four weeks ago and went into Wimbledon as the lowest-ranked British player, earning a last-minute wildcard entry into the main draw of a grand slam for the first time.
But incredibly, she entered the tournament's second week as the only remaining Brit. After defeating Czech star Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4 on Friday, Raducanu became the youngest British woman to reach the third round of Wimbledon since Elena Baltacha achieved the feat in 2002.
But the best was yet to come, with the teen toppling Romania's Sorana Cirstea in straight sets to become the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 since Christine Truman in 1959.
Raducanu was No 338 on the WTA rankings ahead of her maiden major tournament, but has shot up into the top 200.
Before Wimbledon, she had never faced a top 100 opponent.