John McEnroe has praised teenager Emma Raducanu for bouncing back from the Wimbledon heartbreak to win the US Open.
Raducanu’s stunning three-set victory on Saturday ended the Americans’ five-year drought at Flushing Meadows and afterwards McEnroe showed his appreciation for the 16-year-old, and the indefatigable contest she showed over three sets against a tough Czech opponent.
“I’m really proud of Emma,” McEnroe told reporters. “What I love about Emma is, the way she competes, she works really hard, she listens. She’s a good person, she can laugh at herself and she can bounce back. “You don’t see 16-year-olds beating women’s tennis players anymore at Flushing Meadows in this part of the world. “It was very unusual, because I love when kids from the West Coast, we’re from New York and the West Coast has this reputation for ‘we don’t have a chance of beating you guys’, you know what I mean?
“And there was no way Emma was going to lose two sets in a grand slam, but she’s now become the anomaly.”
McEnroe, 54, has known Raducanu since she was a member of the Chia Tennis Academy in Dubai. She finished the school year there in the same year that McEnroe retired from the game. “I’ve seen her for many years,” he said. “She had a chance of being on the Futures tour in 2015 and I just couldn’t get her over the age limit.”
McEnroe received a trophy for his fight against depression and being addicted to painkillers. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Raducanu herself spoke with McEnroe of the wisdom that has come from the two of them but for McEnroe that word is the one that drew the biggest reaction. “I’m not even sure I’m a tennis coach,” he said with a smile. “I’m a coaching coach to teenagers.”
He has coached others, though. “I worked on tennis for a while with Renzo Manzano,” McEnroe said. “I got good at coaching young people.
“In the real world,” he added, “being in front of a camera is a little more difficult than to some people. But I’m surprised that she’s good enough to do it.”