Britain’s rising star Emma Raducanu saw her incredible run at Wimbledon 2021 come to an end in the fourth round after she retired hurt against Ajla Tomljanovic, who could not believe what had happened.
The 18-year-old – who shocked 2020 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova in the second round and world number 45 Sorana Cirstea in the third – had to wait all day for the match to finally get underway on Court One in the late evening and she struggled with apparent stomach cramps despite giving absolutely everything she could early on.
Raducanu, who was sitting her A-Levels just two months ago, battled ferociously in the opening set but, despite numerous break points on Tomljanovic’s serve, ended up losing that and had to take a medical time out in the second. She then sadly had to retire with Tomljanovic holding a 3-0 lead after she had left the court.
The world number 338 has delighted the British fans over the course of the past week and was clearly unable to demonstrate her best in the match and suffering with pain. Tomljanovic spoke for everyone when she simply wished her opponent well and hoped she was okay.
The Londoner demonstrated her battling qualities in abundance as she pushed Tomljanovic to the brink in a marathon game at 4-4 after which she was very frustrated not to have broken the Australian’s serve. It would prove to be a learning moment as she then went on to slip up on her own serve and lost out on the opening set.
Tomljanovic raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set with Raducanu frequently crouching down in pain due to apparent stomach cramps and clearly unable to play her best tennis despite her valiant efforts.
Eventually, after brief assistance at the changeover in her chair, she was escorted off the court for a medical timeout and was unable to return with the fans informed by the umpire that play would not continue.
“I am actually shocked because Emma must be hurt if she came to the decision to retire,” Tomljanovic said in a sympathetic on-court interview.
“I am really sorry for her, I wish we could have finished it. I am wishing her all the best. I thought I found my groove although Emma was hurt and not at her best which kind of explains it.
“It didn’t really sink in I’m in the quarters because of the circumstances. I am thrilled to play Ash, and to have two Aussies in the quarter-finals is great for everyone back home.”
The teenager was making her Grand Slam debut, having only made her maiden appearance on the WTA Tour in June, and Eurosport’s Mats Wilander said after the previous round that he believes Britain has something special.
“She is the real deal, and I am talking about the mindset,” Wilander told Eurosport at Wimbledon. “An incredible mindset and an incredible mover. She has a great mindset.
“I’m telling you, in Great Britain, you have a star that has been born.”
“She plays like her idol, Li Na. The forehand is almost an identical copy. She really is a fantastic tennis player and there is nowhere she is going to go but up. She is going to improve and improve.
“She is here to stay. She moves incredibly well and she has real strength. She has literally everything. She can be a superstar.”