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Emma Raducanu receives medical aid during the match against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic - Getty

Emma Raducanu receives medical aid during the match against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic – Getty

Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon story ended in an unfortunate way on Monday night as the Briton retired injured from her fourth-round match with Australian Alja Tomljanovic after 75 minutes’ play.

The 18-year-old, the youngest British woman to reach the second week at SW19 in the Open era, become an overnight sensation. As the only British player in the fourth round, she was carrying an unaccustomed weight onto the grass with her.

But what caused her to retire, what was the reaction and what will she do next?

What happened?

Raducanu seemed to be struggling physically and mentally with the intense battle.

She called the trainer to the court while trailing Tomljanovic by a 6-4, 3-0 margin, and was told “nice slow breaths, that’s it” and was seen holding her stomach.

Emma Raducanu takes a moment during the match - AFPEmma Raducanu takes a moment during the match - AFP

Emma Raducanu takes a moment during the match – AFP

Emma Raducanu appeared to hold her stomach during the match - AFPEmma Raducanu appeared to hold her stomach during the match - AFP

Emma Raducanu appeared to hold her stomach during the match – AFP

Covid protocols then required Raducanu to put on a face mask as she left the court, which was probably the last thing she wanted to do as she gasped for air.

After a delay of about five minutes, the referee came out and chair umpire Aurelie Torte announced to the crowd that the match was over.

The end arrived abruptly and unexpectedly. It later emerged she had retired due to breathing difficulties.

Was the scheduling of the match a factor?

Wimbledon defended its scheduling of Raducanu’s fourth-round match as the third and final encounter on No1 Court, which meant she did not start playing the match for nore than nine hours after arriving on site.

A statement read: “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.

“In respect to 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 court 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.”

What was said about Raducanu’s retirement?

Anne Keothavong, the former British player and current Billie Jean King Cup captain, was watching two seats away from Raducanu’s mother, Renee, on Court No 1, and saw the 18-year-old after her retirement.

She told the BBC: “Emma’s ok – she’s going to be fine. I saw her leave [Wimbledon] last night and it was a difficult situation for her to be in and for everyone to witness, but she’ll be just fine.”

Keothavong – who suggested that Raducanu would put out a statement later on Tuesday to explain her withdrawal – admitted the sight of Raducanu being forced to retire was painful for her family, but insisted that neither the scheduling or her preparation for the match were to blame.

She added: “Her mum wanted to see her. It’s never easy for anyone to see their child in that much discomfort. But they’re a tight family, good people, and they just want the best for her. I’m sure they will be able to give that to her.

Emma's mother Renee after the match ended for medical reasonsEmma's mother Renee after the match ended for medical reasons

Emma’s mother Renee after the match ended for medical reasons

“In terms of her preparation, her and her team did everything exactly the same – they prepared exactly the same as they did for her other matches. She purposefully stayed over at Aorangi rather than practising on the main courts to stay out of the public [eye]. It was just unfortunate.

“Had she played earlier in the day, a similar thing may have unfolded. It was always going to be a difficult match given the hype and the buzz around it but she will learn from this. It was a fantastic Wimbledon debut and next year she will be better prepared and stronger for it.”

What did John McEnroe say?

John McEnroe was criticised on social media for jumping to the conclusion that Raducanu could not handle the occasion and comparing her withdrawal with Naomi Osaka’s decision not to compete at Wimbledon in order to protect her mental health.

The three-time men’s champion said on the BBC: “I feel bad for Emma. It appears that it got a little bit too much, as is understandable, particularly what we’ve been talking about these last six weeks with Naomi Osaka not even here.

“How much can players handle? Hopefully she’ll learn from this experience.

“Maybe it’s not a shame that it happened right now, when she’s 18. I think, seeing this, expectations drop a little bit, allow her to take a couple of deep breaths.”

McEnroe also suggested the 18-year-old would probably not get an invitation to the US Open.

“Allow her to take some deep breaths and maybe get some wildcards,” he added. “She’ll probably get one for the Australian Open but I’m not sure about the US Open.”

Her 28-year-old opponent also criticised McEnroe for his comments in a post-match interview.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure what was wrong with Emma. I’ll start with saying that I can’t imagine being in her shoes at 18, playing a fourth round in your home country,” Tomljanovic said.

“For him to say that, it’s definitely harsh. I have experienced something similar but not to that extent.

“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.”

What’s next for Raducanu?

The teenager is expected to release a statement about her medical withdrawal from the match.

This whole experience was the steepest of learning curves, and as a high-powered student who is expected to return As or even A*s in her maths and economics A-levels, she will be well-placed to digest and analyse what went wrong over the coming weeks.

The 18-year-old is ranked 338th and received a wild-card invitation from the All England Club so she could make her Grand Slam debut and participate in only her second tour-level event. It is expected she will now get more wild-card invitations.

A new world of megabucks brand endorsements also beckons for the down-to-earth Bromley teenager whose career earnings before Wimbledon stood at £28,762. British tennis’s new golden girl’s “smile alone” has been valued by marketeers at £3 million.

Her long list of new business interests will be spearheaded by Max Eisenbud, one of sport’s most powerful super agents.