Sir Andy Murray has leapt to the defence of Emma Raducanu after Piers Morgan reignited a row over the teenager’s mental state during her Wimbledon exit.

Both Morgan and former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen expressed support for John McEnroe, who had been condemned for saying she could not "handle" the pressure of her last-16 match.

However, Murray, who has repeatedly spoken up for leading women names in the sport, said it was "very harsh’ for the high profile figures to round on a teenager who only took her A-levels two months ago.

In response to Pietersen suggesting on Twitter that Raducanu should "deal with it", Murray responded:

No question mental toughness can be what separates the best in sport but surely both of you aren’t judging her mental toughness on yesterday’s match?! https://t.co/83tLG5F9ca

— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 6, 2021

Replying to Murray’s comment, Pietersen then called for people to "relax", saying his original comment had been in response to "a single tweet that had no reference to tennis at all."

Just for clarity, I was merely responding to a single tweet that had no reference to tennis at all. None whatsoever.
So I actually had no clue about the context.
I was on a golf course yesterday and was celebrating my best ever round of golf last night.
So please relax? 🏌🏻

— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) July 6, 2021

 

Morgan, the former breakfast TV host who has repeatedly spoken against perceived "woke" issues, had been first to wade in. He said McEnroe, the three-time men’s champion, was right to say “it just got a little bit too much” for Raducanu, who withdrew on medical grounds trailing 3-0 in the second set against Ajla Tomljanovic.

While Raducanu’s opponent had taken issue with the comments, Morgan, who spelt the teenager’s name wrong, tweeted: "McEnroe told the truth. Ms Raducuna’s (sic) a talented player but couldn’t handle the pressure & quit when she was losing badly. Not ‘brave’, just a shame. If I were her, I’d tell my fans to stop abusing McEnroe, & seek his advice on how to toughen up & become a champion like he was."

However, in response, Murray wrote:

Think this is a very harsh take on the situation Piers https://t.co/rGuWC5ScDT

— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 6, 2021

Raducanu is expected to release a statement on her Wimbledon exit. The official reason given by Wimbledon, which has defended its decision to schedule her match last on Court 1, was "breathing difficulties".

Immediately after the match on BBC coverage, McEnroe suggested the incident could be comparable with the recent struggles of Naomi Osaka, who pulled out of several tournaments citing depression and anxiety.

“It appears that it just got a little bit too much, as is understandable, particularly [with] what we’ve been talking about this last six weeks with Naomi Osaka not even here,” McEnroe said.

But Tomljanovic, who faces Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals on Tuesday, 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.”

McEnroe had also suggested the 18-year-old, whose trainer had been heard telling her “to take deep breaths” and was seen holding her stomach, would not be deserving of an invite 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."