Billie Jean King accuses John McEnroe of comparing U.S. Open teenager to ‘crybaby’ Eugenie Bouchard

John McEnroe, he of the classic nicknames (The Bear, Jack McEnroe), slammed 16-year-old American phenom Emma Raducanu for failing to medal in the US Open women’s singles competition, saying the young star “should learn from her mistake.”

“She was outclassed by Eugenie Bouchard, a plodder and a crybaby, and that was that,” McEnroe, 65, was quoted by the Guardian. “She should have gone for it. But no. Not at this time of her life. How much is that costing her?”

At the 2012 women’s singles U.S. Open semifinals, Raducanu lost to Serena Williams in four sets and saw her career turn on its head as her ranking fell to 205 from no. 9. After a couple of months off the tour, she returned in July 2016 at the U.S. Open and put up a strong showing before falling to world no. 9 Bouchard. In June, she pulled out of a tournament in Bali due to a viral illness but still put up impressive scores, including a win over Williams, during an August qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open.

Bouchard won the US Open on Sunday in straight sets. She lost to fellow Canadian wild-card entry Vasek Pospisil in the quarterfinals, but defeated Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and fellow teen Elina Svitolina in her consolation matches. Raducanu didn’t fare nearly as well, losing in the first round of qualifying against Anne Keothavong of Britain and falling 7-6, 6-2 to Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski in the first round of the main draw.

“I just think she shouldn’t have bowled over that teenager that was really pretty immature,” McEnroe said. “It was one of those times where she looked like she wasn’t concentrating. That was crazy. I saw her play probably three times already. And she looks like she’s a really good player.”

McEnroe told the Guardian that Raducanu “should learn from her mistake” and called into question her decision to return to tennis early after dropping down to 205 in the world rankings after her semifinal loss at the 2012 U.S. Open.

“I did it, when I was 16,” McEnroe told the Guardian. “I bounced back and got to the finals. I’ve played a lot of guys. I don’t think anybody had any idea where I was ranked. When I played Venus, for example, before we got to the finals, there was a 22 seed on the other side, and it was like, ‘What?’

“It doesn’t make any sense to me that a 16-year-old girl in the country that’s usually where Wimbledon is gonna be plays in the lower-tier things that kids do now.”

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