Wimbledon backlash: BBC defends commentary complaints amid John McEnroe criticism
Emma Raducanu recalls her on-court experience at Wimbledon
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As Wimbledon 2021 comes to a close, the BBC has responded to complaints from viewers over the commentary and the presenters chosen for the tennis coverage. It comes after commentator John McEnroe received criticism from fans over his comments about 18-year-old Emma Raducanu’s departure from Wimbledon.
The BBC has been hit with complaints from viewers who were unhappy with the “commentary, punditry and presenting team,” for Wimbledon 2021.
The BBC report doesn’t state which commentators the complaints were made about, although it does refer to McEnroe, Sue Barker, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker, Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin and Tim Henman.
The statement began: “We are proud of the range of talent and experience that our Wimbledon team are bringing to our audience.
“Sue Barker, who has been part of our Wimbledon team since 1993, is joined by grand slam winners John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker, Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin and Tim Henman.”
It continued: “Today at Wimbledon is led by Clare Balding, and our commentary and insight team is made up of experts and former players, including Andrew Castle, Sam Smith, John Lloyd, and Chanda Rubin, among others.”
“We appreciate that not everyone will enjoy all of our commentators or presenters due to the wide range of tastes held by our audience,” the statement concluded.
It comes after McEnroe was criticised by viewers for his comments about Emma Raducanu’s withdrawal from the competition.
She withdrew from her match against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic after she suffered “difficulty breathing” and received medical attention court side.
Addressing the incident at the time, McEnroe said: “I feel bad for Emma, obviously.
“It appears it just got a little bit too much, as is understandable.
“Particularly with what we’ve been talking about this over the last six weeks with Osaka not even here.”
McEnroe continued: “How much can players handle?
“It makes you look at the guys that have been around and the girls for so long – how well they can handle it?”
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“Hopefully she’ll learn from this experience,” he added. “Maybe it’s not a shame this has happened right now when she is 18.”
Following McEnroe’s comments, Wimbledon fans took to social media to share their disappointment.
One tweeted: “So. so very disappointed that John McEnroe is a commentator for British coverage of #Wimbledon today. After the disrespect and belittling, he showed Emma last week I cannot even.” (sic)
Another penned: “Why is John McEnroe still allowed to commentate a match? Has he apologised for his harsh criticism of Emma?”
A third added: “@BBCSport please review your tennis commentators. What John McEnroe said yesterday about Emma Raducanu shows his elitism, misogyny + arrogance.” (sic)
Despite the backlash, some celebrities have thrown their support behind the former tennis player, including the likes of Piers Morgan.
On Tuesday, in view of his 7.9 million followers, Morgan applauded the former Wimbledon champion for his commentary on the match.
Piers wrote: “McEnroe told the truth. Ms Raducuna’s a talented player but couldn’t handle the pressure & quit when she was losing badly. Not ‘brave’, just a shame.” (sic)
He went on to advise the up and coming British sensation to “seek advice” from the tennis legend, before imploring her to “toughen up”.
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