MATTHEW LAMBERT: Judy Murray's response to Raducanu was reckless (2024)

  • Raducanu pulled out of mixed doubles so she could focus on singles glory
  • Judy in a social media response called Raducanu's withdrawal 'astonishing'
  • The Paris Olympics will be Murray's last event before retiring from tennis

By Matthew Lambert

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There was always a fair chance Andy Murray’s Wimbledon career would be ended prematurely by a physical ailment; the cruel irony is that, for once, it is not his own body which has let him down.

Emma Raducanu withdrew from their mixed doubles match with wrist pain, meaning the two-time singles champion’s final match here was his first-round exit with brother Jamie in the men’s doubles on Thursday night. The Paris Olympics will be the 37-year-old’s last event before retirement.

Raducanu practiced on Saturday morning with strapping on her right wrist and, just after 2pm, released a statement saying: ‘Unfortunately I woke up with some stiffness in my right wrist this morning, so I have decided to make the very tough decision to withdraw from the mixed doubles tonight. I’m disappointed as I was really looking forward to playing with Andy but got to take care.’

She is due to play her fourth-round singles match against New Zealand’s Lulu Sun tomorrow, and there is no suggestion her wrist injury will rule her out of that match.

The Murray camp is understood to be disappointed by the decision. Murray’s mother Judy — unwisely — described it on Twitter/X as ‘astonishing’. As Wimbledon has a trial of an AI system to track online trolling of players, it seems reckless for Judy Murray to risk causing a pile-on of abuse towards a 21-year-old woman.

The British duo had been set to compete together but Raducanu (right) has pulled out due to wrist soreness but is due to play her fourth round singles match

The news of Emma Raducanu's withdrawal from the mixed doubles caught the attention of Judy Murray, who called the decision 'astonishing' on social media

It seems reckless for Judy Murray to risk causing a pile-on of abuse towards Raducanu

Raducanu will doubtless feel guilty about denying Murray a final fling at Wimbledon

It is an unfortunate situation and Raducanu will doubtless feel guilty about denying Murray a final fling, but the brutal reality in this sport is you have to take care of yourself. Raducanu’s match against the world No123 for a place in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon is a massive opportunity.

Raducanu had surgery on her right wrist last year and one only has to look at Juan Martin del Potro, Dominic Thiem or — more parochially — Laura Robson for evidence of how persistent wrist problems can wreck a career.

No one appreciates better than Murray the importance of protecting one’s body — or the fact that ruthlessness is not an optional trait for a career at the highest level.

He was 20 years old himself when he withdrew from a Davis Cup match in Argentina, citing knee pain, and even his brother Jamie joined in the criticism, saying: ‘It kind of affects the way I feel about him.’

For Raducanu and her team, the late scheduling of the mixed match — fourth on No1 Court — was doubtless a factor in their decision.

An 11pm finish — not out of the question — would have been awful preparation for a singles match the next day. Raducanu said herself the scheduling was ‘not ideal’. So as the tennis world looked for someone to blame, some turned on the All England Club. But a look at the permutations revealed they had little choice.

With rain curtailing play this week there is pressure to play singles matches before doubles, and one of Murray-Raducanu’s scheduled opponents, Marcelo Arevalo, was finishing his men’s doubles match yesterday morning, so they could hardly ask him to go back-to-back.

Raducanu was asked after her second-round win whether she had any hesitation in agreeing to play mixed doubles with Murray. ‘For me it was a no-brainer,’ she replied.

The names of Murray and Raducanu are removed from the order of play at Wimbledon today after her decision to pull out with a wrist injury

The saving grace is Wimbledon decided to stage Murray's farewell after his men's doubles

‘In my team, they were asking me, “Emma, are you sure you want to play? Just in case you’re still in the tournament?” I was like “No-brainer”.’

So there was clearly some uncertainty in her team about the prospect of her playing three days in a row, even before the wrist pain. But can anyone blame Raducanu for jumping at the chance to be part of Murray’s Wimbledon swansong? She felt she could not turn down an opportunity to create memories which, she said, she would remember when she was 70 years old.

The saving grace is that Wimbledon decided to stage Murray’s grand farewell after his men’s doubles, rather than waiting for the mixed. When we look back on Murray’s final Wimbledon, we will not remember the mixed doubles that never was. We will remember the tearful conversation with Sue Barker on Centre Court and that extended embrace with brother Jamie as the day’s last light died away.

Emma RaducanuWimbledon

MATTHEW LAMBERT: Judy Murray's response to Raducanu was reckless (2024)
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