Raducanu rocked the odds of becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam in the Open era on Saturday, beating compatriot Leylah Fernandez in the final at Flushing Meadows.
Her stunning performances in New York followed a promising debut at Wimbledon two months earlier, where she had reached the fourth round before retiring with “breathing difficulties”.
“Totally unexpected. I never thought it would happen in my lifetime to see an 18 and 19 year old doing it,” McEnroe told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, speaking of the US Open teen finals. .
“I think women’s football is more open than it has ever been, so it’s a sign that a lot more players think they have a chance.
“I can’t imagine anybody in her [Raducanu] the camp expected it. Winning the US Open without losing a set is crazy. She’s a great athlete, she looks like a great kid. “
Following Raducanu’s withdrawal from Wimbledon, McEnroe came under fire for saying the situation had become “too much” for her.
At the time, it was not known exactly what made the girl stop playing, but she later said that “the whole experience caught up with me” and she started to “breathe heavily and to feel dizzy “after a number of” super intense rallies “.
McEnroe has received reactions from people saying he is questioning the youngster’s mental toughness, but insists he never intended to offend and never had the intends to support the revolutionary star.
“I meant exactly what I said,” he added. “I tried to make a little connection with my experience when I first went to Wimbledon at 18 as well and managed to qualify like Emma did.
“I played against Jimmy Connors, I hadn’t been on center court. I remember my leg was shaking and I was totally overwhelmed with the experience and almost happy I didn’t win.
“There are a lot of good sides, but there is also the pressure you put on yourself and the expectations that others put on you.
“Compared to a lot of other things I’ve said in the past, I mean it was as vanilla to me as it comes. I was very supportive of her, I thought, at the time.”
The seven-time Grand Slam singles winner – who was famed for his mid-game antics – says he hopes Raducanu can cope with the newly brought attention to his career.
The teenager was barely known outside of tennis until this year, but is now one of the game’s biggest stars.
“I don’t think you can do it better than she did [at the U.S. Open]”McEnroe added.” It’s crazy she could have done that. “
“Of course pressure comes with that, waiting comes with that. I’m sure she expects to earn a lot more in the future.”