The 18-year-old tennis star appeared to suffer stomach cramps and be hyperventilating before pulling out of Monday’s match against Ajla Tomljanovic in the annual tournament.
BBC commentator John McEnroe came under fire for suggesting that Emma found playing in the last 16 of Wimbledon “a little too much”, with Piers taking to Twitter on Tuesday to defend the three-times mens Wimbledon champion.
He tweeted: “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. 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.”
Many Twitter users were quick to point out that Piers famously stormed off the GMB set earlier this year after seemingly being unable to handle the pressure of being in a heated debate about Meghan Markle with his colleague Alex Beresford.
Piers’ rival, BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker, was also quick to point out the hypocrisy of his comments.
“How would you have judged her if she’d stormed off in a big huff?” Dan asked in a tweet.
Piers responded: “Same way I judged you when you ‘quit’ Football Focus… oh wait, you were fired weren’t you!”
Dan’s BBC colleague, Gary Lineker, also chimed in, sharing a screenshot of the moment Piers stormed off the ITV breakfast show.
“Happens to the best of us, even those that aren’t suffering from a possible injury or illness,” Gary teased.
Piers responded: “Or just crapping oneself on the big stage, Jugs”, which was a reference to when Gary (by his own admission) soiled himself on the pitch.
In a post-match commentary following Emma’s withdrawal, John McEnroe drew parallels with Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon because of depression and anxiety.
“I feel bad for Emma, obviously,” McEnroe said. “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.
“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. Hopefully she’ll learn from this experience.”
After being told about his comments, Emma’s opponent Ajla Tomljanovic said they were “definitely harsh”.
“I can’t imagine being in her shoes at 18 playing a fourth round in your home country,” she said.
“It’s something I can’t even imagine. 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.”