Piers Morgan has been called out by fans of US Open winner Emma Raducanu for attempting to take some form of credit for her win months after telling the tennis star to “toughen up.”
“I said she needed to toughen up after she quit. She toughened up. The words you’re seeking are ‘Thanks Piers’,” he replied to a fan of Raducanu’s on Twitter, a statement that rubbed many the wrong way.
After Raducanu’s victory Saturday night, fans of the teen-talent flagged Morgan, 56, for his critique of the young star back when she pulled out of Wimbledon this summer.
While it was reported she removed herself from competition for “medical reasons,” former tennis player John McEnroe believed it was a matter of Raducanu not being able to handle the “pressure” of performing at such a high level, a statement Morgan doubled-down on at the time.
“Ms Raducanu’s a talented player but couldn’t handle the pressure and 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,” Morgan wrote at the time.
Today, the journalist believes his words possibly motivated the athlete to return stronger than ever, even sharing a photo of himself with tennis superstar, Serena Williams, deeming himself “Mr tennis legend Motivator.”
“Imagine if @EmmaRaducanu had taken Twitter’s advice & carried on ‘bravely’ and ‘heroically’ quitting and losing,” Morgan tweeted after her win. “thank God she’s made of tougher stuff & realised that winners don’t quit & have to learn how to handle the pressure. That’s why she’s Champion today. Congrats Emma 👍.”
“Stop embarrassing yourself, Piers. You don’t actually think she listened to you directly, do you?,” questioned one supporter of the athlete in response to Morgan.
“A bad day for Piers Morgan means a huge win for mankind. Maybe people should try a little more to encourage young talents instead of dragging them down,” wrote another critic, to which Morgan responded, “A bad day? I’ve been totally vindicated. She took my advice and won.”
The 18-year-old captured the US Open in a straight-set 6-4, 6-3 victory over the 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez to cap a perfect three-week run as the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam title.
It is the first time a British woman has won a major title since Virginia Wade in 1977 and received a congratulatory message from the Queen of England.