Emma Raducanu: Eddie Jones writes to US Open champion after 'distraction' comments were 'taken out of context'
Eddie Jones suggested Emma Raducanu's form had suffered after winning the US Open because of off-court distractions; England rugby coach faced backlash for comments and has now written to the teenager to clarify his words; "I would be disappointed if Emma was upset by it," said Jones
By PA Media
Last Updated: 11/11/21 6:47pm
Eddie Jones has written to Emma Raducanu to explain his comments about her being overburdened by commercial "distractions" in the wake of her US Open victory.
England's rugby union head coach made the remarks to illustrate his belief Marcus Smith must remain grounded after the 22-year-old Harlequins fly-half stepped off the bench to orchestrate a late flurry of tries in a 69-3 victory over Tonga last weekend.
Jones suggested Raducanu had struggled for form since triumphing at Flushing Meadows in September because of her off-court activity, saying: "There's a reason why the young girl who won the US Open hasn't done so well afterwards.
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"What have you seen her on - the front page of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar or whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes. All that is a distraction around her."
Jones' language was deemed sexist by some, including former British No 1 Jo Durie, and while he rejects that allegation, he has contacted Raducanu to clarify what he meant.
"The whole point was how difficult it is for young players to cope with distractions," Jones told BBC Sport on Thursday. "So the point I made was not wrong.
"I can't control it if it's taken out of context. There was no criticism of Emma. I have sent her a letter just to reinforce that and hopefully we'll see her at Twickenham shortly.
"I don't have any misgivings about what I said - I am disappointed it was taken out of context and I would be disappointed if Emma was upset by it.
"It was deemed as being sexist and that was never the aim of the point."
When asked by Sky Sports News if he felt Raducanu had taken her "eye off the ball" since winning the US Open, Jones replied: "I didn't say that."
Since her US Open victory - which saw her become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title - Raducanu has attended the Met Gala in New York and the premiere of the James Bond film No Time To Die in London, while she has also signed commercial deals with luxury brands Tiffany and Dior.
The 18-year-old has also played three tournaments; she lost her first match as a Grand Slam champion in Indian Wells, won her first WTA Tour matches at the Transylvania Open and exited the Upper Austria Ladies Linz at the hands of Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu this week.
Raducanu has been praised since her junior days for her professionalism and attitude for combining tennis with full-time education and she has repeatedly said her focus is very much on the court despite the opportunities now afforded to her.
Speaking on Saturday, Raducanu said: "I made it a priority. I made it very, very clear to every single person in my team that I was not going to cancel one training session or practice session for any off-court commitments.
"That was a non-negotiable for me because I wanted to make sure that is my priority, and it is. Everyone's clear about that."