England coach Eddie Jones denies criticism of Emma Raducanu

By Sports Desk November 11, 2021

Eddie Jones insists he did not intend to criticise US Open champion Emma Raducanu in his recent comments about young sportspeople coping with "distractions".

The England rugby union head coach referred to Raducanu on Saturday when discussing the possibility that fly-half Marcus Smith could face "a flood of distractions" after an impressive cameo in his team's 69-3 win against Tonga.

Jones received criticism after suggesting the 18-year-old Brit had underperformed since she won her first grand slam in September, when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a major.

"There's a reason why the girl who won the US Open [Raducanu] hasn't done so well afterwards. What have you seen her on? The front page of Vogue, the front page of Harper's Bazaar, whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes," Jones said at the weekend.

However, he has attempted to clarify his comments, claiming he was not directly criticising Raducanu.

"The whole point was how difficult it is for young players to cope with distractions," Jones told BBC Sport.

"So, the point I made was not wrong. I can't control 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."

Raducanu's season came to a frustrating end on Tuesday as she sustained a thigh injury in the process of being knocked out of the Linz Open – in which she was the top seed – by Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu 6-1 6-7 (0-7) 7-5.

However, the British number one did confirm Torben Beltz as her new coach afterwards, having parted with Andrew Richardson a couple of weeks after her historic US Open success.

 

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