England coach Eddie Jones. (Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile via Getty Images)
England rugby coach Eddie Jones has written to British tennis star Emma Raducanu to explain comments suggesting his results have suffered from “distractions” off the pitch since her stunning US Open triumph in September.
Jones cited the British teenager’s poor form since that success to illustrate his opinion that Marcus Smith needs to keep a cool head after the 22-year-old opening half comes off the bench to lead a flurry of late tries in England’s 69-3 rout. Tonga last week.
“There’s a reason the girl who won the US Open didn’t do so well afterwards,” Jones said after the Twickenham game.
“What did you see her on – the front page of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar or whatever, wearing Christian Dior clothes. All of this is a distraction around her.
Jones’s language was deemed sexist by former British tennis number one Jo Durie, while others noted that Raducanu’s appearance in British Vogue took place before the 18-year-old surrendered. in New York, where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam. title of bachelor.
Jones insisted on Thursday that there was no sexist intent behind his comments and that he had written to Raducanu to explain his comments.
“The main thing was how difficult it is for young players to cope with the distractions,” Jones told BBC Sport on Thursday.
“So the point I made was not wrong. I cannot control it if it is taken out of context. There has been no criticism of Emma,” added the Australian.
“I sent her a letter just to reinforce that and I hope we see her in Twickenham soon.
“I have no doubt what I said – I’m disappointed that this was taken out of context, and I would be disappointed if Emma was upset by it.
“It was deemed sexist and that was never the point.”
This month, Raducanu entered the world top 20 for the first time in his career.
But her breakthrough season ended on Tuesday when she was knocked out in the second round of the WTA tour event in Linz, Austria, by world number 106 Wang Xinyu.