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8 Nov, 2021 14:12

‘Where have you seen her? On the front cover of Vogue’: England coach roasted for ‘sexist’ Raducanu remarks

‘Where have you seen her? On the front cover of Vogue’: England coach roasted for ‘sexist’ Raducanu remarks

The head coach of the England national rugby team has been blasted after accusing tennis star Emma Raducanu of losing her focus since winning the US Open and prioritizing appearances at galas and fashion shoots over performance.

Eddie Jones was primarily discussing England player Marcus Smith, warning the fly-half to take caution as a "flood of distractions" could be heading his way as UK sport's "next big thing".

Jones used the example of Raducanu, with the 18-year-old failing to make an impact on court since her stunning breakthrough win at Flushing Meadows.

Since succeeding Naomi Osaka as US Open champion, the Brit has suffered early exits at Indian Wells and in the Transylvania Open.

Yet there has been no end of sponsors and magazines knocking on her door, with some claiming Raducanu, who was born in Canada but has a Romanian father and Chinese mother, could stand to earn as much as $1 billion due to her winsome cross-cultural appeal.   

But for Jones, "the big thing for young players is distractions" in the way of maintaining top standards.

"Distractions can be the exposure they get in the media, the praise and criticism they get, groups of agents who see this guy as the next big thing," he said following England's 69-3 win over Tonga, where Smith made an impressive cameo.

"There's a reason why the girl [Raducanu] who won the US Open 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," he said.

"He [Smith] is grounded, but they all start off grounded. No one starts with their feet off the ground or they don't get in the team, or they don't win a US Open. But there's this flood of distractions that comes in that makes you ungrounded."

Jones has been widely blasted online for the remarks, with his outburst branded "uninformed, irresponsible and sexist nonsense".

"Eddie Jones calling Emma Raducanu 'the young girl who won the US Open' makes his comments all the more patronizing and infuriating," fumed a female onlooker, before noting that Raducanu has meanwhile broken into the world Top 20 for the first time.

Separately, Raducanu has insisted that her focus is primarily on tennis.

"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," she has said recently. 

"That was non-negotiable for me. I wanted to make sure that that is my priority and it is so that everyone’s clear about that.

"But it’s just managing my time with the commitments around that. Even if it’s not off-court events or whatever, I’m still doing my WTA rookie hours for example."

Preparing for The Upper Austria Ladies Open in Linz, Raducanu also confirmed that she is still looking for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Richardson following her maiden Grand Slam triumph.

"I'll have a coach in place in the Australian Open," she vowed.

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