Emma Raducanu hits back at Eddie Jones: 'I’m not really sure who or what that means'

Tennis star Emma Raducanu has responded to the 'patronising' comments made by Eddie Jones, head coach of the England men’s rugby team

Tennis star Emma Raducanu has responded to the "patronising" comments made by Eddie Jones, head coach of the England men’s rugby team.

Jones created a storm earlier this week by claiming Raducanu had been distracted by fame after her unexpected US Open victory in September.

He made the comment while discussing Marcus Smith, the 22-year-old fly-half who made an impressive second-half appearance during England’s 69-3 victory over Tonga.

"The big thing for young players is distractions," Jones said. "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.

"There’s a reason why the girl 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.

"All those distractions are out there. It mightn’t be to that degree with Marcus, but it could be."

Fans of Raducanu were outraged, with Jones’s words described as "nasty", "ridiculous", "patronising" and "infuriating".

Following her appearance at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz, Raducanu was asked about the comments.

While grinning widely, she responded: "I’m not really sure who or what that means. I haven’t followed any of the news. I stay away from that.

"So I’m sorry, I don’t really know what this is about."

Since her triumph at the US Open, Raducanu has attended the Met Gala and the James Bond premiere, starred in a Sports Direct advert, and become an ambassador for Dior and Tiffany and Co.

But, prior to Jones’s comments, the 18-year-old had made it clear she would never let her off-court commitments affect her tennis career.

Emma Raducanu lost her opening match at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz

"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 said.

Raducanu was beaten in her opening fixture at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz, a WTA 250 event. It was her third defeat in the five matches she's played since the US Open.

She lost 1-6, 7-6, 5-7 to Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu, but was clearly in pain during the deciding set after picking up a hip injury.

The Briton now plans to head off on holiday and switch off from tennis completely.

She will then begin pre-season with new coach Torben Beltz, whose appointment was confirmed yesterday. Raducanu will be hoping to achieve more Grand Slam success at the Australian Open.

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