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Emma Raducanu has responded to Eddie Jones’ recent criticism of the 18-year-old, after the England rugby coach suggested that the British No1’s on-court performances have suffered due to her off-court activities.
Since her stunning US Open triumph in September, which marked the first time a qualifier has ever won a Grand Slam, Raducanu has won two matches and lost three, and Jones said ahead of her most recent defeat that the teenager’s new-found fame might be distracting her.
“The big thing for young [rugby] players is distractions,” the 61-year-old 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.
“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.”
Raducanu, who appeared on the front page of Vogue before her US Open title win, has now responded.
“I think that many people are going to have opinions of me and what I’m doing,” she said, per the Mirror.
“I just know I’m staying focused with a small circle around me. I have my parents, who would 100 per cent let me know if I was getting swayed. I am very zoned in.”
In the aftermath of her US Open success, Raducanu parted ways with coach Andrew Richardson, before finally appointing Torben Beltz this week.
Spaniard Esteban Carril was the only name that emerged publicly from a series of trials Raducanu held with coaches last month, but a picture of the Briton with Beltz and her agent Chris Helliar at a cafe in Orpington was posted on an Instagram fan page.
German Beltz was previously a long-time mentor of former world No1 Angelique Kerber.