‘There was no criticism of Emma Raducanu,’ says Eddie Jones as he reveals he wrote to US Open champion

Emma Raducanu in action on the WTA Tour

England Rugby Union coach Eddie Jones has written a letter to Emma Raducanu following the furore over his controversial comments, insisting they were “taken out of context”.

The England mentor came in for criticism this week after he compared rising rugby star Marcus Smith with Raducanu and suggested that the US Open champion has been “distracted” by off-court events since winning her maiden Grand Slam.

“The big thing for good young players is distractions,” the Australian said. “The distractions could be the exposure they get in the media, the praise they get, the criticism they get. There can be groups of agents who see this guy as the next big thing.

“There’s a reason why the young girl who won the US Open hasn’t done so well afterwards. What have you seen her on – the front page of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar or whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes.”

Many public sporting figures deemed Jones’ comments as sexist while Raducanu herself refused to get drawn into a debate about the remarks as she played with a straight bat when asked about it.

Emma Raducanu responds to Eddie Jones jibe: ‘People are going to have opinions of me, but I’m very zoned in’

“I’m not really sure who or what that means,” she said.

Jones, though, has responded to the criticism and insists the main point still stands, but it was not meant as a criticism of the 18-year-old tennis star.

“The whole point was how difficult it is for young players to cope with distractions,” he told BBC Sport. “So the point I made was not wrong. I can’t control it 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.”