England coach Eddie Jones has told young fly-half Marcus Smith to be wary of the “flood of distractions” that could come his way as the “next big thing” and referred to the attention U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu has received since winning her first Grand Slam.
Jones said Raducanu “hasn’t done so well” after her win at Flushing Meadows despite the fact the 18-year-old has continued to climb the WTA rankings and broke into the top 20 players in the world for the first time on Monday.
Her success has seen a number of brands offer her sponsorship deals and a host of magazines featuring her on the front cover.
Smith is considered England’s next big breakout player and after the 22-year-old made a sparkling cameo in their 69-3 thrashing of Tonga over the weekend, Jones said it was crucial he kept his feet on the ground.
“The big thing for young players is distractions,” Jones told reporters. “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 U.S. 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 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 U.S. Open. But there’s this flood of distractions that comes in that makes you ungrounded.”
Raducanu, who is the top seed in Linz this week, had said tennis is her priority and she will not let her off-court commitments get in the way of training.
“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.