Emma Raducanu's victory at the US Open papered over the cracks in British tennis, says Dan Evans

Emma Raducanu's victory at the US Open papered over the cracks in British tennis, says Dan Evans

Emma Raducanu’s US Open win has covered the cracks in British tennis, says Dan Evans… with the 33-year-old one of three Brits in this week’s French Open draw

  • The Lawn Tennis Association received nearly £50m from Wimbledon last year
  • But the governing body cannot boast of a woman ranked in the top 100
  • Brits Dan Evans, Jack Draper and Cam Norrie will compete in the men’s singles

Isolated victories such as Emma Raducanu’s have camouflaged the true state of how Britain is in elite tennis.

Dan Evans will be one of only three GB players in the French Open draw when the tournament begins on Sunday, and in typically blunt fashion he points to that as a realistic measure of where the British game is at.

In the same week that the Lawn Tennis Association reported another massive injection of funds from Wimbledon – close to £50 million – all ten of the attempted qualifiers were back across the Channel at the end of the second preliminary round.

Only Evans, Jack Draper and Cam Norrie were left to compete in the singles, with Norrie showing worrying signs of wear and tear as he lost in the semi-finals of Friday’s ATP event in Lyon.

Now a veteran just turned 33, Evans is one of the few in the British game willing to speak out without fear of offending the governing body, which currently cannot boast a woman ranked in the top 100 .

‘They’re lucky they (the LTA) have a Grand Slam champion and he’s a very good tennis player but rankings don’t lie, do they?’, thought Evans, who will face Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Sunday.

‘Guys, not many of us (3) play qualifiers, not many main draws. I don’t want to sound like a broken record. But there is more to go than the top players. It’s from the bottom up.’

He also feels that the decent spread of performances in the UK last summer created a false impression of what was going on throughout the year.

‘I think the grass last year really helped the paper in some cracks too. There were some good results, but if you look at the players who were pretty good on grass last year, who were wildcards, the rankings don’t lie. There’s going to be a bit of soul-searching I imagine, after their vacation and after the weed.’

He recently suggested that British players are not good enough on tour. That may apply to some of the groups of women not far outside the top 100, who sometimes appear too busy on their social media feeds.

‘I know what it’s like to not work hard and what you get out of that, and I know what it’s like to work hard and get decent rewards,’ says Evans.

‘Argentina have twelve men in the qualies here (it’s actually 13). They have no money, they have nothing. Not really a federation. There are enough people playing junior tennis (in the UK), we are not helping them in my opinion.

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‘If you are putting five people in PSP (LTA funding programmes), what is the hope for others? It’s heartbreaking that someone next to you is getting 70 grand or something, but you’re better than him. But there’s a guy with these stats that tells you “No, no, he’s better”‘.

Evans is particularly angry about former Performance Director Simon Timson, who he feels wrote him off when he returned from his cocaine ban. Timson moved on to a job at Manchester City after three and a half years and was replaced by another inexperienced tennis player, Michael Bourne.

Emma Raducanu drops out of world top 100 since winning US Open in 2021

Emma Raducanu drops out of world top 100 since winning US Open in 2021

The British No 2 was a bit fed up with the situation and added, obviously inaccurately, ‘I couldn’t give a *** about it.’

Norrie, the defending champion in Lyon, looked awkward moving at times as he fell 6-3 6-0 to Francisco Cerundolo.

He is set to meet troubled Frenchman Benoit Paire in the first round, while Draper is set to meet one of the tougher Argentinians, Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

Two-time women’s champion Iga Swiatek has declared herself fit after an injury scare in Rome.