‘Not strong enough’: Dan Evans bemoans a lack of depth in British tennis after beating David Goffin to reach Australian Open second round
- Dan Evans has complained about British tennis’ lack of depth
- Evans beat David Goffin in straight sets in the Australian Open first round
- Four Brits are into the next round at but Evans sounded a note of caution
- ‘We’re getting better at this level, but at the lower levels we need more,’ he said
Dan Evans dismantled former world No 7 David Goffin to join Heather Watson in making it Britain’s best Australian Open second-round showing in five years.
Wins for the more celebrated duo of Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu meant that a quartet of Brits survived the initial skirmishes, although Evans sounded a note of caution.
He will now face the fast-rising Arthur Rinderknech of France and acknowledged that more depth in the UK was needed to back up some of the eye-catching performances at elite level over the past year.
Dan Evans sounded a warning note on Tuesday about British tennis’ lack of depth
Evans joined Andy Murray (pictured) plus Emma Raducanu and Heather Watson in reaching the Australian Open second round but sounded a note of caution
‘There is not enough, as simple as that,’ said the GB men’s No 2, who hammered the Belgian 6-4, 6-3, 6-0.
‘We need more people inside the 250 coming to these tournaments. We’re getting better at this level, but at the lower levels we need more and I just think the top 25 in Britain is not strong enough.’
Liam Broady, who lost to the flamboyant shotmaking of Nick Kyrgios yesterday, was the only GB man in the qualifying event. Harriet Dart, who went down to former French Open champion Iga Swiatek, was the only female qualifier.
It is hard to argue with the idea that a greater volume of players is required before GB can be mentioned in the same breath as France or Italy.
At least there has been a promising start to the season for 20-year-old Jack Draper, who at the weekend won his first Challenger event in the Italian city of Forli.
While Evans faces a stiff second-round test against the 6ft 5in Rinderknech, Watson will be up against Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, the 29th seed. The British women’s No 2 defeated Egypt’s Mayar Sherif 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, and said time in the diverse climes of Bolton and Florida had helped rekindle her motivation.
Evans dispatched David Goffin in straight sets but said Britain’s top 25 was ‘not strong enough’
Raducanu made it into the second round at the Melbourne Park by beating Sloane Stephens
The Channel Islander has been spending time in the North West because her footballer boyfriend, Courtney Duffus, is currently employed by Morecambe in League One.
‘Actually my dad has an apartment in Blackpool because he’s from up that way. So I have been spending time there training at Bolton Arena and I love it,’ she explained.
She also felt it had been helpful to resume her normal December routine in Bradenton, and that it had whipped her into shape after letting her fitness slip during the pandemic.
‘I do my pre-season every year in Florida, apart from the year before this one because of Covid, and I love it there. I really just focused on being surrounded by good people.
‘My coach, Pat Harrison, is out there. We were on the court four hours a day minimum and I think I got into good shape again. I got out of shape like a lot of people during Covid, but I feel super fit and strong and good about myself.’
Heather Watson won her match to complete an excellent showing from British players
On a day that saw six Brits in singles action Broady was up against a showboating Kyrgios, although the Australian mixed that with some impressive focus in beating him 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
The crowd were treated to tricks including an underarm serve delivered through the legs, and Broady endured an evening of sledging from fans.
The Stockport player, who rarely gets on a show court, was not offended by either. ‘I don’t think it’s personal,’ he said. ‘Our job is to entertain the people and for them to enjoy the tennis that they come to watch. He does that, and full respect to him.’