Dan Evans criticized the situation English plays tennis and believes Emma Raducanu’s success has covered the cracks.
There will be only three English players in the main singles draw at the French Open, which kicks off on Sunday, and there will be no women for the first time since 2008.
While none of the 10 English players in the qualifiers made it to the final round, 2021 US Open champion Raducanu did. Andy Murray when retracting, having undergone surgery on both the wrist and one ankle.
Speaking before the first round match against Australia Thanasi KokkinakisEvans said: “They’re lucky to have a grand slam champion and he’s a great tennis player but the standings don’t lie, do they?
“Men or women, the ranking doesn’t lie. Guys, not many of us play in qualifiers, not many main draws. I don’t want to look like a broken record. But there is still a long way to go than the best players. Bottom up.
“We now have a very big habit of sending people to college. I don’t think this helps much. It will be interesting. I think last year’s grass also really helped the paper seal some of the cracks. After the lawn, I guess after the holidays there will be some internal searching.
Evans has been a longtime critic of the local order and has recently criticized some of his British fellow players for not being competitive enough and willing to grind life on the tour.
Evans, who matured late after meeting the drug ban and admits to enjoying the party lifestyle too much, knows both the pitfalls and what it takes to achieve success.
Number 24 in the world said, “You have to work hard. I know what it’s like not to work hard and what you get out of it, and I know what it’s like to work hard and get reasonable rewards.
“I’m not sitting here saying I know the answers. I have a reasonable idea of the answers and I think I would have done it very differently from what is happening now. There are enough people playing junior tennis. We don’t just help them.”
Evans hid his strongest anger on the former. Lawn Tennis Association Performance director Simon Timson – the architect of a performance strategy that heavily funds a small number of actors – now takes on the same role as Manchester City.
“It’s sad that a guy next to you gets like 70,000, but you’re better than him,” Evans said. “But a guy with those stats tells you, ‘No, no, he’s better.
“You can check out who is attending the PSP (Pro Scholarship Program, highest level of support). Reading doesn’t improve much, does it? And I think that’s what we need to do (do) – get a bigger pool and put it all together and get started. This is simple math. But Simon Timson was the mastermind of it all.
“I can’t say anything about it. Simon Timson sat next to me and said to me, “With all due respect to James Ward and Heather Watson, I put the three of you together.” You are close to ending your career.’ And I said, ‘Thanks mate’. That was that meeting.
“And I seem to have done everything well since that meeting. He sent me to a psychologist, that’s all. I told him it was a stepping stone, the job, and that was it. He wasn’t there in three years and he wasn’t going to be. He didn’t know what he was watching.”
An LTA spokesperson said in response: “Naturally we would have liked to see players progress from qualifying to the main draw at Roland Garros this week.
“Despite this week’s results, we are making longer-term progress – but we still have more work to do before we consistently achieve the numbers we want to see at all levels.
“That’s why we’re investing in our young players, holding more international competitions in this country, and supporting the development of players regardless of the best way to reach the top of the game, including both professional and college system routes.
“Of course we need to go further and we want players to move up in the rankings, but we believe we are moving in the right direction.”
Evans is certainly an example of what can be accomplished with hard work and the right attitude, and he will hope to continue his development on the ground when he meets Kokkinakis on Sunday.
The number two Englishman lost his last three games but reached the semi-finals of the clay tournaments in Marrakech and Barcelona.
He joked about his relationship with the Surface: “We had a good week in the beginning and then we didn’t really talk, we slept in separate beds.
“No, it’s fine. I feel comfortable. I’m playing well. It probably helped to have an Argentinian coach, little niceties, the English probably don’t know because they’re not so bred on the ground.”