British tennis criticised for lack of depth as Australian Open qualifiers exit early
Dan Evans bemoaned the lack of Brits in the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open and slammed the lower levels of British tennis as “not good enough.”
Britain have enjoyed an excellent start to the first Grand Slam of the season with four out of a possible seven players progressing to the second round, Britain’s best second round showing in five years.
19-year-old reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu impressively stormed to a convincing win over 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stevens. Whilst Andy Murray overcame World number 23 Nikoloz Basilashvili in a gruelling five-set affair.
Similarly, Heather Watson and Dan Evans both progressed with Evans dispatching David Goffin in straight sets. Arthur Rinderknech will be Evans’ next opponent, whilst Watson will face World number 29 Tamara Zidansek.
However, Cameron Norrie lost his opening match to young American Sebastian Korda in straight sets.
Moreover, both of Britain’s only qualifiers at the Australian Open in both men and women divisions lost their opening matches. Liam Broady struggled to manage the amped up John Cain Arena crowd and succumbed to a straight set defeat to home icon Nick Kyrgios.
Women’s qualifier Harriet Dart also lost in straight sets to 2020 French Open victor and World number nine Iga Swiatek.
Despite the stellar start, Evans criticised the lack of Brits in the early qualifying stages of the ‘Happy Slam.’
In a post-match press conference after beating Goffin, Evans said “there is not enough [depth], as simple as that.
“We need more people inside the [top] 250 coming to these tournaments (Grand Slams).
“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.”
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