Dan Evans - Roland Garros 2023

Dan Evans continues rant about ‘elitist’ British tennis after Roland Garros defeat

Dan Evans has backed up his claims that Emma Raducanu’s US Open triumph ‘papered over the cracks’ of the flaws in British tennis, that he suggested is ‘so elitist’ after his first round exit at Roland Garros.

Evans became the first seed to exit the men’s Roland Garros draw after falling to a straight sets defeat to Thanasi Kokkinakis, 4-6 4-6 4-6.

The British No.2 is one of only three British players in the main singles draws of either the men’s or women’s tournaments, with it being the first major without a British woman since the 2009 US Open.

Raducanu would have gained direct entry to the tournament, but withdrew after revealing she needed to undergo surgeries on her left ankle and both of her wrists.

Last week, Evans claimed that he thought Raducanu’s shock US Open triumph in 2021 was ‘lucky’ for British tennis.

“Has her success papered over the cracks? Yeah,” said Evans. “We’ve been lucky, or they’ve been lucky that they had a Grand Slam champion and she was a very good tennis player but the rankings don’t lie, do they? Men’s or women’s, the rankings don’t lie. Men, not many of us playing qualies, not many in the main draw. I don’t want to sound like a broken record. But there’s way further to go than just the top players. It’s from the bottom up.”

He continued, “We’re in a massive, massive habit of sending people to college now. I don’t think that massively helps. I think the grass last year really helped paper over some cracks as well. There were some good results but if you look at the players who did pretty good on the grass last year, who were wildcards etc, rankings don’t lie. After the grass, there will be a bit of soul-searching I imagine, after their holidays and after the grass, obviously.”

“You’ve got to work hard. I know what it’s like to not work hard and what you get from that and I know what it’s like to work hard and get decent rewards.”

The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) responded to Evans’ claims “Naturally we would have liked to see players progress from qualifying to main draw at Roland Garros this week. Despite this week’s results, we are making longer term progress – but there is more work to do before we consistently have the numbers we would like to see across all levels.”

“That’s why we are investing in our junior players, staging more international competitions in this country and supporting players development whatever is the best route for them to reach the top of the game, including both professional and the college system routes. Of course we need to go further and want players moving up the rankings – but we do believe we are heading in the right direction.”

But Evans did not hold back following his disappointing result in Paris, “I voice my opinions because I want younger children, working-class kids to get the support they deserve. In any other sport, when people voice their opinions about a system, it goes forward, but in tennis, because we’re so elitist in England, it doesn’t get put forward. I’m doing it for working-class people like I was.”

“No-one ever just comes from nowhere. In Britain. it’s always: ‘Yeah, he was good when he was young’. Ten times out of ten they’re from a very nice area most likely. I just don’t think there’s a chance for people from working-class backgrounds to get into the sport and get a chance if their parents don’t have money.”

The 33-year-old added, “That’s why I do it. I’m just asking for things to be a bit different, more people to have a chance to get funded. It’s not personal. If you’re taking it personally, then maybe you’re guilty of what I’m saying.”

However, Evans did suggest that he wanted to focus on himself after another disappointment at the clay major, “I’ve got my own battles to deal with right now on the court. It’s shocking how I played today. It’s not good enough.”

The ATP No.25 will now head home as he turns his attention to the British grass court season, with the possibility of playing the Surbiton Challenger next week.

Dan Evans at Grand Slams 

Despite being a British player Evans has found the most success at the hard court majors, but has significantly struggled at Roland Garros which was evident from this year’s result.

Here are Evans’ performances at the Grand Slams over the years:

Overall Grand Slam win-loss record: 27-26 (51%)

Australian Open win-loss record: 8-7 (53%)

Best Result: Fourth Round (2017)

Roland Garros win-loss record: 1-6 (14%)

Best Result: Second Round (2022)

Wimbledon win-loss record: 6-7 (46%)

Best Result: Third Round (2016, 2019, 2021)

US Open win-loss record: 12-6 (66%)

Best Result: Fourth Round (2021)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.