Dan Evans has branded Emma Raducanu’s Grand Slam triumph at the 2021 US Open as ‘lucky’ for British tennis as he hit out at LTA chiefs on Friday.
The British No.2 feels Raducanu’s stunning win at Flushing Meadows in New York has ‘papered over the cracks’ in regards to problems within the sport in Great Britain, which is governed by the Lawn Tennis Association.
Evans, a long-time critic of the domestic set-up, is only one of three British players in the men’s singles at the French Open, which starts on Sunday as he faces Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round.
There are no British players in the women’s singles at Roland-Garros – the first time that has happened at a Grand Slam in 14 years – after several players crashed out in qualifying, while Raducanu is absent having recently undergone surgery.
Asked if Raducanu’s US Open win had papered over the cracks in the sport, Evans said: ‘Yes. They’ve been lucky that they have a Grand Slam champion and she’s a very good tennis player but the rankings don’t lie, do they?
‘Men’s or women’s, the rankings don’t lie. Men’s, not many of us playing qualys, not many 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.
‘We’re in a massive, massive habit of sending people to college now. I don’t think that massively helps. It’ll be interesting.
‘I think the grass last year really helped paper over some cracks as well. After the grass, there will be a bit of soul-searching I imagine, after their holidays.’
Evans also aimed a dig at former LTA performance director Simon Timson – who now works in a similar role for Premier League champions Manchester City – as he recalled a past meeting they had on his return from a drugs ban for cocaine.
‘Simon Timson sat next to me and told me… ‘you are close to finishing your career’. And I said, ‘thanks man’, that was the meeting,’ he added.
‘And I seem to have done all right since that meeting. He sent me to a psychologist, that was about it.’
Evans, 33, who is currently ranked world No.24, has urged LTA chiefs to ‘spread the resources’ and help the sport grow.
‘I know what it’s like to not work hard and what you get from that,’ he said. ‘And I know what it’s like to work hard and get decent rewards.
‘I’m not sitting here saying I know the answers. I have a fair idea of the answers.
‘There’s enough people playing junior tennis. We just don’t help them in my opinion.
‘What I think we need to do it get a bigger pool and just pool it all in and get going. It’s simple maths. Spread the resources more thinly and bring in more people.’
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