After defeating David Goffin at the Australia Open, Dan Evans laments the lack of depth in British tennis.


After defeating David Goffin at the Australia Open, Dan Evans laments the lack of depth in British tennis.

Dan Evans knocked out former world No. 7 David Goffin to join Heather Watson in making Britain’s best second-round showing in five years at the Australian Open.

With victories for Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu, a quartet of British athletes made it through the early rounds, though Evans warned them to be cautious.

He will now face France’s fast-rising Arthur Rinderknech, and he admitted that more depth in the UK was required to back up some of the eye-catching performances at the elite level over the past year.

‘There isn’t enough, plain and simple,’ said the British No. 2 after a 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 victory over the Belgian.

‘More people from the 250 should attend these tournaments.’

We’re improving at this level, but we still need to improve at the lower levels, and I don’t believe the top 25 in the United Kingdom is strong enough.’

The only British player in the qualifying event was Liam Broady, who lost to Nick Kyrgios’ flamboyant shotmaking yesterday.

The only female qualifier, Harriet Dart, was defeated by former French Open champion Iga Swiatek.

It’s difficult to argue with the notion that the United Kingdom needs a larger number of players before it can be mentioned in the same breath as France or Italy.

At the very least, 20-year-old Jack Draper has had a promising start to the season, winning his first Challenger event in the Italian city of Forli over the weekend.

While Evans will face the 6ft 5in Rinderknech in the second round, Watson will face Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek, the 29th seed.

Mayar Sherif of Egypt was defeated 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 by the British women’s No 2 and said that time spent in the different climates of Bolton and Florida had helped her rekindle her motivation.

Courtney Duffus, her footballer boyfriend, is currently employed by Morecambe in League One, and the Channel Islander has been spending time in the North West as a result.

‘Actually, because he’s from up north, my father has an apartment in Blackpool.’

So I’ve been training at Bolton Arena and I’ve been enjoying it,’ she explained.

She also felt that returning to her normal December routine in Bradenton had been beneficial, as it had whipped her back into shape after she had let her fitness slip during the pandemic.

‘I do my pre-season in Florida every year, with the exception of the year before this one due to Covid, and I love it there.’

I just concentrated on being in the company of positive people.

‘Pat, my coach…’

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