Evans insisted the achievements made by singles players in British tennis should be celebrated more following Murray’s calls for the LTA to promote the doubles game more
Jamie Murray has described Dan Evans as “ill-informed and dumb” as the war of words about the profile of doubles within British tennis intensified.
Jamie, older brother of men’s singles star Andy Murray, accused the Lawn Tennis Association of not promoting the success of doubles enough and undervaluing his coach, Louis Cayer, on Saturday.
That prompted Evans to fire back, telling the Daily Mail: “Jamie thinks we should be celebrating six pairs inside the main draw of a grand slam. So we are celebrating people who didn’t make it at singles and people who didn’t have the attitude to work hard enough to make it in the singles game?
“I like the doubles guys and they’ve done well, but to think we should celebrate this so the kids growing up look up to this as a huge achievement is completely wrong. Kids want to be in the second round of main draw singles events not doubles.”
After reaching the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles at the Australian Open, Murray did not hold back in his response, claiming Evans, who is working his way back up the rankings after a one-year suspension for cocaine use, has “made a hash of his career”.
“For me these are lazy comments to make,” he told a press conference. “It is ill-informed and dumb really. Also, to question the reason that we are on the doubles tour is because we don’t work as hard as the singles guys is just total nonsense.
“I’ve been playing the tour since 2007, travelling the world, working my ass off to stay at the top of the game and make a living for myself.
“To come from someone who really hasn’t applied himself as much as he should, and really he has made a hash of his career with his decision-making and stuff. To come out with those sort of comments is just ignorant I think. For me it’s really disappointing.
“Of course when people start playing they want to be singles players because, if you look at the prize money and the glory and stuff, that’s where it is. I’m playing on a tour where 80 per cent of the prize money goes to the singles. At the grand slams it’s even more.
“So we’ve got a much smaller slice of the pie, but I still manage to make a good living playing tennis. Let’s be honest, a lot better living than what Dan has done in his career.
“If he does something that’s noteworthy and deserves recognition then absolutely he should get it, along with anybody else that’s got a GBR next to their name. But just to kind of lazily trash the doubles game, for me it annoys me a lot.”
The row is potentially a problem for Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, with Murray and Evans long-standing members of the team, although Britain do not play until November.
Evans is well known as a straight-talking character, and Murray added: “I’m friends with him. I like him. You know what he’s like, he’s a character. He’ll shoot from the hip, he won’t necessarily think first before speaking, but, if that’s how he feels, that how he feels.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of other guys that maybe think the same but I’m not going to lose sleep over what he thinks about doubles.”
One of Murray’s initial complaints had been that he felt Cayer should be performance director at the LTA, a position held by Simon Timson.
But Cayer insisted he did not want the job, telling the BBC: “I have no intention, I didn’t apply, I don’t want to be performance director. My passion is to coach players on court, and to coach coaches. I’m very valued.”
Cayer also disagreed with Murray that doubles is not supported enough, saying: “Everyone acknowledges that the British doubles system is a world-leading thing. We are recognised internationally, and Jamie is very recognised in Great Britain. I think the LTA really recognises and supports the doubles.”