Dan Evans keeps up verbal jibes in Jamie Murray row as he breezes into Miami Open second round

Simon Briggs
The Telegraph
Dan Evans had qualified for the Miami Open main draw as a
Dan Evans had qualified for the Miami Open main draw as a

Buoyed by his 24th win of a ­rewarding season, British No 3 Dan Evans has yet to give up on ­January’s beef with doubles ­specialist Jamie Murray. “It will be interesting to see who ends up with more money at the end of their ­careers, won’t it?” Evans told ­reporters with his familiar roguish grin, having just beaten Malek Jaziri to move into the second round of the Miami Open.

This dispute began during the Australian Open, when Murray complained that the Lawn Tennis Association should take more pride in the success of Britain’s numerous doubles players. Evans bit back, opining that doubles players were no better than failed singles players who had lacked the work ethic to make it on their own.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

There is an element of pantomime to the row, and Evans denies there will be any frostiness ­between the two players when they combine under the British flag for this ­winter’s upcoming team events.

But he clearly stands by his views, especially after Murray’s ­final word in Australia was to point to their ­respective career earnings – $4,330,223 (£3,279,508) for him, $1,572,492 for Evans – and adding: “I manage to make a good living, a lot better than Dan”.

“I didn’t agree with him,” ­confirmed Evans on Thursday night, on the wider point of ­doubles’ national profile. “No doubles player from the UK can hammer the LTA; if anything they get a lot [of ­support].”

<span>Evans with Jamie Murray and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, who he says has sat on the fence in the public dispute</span> <span>Credit: Reuters </span>
Evans with Jamie Murray and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, who he says has sat on the fence in the public dispute Credit: Reuters

Asked whether Leon Smith had intervened, in his role as Davis Cup captain, Evans replied: “There’s a fence and he is firmly sat on it. He [Murray] shouldn’t have said what he said, and maybe I shouldn’t have said what I said. It was tit for tat. But I’m never going to fall out with Jamie. I really like and get on with him. I saw him in Indian Wells and Phoenix. I’ve not got an issue with him and I don’t think he has got an issue with me.”

At 28, Evans is five years younger than Murray. Although singles players tend to retire earlier than doubles players, owing to the greater physicality of their trade, he should be able to narrow the ­income gap somewhat. A few more performances of the kind that ejected Jaziri – who barely managed a game in his 6-2, 6-0 defeat – would certainly help.

Jaziri was lacklustre on Thursday, failing to live up to his billing as the world No 59 and looking like he is carrying a few extra pounds. On the rare occasions when he appeared like he might spark into life, Evans would outwit him, using a dipping slice to defuse Jaziri’s frequent, yet unsuccessful, visits to the net.

There was also a characteristically Evans-ish moment, early in the second set, when he ticked off a member of Jaziri’s entourage for shouting out at a dubious line call. “He jumped up and started screaming,” said Evans. “The umpire had already corrected it. But it actually helped me, the guy getting up. It made me focus even more, so it wasn’t his best move.”

<span><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1211274/" data-ylk="slk:Johanna Konta">Johanna Konta</a> also eased past her first round opponent, Jessie Pegula</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Johanna Konta also eased past her first round opponent, Jessie Pegula Credit: Getty Images

Having earned his place in the Miami Open as a “lucky loser” from qualifying, Evans will now play 20th seed Denis Shapovalov on Saturday in what should be an entertaining second-round meeting. He is also guaranteed to bank a minimum of $10,000 from this trip.

Meanwhile Kyle Edmund spent only 70 minutes on Friday in bringing up his own 6-3, 6-2 victory over Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, which will earn him a crack at 12th seed Milos Raonic in the third round.

Afterwards, Edmund said that he had not yet decided whether to replace Fidde Rosengren, his veteran Swedish coach who retired from active service last month. Rosengren had been sharing the job with Mark Hilton, the former British No. 4, but it is possible that Hilton may now continue unassisted.

But Johanna Konta was unable to build on Thursday’s encouraging win over Jessie Pegula. Her opponent on Friday was Qiang Wang, the 18th seed from China, who made a dramatic climb up the rankings during last year’s Asian swing. And despite holding a 4-2 lead in the opening set, Konta then lost focus and control, giving up ten games in a row to exit by a 6-4, 6-0 scoreline.

The collapse may have been related to the poor officiating which has been a theme throughout this event, also affecting Evans’s second qualifying match against Alexander Bublik. One of many errors came when Konta held a break point late in the first set, and speared a penetrating return back at Qiang’s feet, only for an errant line-call to force the point to be replayed. It was to be the last real chance she had.

What to Read Next