British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith backs Dan Evans to break into world’s top 20 this summer despite impressive run on clay coming to an end at the Barcelona Open
- British No 1 was unable to continue his excellent form on clay on Wednesday
- A tired Evans lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a feisty encounter to France’s Corentin Moutet
- Smith says the 30-year-old can build on his good run and break into the top 20
The Andy Murray-type work ethic adopted by Dan Evans should see him heading into the top 20 this summer, according to British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.
Regardless of his results on the clay there will be a dividend for him to be reaped when the tour moves to Wimbledon and the American hard courts.
Fatigued after making surprise runs to the singles semi-final and doubles final in Monte Carlo last week, Evans lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Wednesday in a feisty encounter to France’s Corentin Moutet at the Barcelona Open.
British No 1 Dan Evans was unable to continue his excellent form on clay on Wednesday
Speaking at a Lawn Tennis Association performance briefing Smith said: ‘It has taken him time but he will get so much confidence no matter what happens in the clay-court season now. It will benefit him whether he gets more good results on the clay or if it comes to fruition on the grass or US hard court swing.
‘He is moving in such a good direction. I can say first-hand, having spending a couple of weeks around him in Miami recently, his operating standards are unreal, so good, on and off the court. He is ticking every single box and giving himself the best chance to perform at a high level.’
Since the beginning of last season the 30-year-old Midlander has amassed an impressive 11-9 match record over top 20 players.
‘Whenever people are capable of beating the top 20 or top 10, you know their ceiling is up higher as they have the capabilities of beating players because of their skill level,’ he added.
Evans lost to France’s Corentin Moutet in a spiky second-round match at the Barcelona Open
On a wider basis, Smith has called for more ranking tournaments to be staged in the UK to help aspiring British pros, once the Covid situation allows a resumption of a more normal calendar.
‘We would like more tournaments,’ he said. ‘There has been a demise over the last 10 or 15 years in the number of Futures (the lowest tier of the circuit) in particular. We have started quite a significant look at how we are going to start presenting a competition structure across the professional game but also domestic money events as well.’
Meanwhile, Italy’s Fabio Fognini was defaulted at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday for insulting a line judge.