Jamie Murray has blasted back at Dan Evans, labelling his comments about doubles players “lazy, dumb and ill-informed”.
Evans described doubles players as “failures” in an article in the Daily Mail, infuriating his former Davis Cup team-mate and multiple doubles Grand Slam winner Murray.
Evans called doubles players “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”.
That was in response to Murray calling for the achievements of Britain’s doubles players and the LTA’s specialist doubles coach, Louis Cayer, to be given more recognition.
There are seven British men’s teams ranked in the world top 55 while at the Australian Open, six men’s doubles teams involving a British player reached the second round, compared to only three singles players.
Murray was not attacking singles players, merely pointing out that Britain as a nation is very good at producing doubles players and that fact should be appreciated. Evans, however, dived in with both feet.
“For me, they are lazy comments to make,” Murray said. “It is ill-informed and dumb really. Also, to say 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 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.”
Evans is desperately trying to salvage his career after testing positive for cocaine in 2017 and serving a one year ban.
At the time, he was at a career high ranking of No.41 having reached the fourth round of the Australian Open that January.
And then he failed a drugs test and lost everything. Coming back at the end of April last year, he has hauled himself back up to No.189 in the rankings.
Hugely talented but lacking the drive and the application to make the most of it, he is regarded by most as a wasted talent..
“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,” Murray said.
“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.
“For me it’s disappointing. Just to kind of lazily trash the doubles game, for me it annoys me a lot.”
With that off his chest, Murray had plenty to be cheerful about: he is through to the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles with Bruno Soares and of the mixed doubles with Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
The mixed was fairly straight forward as the US Open champions beat Kristina Mladenovic of France and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden 6-4, 6-4.
But teamed up with Soares, Murray was staring at three match points as they stood at 4-5, 0-40 on Soares’s serve in the third set against Kevin Krawietz of Germany and Nikola Mektic of Croatia.
They dug in and staved off those break points and went on to win 6-7, 6-2, 7-5. They will now play Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia, the No.12 seeds.