|Premises: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: May 28 – June 11|
|Reception: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, on the BBC Sport website and app|
Emma Raducan’s victory at the US Open has covered up the blemishes in the state of British tennis, says Dan Evans.
Seeded 24th, Evans is one of only three Britons to play in the French Open singles main draw, alongside Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper.
Due to Raducan’s injury, there are no British women in the women’s singles.
“There are enough people playing junior tennis. I just don’t think we’re helping them. It’s a rare draw, isn’t it?” said number two of British men.
Evans, 33, has long been a vocal critic of the path in British tennis and said the nation was “lucky” to see Raducanu emerge as major champions in 2021.
Asked if Raducan’s victory as a teenager in the New York qualifiers “covered up the cracks”, Evans said: “Is that a rhetorical question? Yes.
“She’s a very good tennis player, but the rankings don’t lie, do they?
“I don’t want to sound like a broken record. But there’s a lot more to do than just top players. It’s from the bottom up.”
Great Britain has four players in the men’s top 60 in the world, although Andy Murray will not join Norrie, Evans and Draper at Roland Garros after opting to focus on the grass court season.
The 20-year-old Raducanu will also miss a clay-court Grand Slam after having wrist and ankle surgeries.
Raducanu recently fell to 106th in the world, meaning there are no British players in the top 100 of the women’s ranking.
Seven women lost in the Roland Garros qualifiers – Harriet Dart, Katie Swan, Katie Boulter, Sonay Kartal, Heather Watson, Lily Miyazaki and Francesca Jones – as did Ryan Peniston, Liam Broady and Jan Choinski in the men’s tournament.
Speaking at Roland Garros on Friday, Evans added. “Argentina has 13 men qualifying here. They have no money, they have nothing. They basically don’t have a federation.
“We need to get people to love tennis and get involved. I think that’s what we need to do: get a bigger pool, collect everything and start.
“It’s easy. It’s simple math.”
In response to Evans’ comments, the Lawn Tennis Association acknowledged the disappointing French Open qualifying results but stressed that it was “making long-term progress.
“There’s still more to do before we consistently have the numbers we’d like to see at all levels,” the governing body said.
“That is why we are investing in our juniors by organizing more international competitions in this country and supporting the development of players, regardless of what is the best route for them to reach the top of the game, including both the professional route and the university system.
“Of course we need to move on and we want players to move up the ranks – but we believe we’re heading in the right direction.”
Since returning from a drug ban in 2018 after testing positive for cocaine, Evans has ditched his partying lifestyle and urged others to devote themselves more to the sport.
Evans reached a career high ranking of 22nd at the age of 31 and also won the first ATP title of his career in 2021.
“You have to work hard,” he said.
“I know what it’s like not to work hard and what comes of it, and I know what it’s like to work hard and get decent rewards.
“I’m not sitting here saying I have the answers.
“Put it this way, if you play 20 tournaments a year, you’re entitled to one bad tournament because you get 19 that count towards your ranking.
“If you’re playing in your 30s, you’re giving yourself a decent chance of having some bad weeks and also some good weeks.”