Opening day at Roland Garros was bleak for British tennis.
Johanna Konta, the 2019 French Open semifinalist, was swept out of the tournament by Coco Gauff, who won 6-3, 6-3 despite 12 double faults.
Former world No. 1 Andy Murray was swept by Stan Wawrinka in the first opening-round Roland Garros match between Grand Slam champions since Yevgeny Kafelnikov topped Michael Chang in 1999.
The No. 32-seeded Evans lost to 35th-ranked Kei Nishikori in a five-set battle despite the Briton winning two sets by 6-1 scores.
Afterward, Evans called the cold, breezy, biting conditions “brutal” and ripped the tournament’s new Wilson balls as inadequate for dogs to use as chew toys let alone players use in a Grand Slam match.
“Yeah, it’s difficult, isn’t it? It was cold,” Evans said. “Some of those balls we were using you wouldn’t give to a dog to chew. I mean, listen, it is what it is.”
Evans echoed 12-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal, who says the new balls, which replaced the previous Babolat balls, are too heavy and not right for clay-court tennis.
“It’s brutal. It’s so cold,” Evans said. “I think the balls are the biggest thing. Maybe they got it alittle wrong with the balls. It’s tough to get that ball to goanywhere. It’s in what month, September, October? That ball’s a bit too heavy, I think.”
It was Evans’ third opening-round exit in Paris in as many appearances and comes after second-round departures at the Austalian Open and US Open this season leaving him longing for indoor season.
“They’ve been pretty poor if we’re being totally honest,” Evans said of his Grand Slam results. “I’m going to play obviously St.Petersburg, Vienna and Paris, then wrap it up, yeah “
Photo credit: CitiOpen Facebook