Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Take a look at the results in British men’s tennis this week for an indicator of where the level of the game is currently at in this country.  It provides a more realistic view than solely judging it by results on the first two days of Wimbledon.

Jamie Baker’s first-round win in Bath today is just one of two Challenger singles main draw wins by British players so far in 2012 – the other was Alex Bogdanovic’s first-round victory in Dallas last month.

Three of the other four Brits in the main draw - 18-year-old wild card Liam Broady plays tomorrow - failed to win a set in their first-round matches.

In qualifying for Bath, which is one of four Challenger events to be held in the UK this year, just one Brit out of 18 reached the final qualifying round – Ed Corrie who failed to make it to the main draw.

To be fair to James Ward and Dan Evans, it was a tough task for the Davis Cup teammates to come through Miami Masters qualifying, which is a draw with effectively the same standard as a high-level Challenger. 

Ward had a good win over Andrey Golubev but failed to get past Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the final qualifying round, while Evans lost his first match to Bjorn Phau.

I am certainly not slating the British players.  If you look at the individual match-ups, many of their opponents were favourites by form and ranking.   I am just looking at the bigger picture.

Ward is actually the only Brit to have won a Challenger - two in Lexington and Vancouver last year - since Bogdanovic was the champion in Kolding, Denmark in October 2009.

The future admittedly does look brighter at junior level, but we will not be seeing any more British men joining Andy Murray in the top 100 until this barrier at Challenger level is overcome.

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