Great Britain v Russia – Davis Cup: Dan Evans and James Ward both lose singles matches in five sets

Britain's Davis Cup hopes in tatters after two five-set defeats… and rebel Evans admits he doesn't try hard enough

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

18:17 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 5 April 2013

Great Britain's Davis Cup hopes are close to being extinguished for another year after two epic near-misses against Russia on Friday and a disarming admission from No 2 player Dan Evans.

Having come so close to producing another heroic performance for GB, the 22 year-old did not hold back on why his ranking remains so stubbornly low, conceding that he simply does not put enough effort into his tennis.

He played far above his world ranking of 325 to push world number 67 Dmitri Tursunov desperately close before succumbing 6-4 6-7 6-4 5-7 6-4 in just under four hours, and later was blunt about his stalling career.

Dejection: Great Britain's Dan Evans lost in five sets to Dmitry Tursunov

Dejection: Great Britain's Dan Evans lost in five sets to Dmitry Tursunov

Marathon: Russian Tursunov prevailed in just under four hours in Coventry

Marathon: Russian Tursunov prevailed in just under four hours in Coventry

'It's because I don't train hard
enough and don't work hard enough day in and day out. I know that's the
reason. I'm obviously pretty bad at my job,' he said, amid various moans
about the costs associated with playing the tour, and an admission that
he gets 'distracted' at more obscure events.

'There are other things in life. I'm from a pretty working class background and I just go out. It's nobody else's fault.'

His defeat was compounded by James
Ward going down 4-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 8-6 to world No 80 Evgeny Donskoy. Both
matches were far closer than rankings predicted but ultimately only a
win in Saturday's doubles will keep Euro/Africa Zone tie at Coventry's
Ricoh Arena alive.

Try harder: Evans, who was called up to the squad at late notice, admits he doesn't work hard enough

Try harder: Evans, who was called up to the squad at late notice, admits he doesn't work hard enough

In the absence of Andy Murray, British
captain Leon Smith originally picked national No 3 Jamie Baker for this
tie, only to dump him on Wednesday evening for the errant 22 year-old
Evans, source of so much frustration for a variety of British coaches
over the years.

Yet when Evans gets in front of a
crowd and, crucially, has the guidance of Smith at every changeover, he
is transformed into someone in the tradition of Tim Henman, an elegant
all-court player with wonderful touch at the net. You hope one day he
will get his kicks from winning.

While some in the British game felt
that picking Evans, who has been stuck in a constant revolving door in
and out of official LTA training programmes for years due to his
questionable commitment, sent the wrong messages out to other players it
was clear why Smith took the gamble – and it nearly paid off.

Blown: James Ward let a two-set lead slip in his defeat to Evgeny Donskoy

Blown: James Ward let a two-set lead slip in his defeat to Evgeny Donskoy

Blown: James Ward let a two-set lead slip in his defeat to Evgeny Donskoy

Big-serving Tursunov won the first
set with relative ease but Evans took the next 7-5 in the tie-break and
levelled for 2-2 when he snuck in a late break.

Ultimately his lack of a single big
shot to gain cheap points hurt him, as did a tendency to throw in
untimely double faults. An anxious Tursunov finally asserted his class
to serve it out once he had made the key break for 4-2 in the decider.

Against the highly-rated but initially
nervous Donskoy, world No 214 Ward led 2-0 in the third set but could
not sustain his early level of serving and consistent depth, losing
after being broken at 6-6 in the decider.

Joy: Russia celebrate a perfect first day as they took a 2-0 lead

Joy: Russia celebrate a perfect first day as they took a 2-0 lead