Yesterday, the prospect of two British competitors in the Stockholm Open semi-finals was scrapped. Sadly for fans of Andy Murray and Dan Evans, they could not progress to the final four of the competition as both were knocked out.
The first defeat came from Murray, who lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to Tommy Paul. Before their match, Murray was tipped to win the Open after defeating top-seed Jannik Sinner in the previous round.
There was further heartbreak for the British as Dan Evans then went on to lose to Frances Tiafoe 1-6, 6-1, 6-1. Despite a strong start by Evans, he eventually faltered as the match dragged on. This saw both Brits lose to American practitioners.
Although Evans did not start off as the favourite in his fixture, the surprise is greater for Murray. It will not help as he continues to try to prove his critics wrong.
Following Andy’s win against Sinner in the previous round, he said “the argument is finished” as to whether he could still compete at the elite level.
However, after his loss to Paul, those question marks will continue to be raised. Of course, a top-8 finish isn’t particularly bad, but it’s still off the pace compared to Murray’s level during his prime.
A loss mars an otherwise good year for Dan Evans
For Dan Evans though, expectations are a little different. His previous two ATP events saw him lose on the first day, so a quarterfinal finish isn’t bad in that respect.
Furthermore, it can be seen as a pretty good year for Evans as it’s also been his highest in terms of earnings. Throughout 2021, Evans has made over $1 million in prize money. This is a significant turnaround compared to his days of getting banned due to cocaine use.
Overall though, the Stockholm Open was still tinted with a bit of disappointment for the British duo and many fans would have liked to see them go further in the tournament, and potentially even face-off against each other.
Thankfully though, the pair will be meeting in Scotland in December in ‘The Battle of the Brits’ which is hosted by Andy Murray’s brother, Jamie. This competition may not be as competitive as an ATP event, but it will still be nice for tennis fans.
Lastly, without sounding too dramatic, yesterday’s results also raise more questions about the future of men’s British tennis. Whilst Emma Radacanu may be doing well for the women, the era of having a potential top male Brit may be coming to a close.
Hopefully, this isn’t the case and either Murray or Evans can have a strong start to 2022 and put the disappointment of the Stockholm Open behind them.
Read more: Why does Andy Murray tie his wedding ring to his tennis shoes and how did he manage to lose it?