Dan Evans issues apology to Andy Murray after defeat at Australian Open ends British hopes

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British No 2 Dan Evans issued a tongue-in-cheek apology to Andy Murray after crashing out of the Australian Open on Saturday. Evans was the last remaining Brit in the women’s or men’s singles draw, although his third round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime proved a tough assignment. 

Evans’ tournament started on a positive note when he saw off David Goffin in straight sets. 

The Belgian has tumbled down the world rankings in recent years, but as a former quarter-finalist at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open, it was still a solid scalp. 

A second round walkover then made Evans the only Brit, male or female, in the third round after Emma Raducanu and Murray were knocked out. 

But facing ninth seed Auger-Aliassime was always going to be a tough ask, and the Canadian saw off Evans 6-4 6-1 6-1. 

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Murray and Joe Salisbury came out to show their support from the stands after the former was knocked out on Thursday. 

And after seeing his 2022 Melbourne hopes crumble, Evans still found time for a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour. 

“It’s a nice gesture that they came out,” he said.

“They’re probably regretting wasting two hours of their time now, and they will probably let me know!”

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Despite his three Grand Slam titles, Murray may be in no position to give Evans a light-hearted earful after losing to world No 120 Taro Daniel in the second round. 

A five-set epic against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round seemed to have taken its toll on the Scot, who has battled through hip trouble for the past few years of his career. 

His poor Melbourne result prompted fresh retirement fears, with Murray claiming that he needs to see improved performances in Grand Slams if he is to retain the motivation to keep playing. 

“Yeah [I’ll return to the Australian Open], but not if I do what I did tonight too often this season,” he said

“I’m not sure I’ve lost a match to someone ranked outside 100 before in a slam.

“So from that respect it’s not a great loss for me.

“If I lose in the second round of a slam to [Novak] Djokovic in five sets or something, it’s a different situation.”

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