Dan Evans embroiled in 'cheating' row as French Open takes another strange twist

Simon Briggs
·2-min read
Britain's Dan Evans in action during his first round match against Japan's Kei Nishikor - Reuters
Britain's Dan Evans in action during his first round match against Japan's Kei Nishikor - Reuters

In the latest dramatic twist of this dystopian French Open, British No1 Dan Evans became embroiled in a cheating row during what had promised to be a low-key doubles match.

Running on until almost 11pm on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Evans’s encounter with Matwe Middelkoop and Marcelo Demoliner turned nasty when Middelkoop accused him of taking the ball on his body rather than his racket – which should, if true, have given the point to his opponents at once.

As the players moved to their chairs late in the deciding set, Middelkoop remonstrated with Evans from a safe distance. At this point, Evans leapt up, and had to be restrained from a physical confrontation by umpire Arnaud Gabas, who had moved smartly out of his chair.

Middlekoop could be heard saying “You’re behaving like a child. It’s ridiculous. I did nothing to you. I’m just asking why you screamed in my face, that’s all.”

When the match resumed, Evans and his Polish partner Hubert Hurkacz managed to complete victory by a 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 margin. Afterwards, Evans explained that “They accused me of the ball hitting me when I hit it back. I didn't think the ball had hit me. Then he wouldn't trust me on a call. I would say I am pretty fair.

“That is as good as calling me a cheat which is disgusting and I won't let that go and that is why I told him. Some of these guys seem to be happy to give it out but don't like it when it comes back their way. And I have no issues doing that. I was pretty angry. It is okay. He [Middelkoop] has plenty of time to think about it. It is a few more weeks before he plays again. Poor kid. See ya.”

Earlier, American teen sensation Coco Gauff had been eliminated by Italy’s world No159 Martina Trevisan after a performance scarred by 19 double-faults. Gauff, who knocked out British No1 Johanna Konta in the first round, made the early running but then lost momentum as her recently rebuilt service action buckled under pressure.

“The important thing today [was] that I came in the court without thinking that I had to play with Coco Gauff,” said Trevisan after her 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. “Because everybody know that [she] is the most, the best young player in the world.”