Jamie Murray labelled Dan Evans “ill-informed and dumb” as the war of words about the profile of doubles within the British game intensified.
Murray sparked raised eyebrows at the Lawn Tennis Association when he accused the governing body of not promoting the success of doubles enough and undervaluing his coach, Louis Cayer.
That prompted Evans to fire back, saying: “Jamie thinks we should be celebrating six pairs inside the main draw of a grand slam. So we are celebrating people who didn’t make it at singles and people who didn’t have the attitude to work hard enough to make it in the singles game?
“I like the doubles guys and they’ve done well, but to think we should celebrate this so the kids growing up look up to this as a huge achievement is completely wrong. Kids want to be in the second round of main draw singles events not doubles.”
After reaching the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles at the Australian Open, Murray did not hold back in his response, claiming Evans, who is working his way back up the rankings after a one-year suspension for cocaine use, has “made a hash of his career”.
“For me, these are lazy comments to make,” he said. “It is ill-informed and dumb really. Also, to question the reason that we are on the doubles tour is because we don’t work as hard as the singles guys is just total nonsense.
“I’ve been playing the tour since 2007, travelling the world, working my ass off to stay at the top of the game and make a living for myself.
“To come from someone who really hasn’t applied himself as much as he should, and really he has made a hash of his career with his decision-making and stuff. To come out with those sort of comments is just ignorant I think. For me, it’s really disappointing.
“Of course, when people start playing, they want to be singles players because, if you look at the prize money and the glory and stuff, that’s where it is. I’m playing on a tour where 80 per cent of the prize money goes to the singles. At the grand slams it’s even more.
“So we’ve got a much smaller slice of the pie, but I still manage to make a good living playing tennis. Let’s be honest, a lot better living than what Dan has done in his career. If he does something that’s noteworthy and deserves recognition then absolutely he should get it, along with anybody else that’s got a GBR next to their name.”
With the pair in the team, the row is a potential problem for Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, although Britain do not play until November.