It has been a disappointing few days for British tennis, coming after a period of excitement which saw Sir Andy Murray lift the title in Dubai last week, and Johanna Konta return to fitness, ahead of Indian Wells Masters.

This tournament takes place in the desert of California and has never been a happy place for British tennis players with not one single tournament winner, man or woman.

Murray especially has never fared well in the heat of this desert tournament, having only ever reached the final once, back in 2009. Very often he has failed to get past the early stages of proceedings and in 2017 there was no difference. Murray crashed out in the second round to world number 129 Vasek Pospisil in straight sets, despite leading 4-2 in the first set.

This was a result that highlights Murray’s inconsistent form over 2017 and tells us that being world number one is not always as rosy as one would think. Additionally, his recent struggle with overcoming a bout of shingles prior to his return to action in March may mean he is not as fit as he would like to be at this stage of the season.

“A result that highlights Murray’s inconsistent form over 2017 and tells us that being world number one is not always as rosy as one would think”

Elsewhere in the men’s draw both Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans were also knocked out in the second round of the tournament. Unlike Murray, there was nothing shocking about either result as Edmund lost out to 2nd seed Novak Djokovic while Evans was defeated by world number five Kei Nishikori. Although both will have been disappointed to have gone out at an early stage, neither will be particularly concerned with their results.

On the women’s side of the draw, there was an all-British affair with Konta and Heather Watson playing against one another in the second round, which guaranteed half of the British women in the tournament to go out. As expected Konta beat Watson with relative ease in straight sets and progressed to the third round.

“So, overall it was not a very good week at all for British tennis in sunny California. However, four of the five Brits competing cannot be overly disappointed as they were knocked out to good opponents”

However, this was as far as she would go as she became just another Brit to be knocked out in the desert. Although her opponent, Caroline Garcia was the 21st seed, Konta will be disappointed to have lost the tie because she was one set up, and has been in stunning form of late. Perhaps we can see this as a return to full fitness and not be too critical after a couple of months without tennis.

So, overall it was not a very good week at all for British tennis in sunny California. However, four of the five Brits competing cannot be overly disappointed as they were knocked out to good opponents. The only performance that we can be concerned about is Murray, but as this has traditionally been a week where he underperforms, there is no need to panic just yet. Hopefully we will see a marked improvement across the board in the comings weeks, ahead of the start of the clay court season and the fast approaching French Open at the end of May.

Harry Vogt

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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