New balls please: British ace says he 'wouldn’t give French Open balls to a dog' as he becomes latest star to savage tournament
Britain’s Dan Evans became the latest player to slam the French Open’s new balls following his first-round defeat to Kei Nishikori at Roland Garros on Sunday, suggesting he wouldn’t even let a dog chew on them.
The balls at this year’s event are being provided by Wilson, who sponsor Evans, after the French Open ended their partnership with Babolat last year.
Evans was beaten in five sets by Nishikori on the clay courts in Paris and joined the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in criticizing the balls.
“Some of those balls we were using you wouldn't give to a dog to chew,” he said.
“It's brutal. It's so cold. I think the balls are the biggest thing.
“Maybe they got it a little wrong with the balls. It's tough to get that ball to go anywhere. That ball's a bit too heavy, I think.”
Some fans agreed with Evans on Twitter.
One wrote that “the ball sounds heavy and dull coming off the players’ rackets,” while another asked “what kind of trash balls did Wilson turn out for this tournament?”
Others felt Evans might have had a different take had he come out on top against Nishikori.
“But what if he won?” asked one Twitter user, while another accused Evans of making “excuses” and branded him “pathetic.”
However, the 30-year-old isn’t the only player who preferred the balls supplied by Babolat, who had provided them at the Grand Slam since 2011.
Prior to the tournament, 12-time French Open winner Nadal said “it’s not a good ball to play on clay” and that it’s “super heavy,” making it “dangerous for the elbow and for the shoulders.”
World no. 1 Djokovic also agreed with Nadal about the balls being heavy, although he questioned whether the cold conditions are more to blame.
The Grand Slam typically begins in May but was postponed until late September amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sunday, Victoria Azarenka and her opponent Danka Kovinic temporarily walked out on their match at the French capital, complaining at the “completely ridiculous” temperature and wet and windy conditions.