BOTB: Dan Evans claims Battle of the Brits title, Murray turns to coach mode

Dan Evans has beaten Kyle Edmund in the final of the Battle of the Brits. Andy Murray coached court-side as James Ward replaced him in the third and fourth playoff. Read more as I recap the final day and how the event should look to be replicated by forthcoming tournaments.

The Battle of the Brits is officially complete. After six days of grueling tennis in hot indoor conditions at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, bragging rights have been secured by Dan Evans in the singles and Team Soul of Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski in the doubles.

What happened in the final?

Dan Evans finished off his magnificent Battle of the Brits by comfortably seeing off 25 year old Edmund 6-3 6-2.

Evans was able to withstand and absorb the mighty forehand of Edmund extremely well. The key to his victory was his superb movement to the ball and after the shot was taken to recover in time for the next.

By the end of the match, Edmund had no other option but to unleash on both sides. Evans consistently came up with the answers to complete the one sided final.

Looking ahead to US hard-court swing

This week’s winning run sets Evans up for the next stage in the return to tennis. The world number #28 plans to compete in the United States, starting in Washington and ending in New York at the US Open. With as high a ranking as Evans has, he has the luxury of secure main draw appearances to come in the USA.

Most players will go into these tournaments without any competitive matches under their belt since the lockdown period. The Brits who have played this week will therefore feel they have an edge entering into the hard-court swing.

3/4 play-off: Norrie def. Ward 6-3 7-5

Norrie finished off his Battle of the Brits in style. The British No.3 was seen up at the net more than usual in this encounter which indicated the confidence he was playing with.

James Ward stepped in to replace Murray to face Norrie. In return, Murray took to court-side to help coach Ward. To have the experience of a champion like Murray in your corner is priceless. Unfortunately for Ward, it wasn’t quite enough to get him over the line, but there is no doubt that it will have helped him in the long run.

Andy Murray’s switch to coaching

Murray had to withdraw from the third and fourth playoff because of an issue with his shins he had been feeling in recent matches. He made the decision in light of the busy schedule of tournaments ahead in America and the importance of looking after his body.

Murray coaches at the Battle of the Brits

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 28: Andy Murray coaches James Ward in his third place play-off match against Cameron Norrie during day 6 of Schroders Battle of the Brits at National Tennis Centre on June 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Battle Of The Brits)

Seeing Murray in the coaching position rather than playing might have been a glimpse of the future. Murray is yet to disclose what he plans to do when he does eventually decide to retire, but with the career he has had, it is easy to see him entering the coaching profession.

A superbly organized tournament by Jamie Murray

Now, as we draw an end to the Battle of the Brits, we can safely say it has been a great success in what is a difficult time to hold a professional sporting event. As we have seen with the Adria Tour, it is all too easy to get it wrong.

Tournament organiser Jamie Murray has done a great job ensuring all the health and safety guidelines were met while also making sure tribute was paid to the Black Lives Matter movement happening all around the world.

Battle of the Brits kneel

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 24: The players and umpire take a knee in solidarity with the BLM movement, ahead of the Liam Broady & Cameron Norrie vs Dan Evans & Lloyd Glasspool doubles match on day 2 of Schroders Battle of the Brits at the National Tennis Centre on June 24, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Battle Of The Brits)

Before each and every match, the players and umpires would take a knee to show their support of the movement.

It doesn’t stop there for the wider support the Schroders Battle of the Brits has given.

The event is donating a minimum of £100,000 to NHS charities. The NHS has been the driving force is helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus and in saving countless lives. An auction has also been launched, selling all sorts of signed goods from the players’ wardrobes. All the money raised will be added on to the amount given to the NHS charities.

This excellent work by the Battle of the Brits poses the question as to whether tournaments in months and years to come should do more to raise money for worthy charities like these.

We will forever be in debt to those of our community who have worked tirelessly to help save lives during the coronavirus. Professional tournaments have the opportunity to repay some of this debt, so it is now up to them to follow in the footsteps of Jamie Murray and his Battle of the Brits.