A big crowd in lighthearted mood enjoyed the final day of action in Rouen’s Kindarena, with Britain’s Dan Evans beating Julien Benneteau 6-1, 6-2 despite the Frenchman being joined on court at one point by Nicolas Mahut and team captain Yannick Noah
The big difference in our nation compared to the big hitters is someone like France who have 19 in the top 200
When Evans took a 4-1 first set lead, Noah light-heartedly tried to trip him up as the players changed ends. Evans entered into the spirit of the occasion, aiming a friendly kick at the 1983 French Open Champion.
The second of the day’s dead rubbers saw France’s Jeremy Chardy take on Britain’s Kyle Edmund. The British player led 4-1 in the second set only to see his opponent reel off five straight games and take the match 6-4, 6-4.
Commenting on the weekend, captain Leon Smith had plenty to reflect on as he told sportinglife.com. "The big difference in our nation compared to the big hitters is someone like France who have 19 in the top 200," he said.
"We’ve got four in the top 100 and then that’s it. This is a great team but it would be nice to have players who are joining these guys on tour, sitting around 75, even 125, 150.
"It just means you’ve got more of a conveyor belt coming through. Do I think it’s round the corner? Maybe with a couple of them but there’s certainly not a conveyor belt.
"That’s something that continually needs addressing. Is it down to performance teams, our club culture? You can keep going, it’s an endless debate. But the bottom line is it would be nice to have more depth."
Overall the weekend was an enjoyable one, with excellent support for both teams and rival fans exchanging friendly banter in the Kindarena and in the cafes and bars of this delightful historic city. The true spirit of the Davis Cup was on display here.