British history was written at the US Open Friday, when Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans teamed up with Andy Murray and Jack Draper to take four men to round three for the first time since professional tennis began.
Not since 1933, when the tournament was known as the United States National Championship and was played by fewer players from far fewer countries, did Britain have four men to last 32 in New York.
It is also only the second time in the open era that four British men have
has reached the third round in any Grand Slam since Wimbledon 25 years ago.
Norrie and Evans are both seeded, so they were expected to come out against Joao Sousa and James Duckworth respectively.
Norrie rarely misses these games these days, and although he had to save a set point in the third, he was a relatively comfortable 6-4 6-4 7-6 (4) winner over Portuguese Sousa.
Evans seemed to be cruising against Australian Duckworth at two sets before things got a little complicated, but the 20th seeded back from a failure in the fourth set by winning 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 , running towards the net with joy.
Another historic moment will come after the tournament when Draper joins Norrie, Evans and Murray in realizing for the first time since the leaderboard was made official in 1973 that there are four British men in the top 50.
The 20-year-old started the season off 250, but has climbed at a phenomenal pace and gave the most exciting demonstration of his potential by beating sixth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime in two sets on Wednesday.
He’s reaping the rewards of having more experienced players to learn from and watch from, and said, “I think I’ve known my tennis skills have been good for a long time now.
“Obviously I had the privilege of playing with Andy, Cam, Dan. They are the best players in their own right. I know I could hold out with them a while ago.
“It’s more about how I’m going to cope mentally and physically at this level and do it consistently. That’s what high-level tennis is, being able to be present in every single point, competing with these guys.
“This is really crazy. My goal at the beginning of the year was two things: stay injury-free and try to get over the top 100. Now I’ll be in the top 50.
“Obviously I’m very proud of myself. It is a beautiful thing for all my hard work that I have done on a daily basis with the people who care and support me. Hopefully forward and upward from here “.
Draper is now clearly a danger to everyone in the draw and will love his chances of another upheaval when he faces 27th seeded Karen Khachanov on Friday.
Murray, meanwhile, faces a family rival in last year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini, who has lost twice on grass in the past two seasons.
The two are regular training partners and fight together before the tournament. Berrettini was impressed by Murray, saying: “I can say that the level is really high. He was playing well.
“Physically he is fine. Obviously it is a different surface. We played on the grass. Here it is completely different. But it does not matter. When you play Andy Murray, you play Andy Murray. You have to play your best tennis. “
A fixture on the sidelines this week watching British players, as in any slam, has been Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, and the Scotsman has a tough decision to make when it comes to naming his final team for the stage. group finals in Glasgow later this month.
Smith has already picked Norrie, Evans, Murray and world doubles number one Joe Salisbury and has only one space left, which appears to be between Draper and fit doubles specialist Neal Skupski.
“It will be difficult,” Evans said. “But that’s why Leon gets paid a lot of money. But it’s an incredible problem to have. “