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Evans finds out practice makes perfect

By Jonathan Veal

Dan Evans has revealed how some lonely practice sessions this time last year helped fuel his desire to get back to Wimbledon.

The 29-year-old is playing at SW19 for the first time since 2016 and he marked his return in style, beating Federico Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-3 in the first round.

Evans was absent in 2017 as he was serving a drugs ban and then missed out on the main draw last year after a defeat in the final round of qualifying, having been denied a wild card.

While the rest of the tennis world was focused on the Championships, Evans was practising three miles away at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

His coach David Felgate told him that he would be back in 2019 and he has duly delivered, setting up a second-round tie with Nikoloz Basilashvili.

"I was practising every day this time last year," Evans said. "We took nothing off and practised every day at the National Tennis Centre.

"Anyone who's played Wimbledon and is not involved, or when a Grand Slam is on, it's a difficult week to practice. Your head's not there. You want to be at the tournament and nowhere else.

"It's not easy practising, especially where the tournament is.

"(Felgate) said I'd be back there. I have to give him credit for quite a lot of the last year.

"It's not easy when you're starting back from nothing.

"Like I said before, I had a lot of people who were in my corner, stuck with me. They told me I'd be back here.

"If you don't believe, it's all right for everyone else to say it, but you've got to believe that it'll happen yourself."

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