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Wimbledon 2016: Reformed bad boy Dan Evans is relishing his battle with Roger Federer

By Paul Newman

A good week for the reformed characters of British men’s tennis got even better as Dan Evans equalled his best ever performance at a Grand Slam by reaching the third round.

The 26-year-old, who had never won a match at the All England Club until this week, produced one of his best performances to beat the No. 30 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 6-4 6-1.

Evans’ prize is a meeting with Roger Federer today, 48 hours after the seven-time Wimbledon champion ended the run of his good friend Marcus Willis, another British player who admits his attitude has not always been all it could have.

“It’s going to be a great experience — hopefully an even better one than most people think,” Evans said as he looked forward to his first encounter with Federer.

“It’s going to be tough. I’m probably going to be in for some pain running around, but I’ll enjoy every minute of it.”

Evans agreed that the win over Dolgopolov, a former World No. 13, had been one of his best. Resuming at 6-6 in the first set after play had been called off the previous evening because of rain, Evans won the tie-break 7-5 after the Ukrainian double-faulted.

The Briton served well, struck the ball confidently from the back of the court and attacked the net at the appropriate moments. He went a double break up in the second set before serving out at the second attempt. He went 3-0 up in the third and closed out his victory after an hour and 58 minutes.

Evans has an even more chequered past than Willis, who as a junior was sent home from the Australian Open by the Lawn Tennis Association because of his poor attitude. Evans twice had his funding stopped by the LTA because of his off-court behaviour and lack of commitment.

“When I was younger, I don’t think I was ready to play professional tennis,” he said. “I wasn’t ready for that commitment. Now I’m enjoying it. I let people down. It was difficult, seeing them disappointed. Gradually the message got through, but it took a few knocks at the door.”

Belfast Telegraph


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