Player’s Voice With Dan Evans: “Nothing Is As Bad As It Looks”

In the latest edition of Players’ Voice, the British No. 1 looks at the start of the season, his return on the court since 2018, and his enthusiasm for playing at home for the British Grass season…

2021 has been a lot of fun for me so far. I played well and really enjoyed the challenge of setting my game and my style on the pitch. Overall, it’s amazing how much I have achieved so far.

Monte Carlo was huge for me. Although I am not the type to pick the deciding moments, this tournament along with the ATP Cup must be one of the strongest moments of my career. I had an excellent course and won big games against big names there (note, if Evans stood out except Novak Djokovic, he also took out David Goffin and Hubert Herkaz). It was very satisfying to reach the semi-finals, but you always want to do better and I hope I can go further in the next tournament.

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In 2017, when I had this “rest” year, it was hard not to believe that I would be back in the foreground after beating the world No. 1, and four years later on clay too. Really, it’s just a reminder to let us know that nothing is as bad as it looks and more often than not you still don’t get to see the end of the tunnel. Obviously, a lot of hard work went into all of this. This is what makes Monte Carlo results even more rewarding.

Yet at the time, I clearly didn’t know what was going to happen in the future. It was very difficult to stay off the track for so long. The only good thing is that it probably made me enjoy the game even more, but it was difficult. I just remember having the belief that I could come back and play at the level I knew I was capable of.

When I got back on the circuit in 2018, it took me a while to get back on my feet, but I think the free time inspired me, helped me move forward and got good wins. I’ve had good results since then so I really hope I can keep going and keep winning for as long as possible.

Felix Auger-Aliassim winner Dan celebrates his first ATP Tour title in Melbourne

credit: Eurosport

Almost a year later, in 2019, I became the UK’s No. 1 male. It’s a very coveted position when you look at the other players who have held that rank over the years. I think if there is anything to take away from my story, it would be that things could change. You can do some really cool things if you work hard and put your mind and all your effort into it. I hope other Brits can believe it, whether they are young beginners or those looking to become junior pro. Just focus on giving it your all and it will be worth it in the end.

I would love to see more Britons come and play in the tournament. We have a good group at the moment, but it would be great to celebrate more British successes. For some of us who are on tour, we are all very good at keeping in touch and we have a WhatsApp group where we have some good chats. When someone does well everyone sends encouragement and congratulations.

Hopefully we will have a lot of them in the next few weeks, especially as we enter the grass season which is going to be played mainly in the UK. Being able to play in front of fans and even at home is really exciting for all of us and I hope everyone enjoys it! It feels like a celebration because we’ve finally “got the game”. I watched football and everyone looked very happy.

Coming back to Queens in particular is something I am really looking forward to. There is an amazing center court and I hope we Brits can get some good wins and show the crowd and everyone who is following us in one way or another how happy they are.

Then there will be Wimbledon. It will be very different from what we are used to seeing due to sanitary restrictions, but it will be special to play it again in front of fans. A few weeks ago I went to Wimbledon for tea with a friend and it was great to be back there. I am sure that the organizers of the tournament will try their best to make it a great tournament as it has always been.

There are plenty of events beyond the grass season to keep us busy through the end of the year. I am really looking forward to the whole event but Davis Cup is a really important thing for me and I am happy to be a part of it again in 2020 after its cancellation. I really enjoy these weeks with the team and I hope we can do as well last time in Madrid.

Dan Evans celebrates victory over Jan-Lenard Struff that sends Great Britain to Davis Cup 2020 semi-final

credit: Eurosport

I also look forward to the Battle of the Brits in December (editor’s note, a tournament launched last year during imprisonment and which brings together the best players in the United Kingdom). It’s in Scotland this year. England vs Scotland, it must be exciting enough! I look forward to seeing how some people are going to react to the shouting at 6,000 Scots so it will be a lot of fun and a great way to end the year.

Dan cheering for his team in the second fight of the Brits in 2020

credit: Eurosport

Follow Danielle Evans on Instagram (@danevo.official).

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