Dan Evans emerges with a lot of credit from his efforts in this truncated year… once known as the bad boy of the British game, he collected eight victories over top 20 players and ends the campaign as British No 1
- Dan Evans brought the curtain down on strange but satisfactory year on Tuesday
- The 30-year-old admitted he is still in dark about what near-term future holds
- Evans will end 2020 as the British No 1 – his ranking will be just outside the top 30
Dan Evans brought the curtain down on his strange but satisfactory year on Tuesday, and admitted he is still in the dark about what the near-term future holds.
The 30-year-old Midlander will end 2020 as the British No 1. His ranking will be just outside the top 30, injury having prevented any serious challenge from Kyle Edmund or Andy Murray, who wrapped up their seasons early.
None of them know exactly when, or in what form, they will next play tennis with plans for Australia still up in the air only six weeks before players are meant to depart.
Dan Evans brought the curtain down on his strange but satisfactory year on Tuesday
He lost 6-3, 7-6 to Stan Wawrinka in the Paris Masters but will end 2020 as the British No 1
Brit Andy Murray will not play again in 2020 despite returning to training after a pelvic issue
Great Britain could well miss out on a place in January’s ATP Cup team event, in which it made the quarter-finals back in January. It may only take place in a reduced state in 2021, or might not even occur at all.
‘I’ve heard it might be less teams, a different week, I’m not sure what’s going to happen,’ said Evans after a 6-3, 7-6 defeat by Stan Wawrinka in the Paris Masters. ‘Hopefully we are in and can play, but if not I’m sure there will be other tournaments on.’
Tennis Australia is currently negotiating with its national government about how they are going to cope with the influx of players from around the world for the Australian Open. They have already been told that a two-week quarantine period will be needed for all, and that players will have to arrive early.
Evans, once known as the bad boy of British game, emerges with a lot of credit from this year
Injury prevented any serious challenge from fellow Brits Kyle Edmund (above) and Murray
One upshot is that all tennis in January may be restricted to Melbourne, rather than having events spread around Australia. The country appears to be through the worst of the Covid-19 crisis but remains deeply wary of its dangers.
Evans emerges with a lot of credit from his efforts in this truncated year, having collected eight victories over top 20 players by punching above his diminutive stature.
For the past month he has flogged around deserted or half-empty tennis halls in Europe, living in the tour bubble. In that time he also split with coach Mark Hilton, and has lined up experienced Australian Chris Johnstone for a trial period.
He admitted that playing in front of no fans, as was the case at the huge Bercy Arena on Tuesday, can make focus difficult when road-weariness begins to set in.
Evans collected eight victories over top 20 players by punching above his diminutive stature
‘It was pretty dead on such a big court,’ he said. ‘ It probably summed up the year of 2020 for tennis, it was flat. It’s still a proper match, but today I found it difficult. It’s a different game with no fans.’
He has, though, coped admirably with the routine of restricted movement, constant testing and regular isolation.
‘Overall I’ve found it fine,’ he added. ‘I’ve struggled a bit with the travelling, going into quarantine. I don’t have a window in my room here that opens. When you arrive in the hotel, take a test and then have to go to the room for 24 hours, that’s the hardest part, but apart from that I thought the tournaments did a great job.’
His professionalism and endeavour, which saw him make the recent semi-finals in Antwerp and Vienna, has even set an example to his compatriots.
This is probably not an observation you might have made of the same player, once known as the bad boy of the British game, a few years ago.