In the latest edition of Players’ Voice, British No.1 Dan Evans reflects on his season so far, his comeback since 2018, and his excitement of playing back on home soil for the UK grass court season…
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2021 has been pretty fun for me so far. I’ve been playing well and have really enjoyed the challenge of putting my game and style on the court, so all in all it’s been great to be out there.
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Monte-Carlo was massive for me and although I’m not one to really pick defining moments, that - along with the ATP Cup - has got to be up there as one of my career highlights. I had a great run and won some big matches against some big names there. To make the semis was very satisfying but you always want to do better and hopefully we can go even further at the next few tournaments.

Dan Evans defeats Novak Djokovic

Image credit: Eurosport

Back in 2017 when I had the year off, it would have been difficult to believe that I would be back beating the world No.1 on clay four years later. But actually it’s just a reminder that nothing is ever as bad as it seems and more often than not, you always come out the other end. Obviously it involved putting quite a lot of hard work in, so that’s what makes results like in Monte-Carlo even more rewarding.
At the time though, you don't obviously know what’s going to happen in the future so it was difficult being away from the Tour for so long. The one saving grace is that it probably made me appreciate the game even more, but it was tough. I remember just having to maintain the belief that I could come back and play at the level I knew I was capable of.
When I returned to the Tour in 2018, it took some time to get back up and running, but I think the time off motivated me to keep moving forward and it pushed me to get some good wins under my belt. I’ve had some strong results since then so I really hope I can carry on and keep winning for as long as I can.

Dan Evans

Image credit: Eurosport

A year or so later in 2019, I became men’s British No.1 which is a pretty prestigious position to be in when you look at the other players who have held that spot over the years. I guess if anyone takes anything from my story, it would be that things can turn around; you can do some really great things if you keep working hard, and put your mind and all your effort into it. So that’s what I hope other Brits - whether they’re youngsters starting out or juniors looking to make it pro - can believe: just focus on giving your all and it will all be worth it in the end.
I’d love to see more Brits coming through and playing at the tournaments. We’ve got a good group right now but it would be great to celebrate more British success. For the guys of us who are on Tour, we’re all pretty good at keeping in touch and we have a WhatsApp group which has some pretty good chat - everybody sends encouragement and says well done when someone achieves some good results.
Hopefully we will have plenty of that during the next few weeks as we get stuck into the UK grass court season. To be able to play in front of fans - and home fans - is really exciting for all of us and I just hope that everyone comes out and enjoys it! It feels like a celebration because we’ve finally got sport back - I’ve watched some of the football and it seems like everybody is just really loving it.
Returning to Queen’s in particular is something that I’m really looking forward to, it has an amazing centre court and hopefully us Brits can get some good wins and show the crowd and everyone following in some way, what it’s like to have live tennis back.
Then it will be Wimbledon which will feel different because of the restrictions in place, but it will be special to play there in front of fans once more. A few weeks ago, I actually went to Wimbledon for tea with one of my friends and it was great to be back there. I’m sure the tournament organisers will do the best job they possibly can to make it a great tournament like it always is.
Beyond that, there are a lot of events to keep us busy until the end of the year. I really look forward to the whole calendar but the Davis Cup is a big thing for me and I’m excited to compete in it again after it was cancelled in 2020. I really enjoy those weeks away with the team and hopefully we can do well like last time in Madrid.

Dan Evans

Image credit: Eurosport

I’m also really looking forward to the Battle of the Brits in December. It’s in Scotland - England vs Scotland - and it should be pretty exciting! I’m intrigued to see how some of the guys react to six thousand Scots mostly shouting at them, so it’s going to be good fun and a great way to end the year.

Dan Evans

Image credit: Eurosport

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