Who is Dan Evans, the wildcard who stunned the US Open?
Talented British tennis player looks to shed unprofessional image and break into top 100
Dan Evans, Britain's No 3 tennis player who currently ranks at 179 in the world, produced a magnificent display to topple the 11th seed, Kei Nishikori, in the first round of the US Open. At 23, Evans is finally delivering on his undoubted potential. But who is this little-known Brummie and why is it taking him so long to break into the world's elite group of players?
Here are five key questions about the emerging star of British tennis:
Where does he come from?
Not your typical British tennis player, Eurosport notes that Evans has what he himself calls a "working class background", which sets him apart from other British players like Tim Henman. Evans comes from a large family in Birmingham and is the son of an electrician and a nurse. His ATP tour profile lists his hobbies as golf, pool and going to the cinema.
What kind of tennis player is he?
A player with unquestionable ability, Evans is seen as one of the most naturally gifted talents to hail from these isles in recent times. According to the Daily Mail he is "short for a modern player" but in possession of "quick hands and a maverick attitude that might yet serve him well". His favourite surface is clay and the Daily Telegraph fancies him as "something of a Davis Cup expert".
Why is he only breaking through now?
Despite his talent it is only this year that Evans has started to compete for a place in the world's top 100. He was ranked 360 at the beginning of this year but a string of impressive victories over established players like Dmitry Tursunov and now Kei Nishikori has elevated him to within touching distance of the elite. Andy Murray had played in two grand slam finals and reached No 2 in the world by the time he was Evans's age. When asked by The Telegraph why he struggled to deliver, Evans said: "It's because I don't train hard enough... I just don't do it. I'm obviously pretty bad at my job."
Does he have a commitment problem?
Not any more it seems. Eurosport suggests that Evans has realised "it is now or never if he is going to make a living out of the game". Their tennis expert Simon Reed says: "Evans is enjoying winning tennis matches more than he enjoys going out partying, and that's a recent change." The LTA have twice pulled the player's funding after he showed a lack of commitment to his training, which put stress on his relationship with his dad. Evans told The Independent: "We had some heated arguments... He wasn't happy with what I was doing... he said he would help me if I would concentrate. I'm grateful for that."
Will he be able to challenge Andy Murray?
An LTA 'boot camp' in the south of England has helped get Evans firing on all cylinders. But to reach Murray's level Evans will have to work even harder. Former British No 1 Jeremy Bates told the Birmingham Mail: "You have to sacrifice your family, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, all of those things. Tennis doesn't offer you any respite. If you want to play the Australian Open [in January] you have to leave before Christmas." ·