Dan Evans is back on the circuit to the delight of most British tennis fans. The 28-year-old is a tremendous talent and one of only three active Brits to feature in the ATP top 50 at some point in their career (along with Kyle Edmund and Andy Murray).
This creates a difficult conundrum to crack for the British grass court events because Evans is back from a 12-month suspension after testing positive for cocaine. Should the world #530 be getting wild cards? I caught up with Dan Evans last week during the Surbiton Challenger and he opened up about the whole situation.
“I can’t expect to be back and start asking for wild cards,” Evans said, “There’s so much more than tennis to a wild card. You’ve got to set an example to young kids.” Does inviting a player who got banned set a good example? However, the 28-year-old knows there are two sides to every story.
“But then there’s the other side of it; is there that many people who can take a wild card? Probably not.” At the moment, it looks like only Jay Clarke and Liam Broady will be receiving wild cards into Wimbledon; perhaps they will give one to Davis Cup hero James Ward, is who has had a torrid time with injuries the past few years.
Dan Evans does not deny the fact he wants to be in these events, but he also knows the LTA goes much deeper than that, “Of course I want the wild cards, but I think there’s a massive entitlement factor in British Tennis.”
In 2016, Maria Sharapova was banned for taking a performance enhancing substance and was given multiple wild cards on her return to the sport, including one into the US Open of last year. Evans was aware of this but said, “every situation is a lot different.”
The world #530 also knows that Wimbledon is a lot different than the US Open: Sharapova was not offered a wild card into SW19 despite being a former champion. “Wimbledon is one of the most prestigious clubs in any sport, we’ll see what happens.”
Despite all of the technicalities, Evans knows how talented he is and has no problem if he does not get the wild card, “I’m good enough to go through qualifying and I’m good enough to go through pre-qualifying.” If the 28-year-old is placed in the qualifying draw then he will be a massive favourite to find a way through.
When asked about when he would find out about a wild card Evans replied, “No clue, that’s from the bodies above. I don’t know when they’ll tell anyone.” Amidst the drama circulating this situation, Dan Evans knows his behaviour does not warrant a wild card.
“As a person, I shouldn’t get the wild card for what I did,” the British #12 said, “I’m not going to sit here and think I should have a wildcard because I did something that was stupid and not professional in any way.”
“IF I DON’T PLAY WIMBLEDON THIS YEAR IT’S MY OWN FAULT, NO ONE ELSE’S.”
Regardless of what people think, Evans is being very humble and honest about this whole scenario. He is currently competing in Nottingham but has no idea where he will play in the following weeks. “It’s up in the air after Nottingham,” Evans said.
“I could play Ilkley and then not play the Wimbledon wild card playoff, and then play Eastbourne after that.” If the British #12 does not receive a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw or qualifying, then he will not be at the 2018 Championships, “I could take Wimbledon off just for this year.”
Although it is a very awkward time of the year for the Brit, he is able to draw out positives, “It’s great there are so many tournament and options.” It must be fantastic for the 28-year-old who has not had to make any schedule-related decisions for the last year.
We all know that the world #530 made a massive mistake last year but we must also remember how much Evans has done for British Tennis. If he has not won his deciding fifth rubber against Russia back in 2013, then Great Britain would have never won the Davis Cup. At the end of the day, Queen’s Club and Wimbledon are faced with a sticky situation: whether or not to give Dan Evans a wild card.