Dan Evans, once regarded as the ‘bad boy of British tennis’, tells The Tennis Space that some of the stories about his past misbehaviour and pre-match nightclubbing were “complete rubbish”.
Evans, who won a decisive fifth rubber for Great Britain’s Davis Cup team at last weekend’s zonal tie against Slovakia, once had his funding from the Lawn Tennis Association suspended after he was seen at a party the night before a doubles match at Wimbledon. But, in an interview at the National Tennis Centre, Evans suggests that other players were telling tales about him, and that it was a “tricky” time: “There would have been plenty of other players, I’m sure, who would have been talking about me and giving their opinion.”
You have been described as the bad boy of British tennis. How did that feel?
“It was tricky at the time. I was going out and stuff, but it’s obviously not very nice, hearing stuff about yourself. Half of it was true but some of it was completely blown out of proportion. People said I was out until five in the morning the night before I was playing at Wimbledon. It was complete rubbish, half of it. There were a lot of people who were saying that about me, as well. There would have been plenty of other players, I’m sure, who would have been talking about me and giving their opinion.”
Did you ever think about stopping playing?
“Yeah, I was wasting people’s time, and I was wasting people’s money, a lot of money as well. I was messing around. I didn’t think it was fair on other people for me to carry on playing. I was doing the wrong things.”
You said that you were a boy when you played in the Davis Cup a couple of years ago. How have you changed?
“I guess I’m just older. I know more about myself and how to handle things. I’m more mature. That’s on and off the court. I’ve worked quite a bit at how to handle myself on the court. But a lot of it’s off the court, but I suppose the two help each other. I’m more serious now. I guess the biggest change has been in the last eight to nine months, rather than in the last two years. It’s just happened gradually.”
What has the reaction been to last weekend?
“Andy Murray texted me to say well done. He said he was pleased for me. Was he surprised at how well I played? I don’t know. A lot of people were surprised by how I played. It was a good surprise, having that sort of weekend.”
How helpful will last weekend be for your solo career?
“I’ve gained so much confidence from the weekend. Just being on the practice court this morning, I felt pretty good. There’s another tie coming up soon, and I would like to be picked for that. I’m going to Cherbourg next, then Mexico, and then trying to qualify for Miami. I’ve got a ranking target for the year, but it’s not for sharing. It’s between me and my coach.”