The stifling conditions which prevailed on the opening day of the French Open affected the first British player in action at Roland Garros to such an effect he was sick during the match.
I didn't feel good at all. It's not an excuse, but it's just how it was." Dan Evans
Dan Evans was beaten 5-7 6-4 6-3 6-1 by the experienced Spaniard, 35-year-old Tommy Robredo – currently ranked 271 and on his way back from injuries – who recovered well after losing the first set to some aggressive play from the British No4.
But the effects of a meal eaten too close to the match as a result of being called earlier when a retirement drew the preceding match was cut short by a retirement.
Despite winning the opening set, he had to go off court where he was ill.
“I just threw up a little bit,” said the 27-year-old. “It was just sitting in my stomach, so I thought it was the best thing to do. I actually came out and played pretty good at the start of the second.
“But it’s difficult. I find it especially difficult on my serve on this surface to get on top in the rallies. It was hot. It was really tough. It was difficult conditions especially for such a physical surface for me.
“I didn’t feel good at all. It’s not an excuse, but it’s just how it was.”
Reflecting on his loss, he added: “Obviously he’s been struggling a little bit. I think he just didn’t find his feet at the start – and then it was clear he was way better than me on that surface and looked physically better as well, which was a bit worrying.”
Clay is not Evan’s surface and he is now looking forward to the grass court swing of the season.
“I feel good,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of tennis. It’s a different story on the quicker surface. Obviously, the surface helps me a lot. I don’t worry about five sets on the hard or the grass. It was just today was definitely a lot different to what I imagined.”
In other action, the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov won his first match in four years at Roland Garros to reach the second round making light work of Frenchman Frenchman Stephane Robert to win 6-2 6-3 6-4.
“It was a good test,” 11th-seed Dimitrov said. “I knew what to expect, I just had to fight.”
Spain’s Albert Ramos, the 19th seed, fought back from a set down to defeat Romanian Marius Copil 6-7(7) 6-1 6-4 6-2 and in round two will face Benjamin Bonzi, after the Frenchman’s opponent Daniil Medvedev retired with the score at 5-7 6-4 6-1 3-1.
Meanwhile the oldest man in the singles draw prevailed against one of the youngest. The giant 6’10” Croat with the big serve, Ivo Karlovic, 38, advanced with a 7-6(5) 7-5 6-4 win over Greek teenager, the 19-year-old qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas making his debut af Roland Garros.
No.16 seed Lucas Pouille was given a scare by fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau but came through after a close to three-and-a-half hours 7-6(6) 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 and will take on Thomaz Bellucci in the next round after the Brazilian recorded a 4-6 7-5 6-4 6-4 win over Dusan Lajovic.
The Spanish 20th seeded Pablo Carreno Busta recorded an easy 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Florian Mayer in just one hour and 36 minutes and will play Taro Daniel in the second round after the Japanese eliminated Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 6-4 6-4.
Big-serving 26th seed from Luxembourg, Gilles Muller was the biggest casualty on day one of the men’s draw, with Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ousting him 7-6(4) 6-7(2) 6-2 6-2.