Nottingham | Evans and Ward progress
Dan Evans and James Ward have both secured victories in the first round of the Nottingham Challenger as they hope to secure wild cards for Wimbledon on their return to the tour following recent lengthy absences, Evans having served a 12-month drug ban and Ward side-lined by injuries over the last 18-months.
The pair have earned themselves some valuable ranking points with their latest victories.
There’s not that much for me to know. I guess just see what happens this week, see where I end up playing. If it’s [Wimbledon] pre-qualifying that’s fine, if it’s qualifying that’s fine Dan Evans
Evans – who is currently ranked at 530 in the world rankings – defeated Dominik Koepfer of Germany 6-3 7-5 while world number 407 Ward defeated another German, Tobias Simon 6-4 6-7 7-6 despite being on the receiving end of 34 aces!
With regards to his hopes for a Wimbledon wild card, Evans was realistic when asked if he had heard anything. “There’s not that much for me to know. I guess just see what happens this week, see where I end up playing. If it’s [Wimbledon] pre-qualifying that’s fine, if it’s qualifying that’s fine.”
He was also realistic about his reception back into the fold of the British players who have maintained their distance since his drug incident. ‘Everybody at the tournaments have been fine. I have not spoken to Andy [Murray].
“I have seen Kyle [Edmund] once. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I think it was just down as a mistake and hopefully we can move on.”
Unfortunately there were defeats for the top seeded Cameron Norrie and youngster Jay Clarke, with Norrie losing to Tatsuma Ito 1-6 7-5 6-3 and Clarke missing out against Tobias Kamke.