Dan Evans has responded to the news that he is to receive a wild card for Queen’s next week, by reaching the final of the ATP Challenger in Nottingham with a fighting 4-6 6-2 6-3 performance over the world No. 134 Marcel Granollers. There he will face the young Australian teenager Alex de Minaur who eased past Belarusian fourth seed Ilya Ivashka 6-2 6-4.
There will still be people who don’t think it’s the right decision. But they [the LTA] are sort of damned if they did, damned if they don’t, aren’t they? Dan Evans
The win was Evans’ 16th from 19 matches he has played since making his return from a year’s ban for taking cocaine. And he was very pleased at how he had responded after losing the first set.
“I’m just really happy with that match to be honest, that’s a real good match to win,” he said. “I can take some good stuff away from that.”
The former British No.2’s ranking will improve dramatically and he should rise to within the 300 mark should he win the title. His previous best before his suspension was in the top 50s. His 19-year-old opponent is also looking to improve his own ranking by winning, having recently broken into the top 100. He could rise into the top 80s.
Evan’s road to re-acceptance has been boosted by the Queen’s wildcard and he is duly and sincerely grateful for the show of confidence by both the LTA and the Fever Tree tournament organisers, acknowledging that he had placed them in a very awkward position.
“There will still be people who don’t think it’s the right decision,” he admitted. “But they [the LTA] are sort of damned if they did, damned if they don’t, aren’t they?”
The difficulty facing the LTA regarding wildcards is not lost on Evans, who will play world No 25 Adrian Mannarino in the first round at Queen’s.
“I am delighted,” he said. “Obviously I put people in a terribly awkward position and I can only say thank you to those people who have backed my corner to give me an equal chance to get that wildcard. I will be forever indebted to them for that.”