British players are pretty good, says new hero Evans

Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:16am EDT
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By John Stonestreet

LONDON (Reuters) - British men's tennis is blessed with better players than many fans realize, the sport's latest homegrown hero Dan Evans told a Wimbledon audience on Thursday after dismantling 30th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov to reach the third round.

In a largely nerveless performance, Evans grabbed his share of the limelight on a raucous Court 2, downing the Ukrainian 7-6(6) 6-4 6-1 by playing the key points better than his higher-ranked opponent.

In a country still licking its soccer wounds, the win revived the feelgood factor generated on Monday when self-confessed "loser" Marcus Willis dropped just 10 games in beating Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis, a player 718 places above him in the rankings.

"It's amazing what he's done," Evans told reporters.

England's sporting image took a hefty battering in Monday's Euro 2016 defeat by Iceland, arguably the national team's most humiliating ever.

Evans believes tennis -- aside from Andy Murray's annual heroics traditionally a summer symbol of British under-achievement -- is capable of redressing the balance.

"I think this Wimbledon has opened the eyes of people that we're actually pretty good at tennis," he said.

"I think (the players) should be a bit more appreciated... Everyone puts the work in for the year (and) we're all trying as hard as each other."   Continued...

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 29/6/16 Great Britain's Dan Evans in action against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov REUTERS/Paul Childs