Dan Evans reveals the extra inspiration that helped him beat Novak Djokovic
Dan Evans revealed what he viewed as pre-match delaying tactics from Novak Djokovic helped to fire him up before he produced the performance of his life to beat the world No.1 at the Monte Carlo Masters.
British No.1 Evans stunned the 18-time Grand Slam champion with a 6-4, 7-5 win on the red clay, with the comprehensive nature of his victory adding to the satisfaction for a player who is peaking in his career as he approaches his 31st birthday this month.
Evans became on the second British player after Andy Murray to beat a world No.1 on clay with what is undoubtedly the best win of his career and he told Amazon Prime that Djokovic’s pre-match antics played a role in allowing him to block out any apprehension and implement a game plan that allowed him to break down the Serb’s mighty backhand.
“He kept me waiting at the start of the match the changing room and that was a little annoying, so that got me a little extra fired up,” revealed Evans, who is through to a Masters 1000 quarter-final for the first time in his career.
“My game plan was to try and bring him forward a little bit and try to get him hitting the ball lower in the court. I thought I did a good job of doing that.
“You have to believe you can win. I can walk on saying I believe, but you have to go out there and prove it.
“This is why we get the balls out. It’s one against one and we all have a chance. I’m just really happy to come through. It’s a nice one to tell the kids and the grandkids that you beat the world No.1. Nice one.”
This performance was a masterclass of everything that is great about Evans, a player who has maximised his talents to the full in recent years to reach heights in the game few imagined possible in his early years.
With his backhand slice disrupting Djokovic’s rhythm and well-disguised drop shots putting the Serb on the back foot, Evans gave the reigning Australian Open more problems than most opponents on the tour have managed in recent years and he conceded as much in his post-match interview.
"That's one to tell the grandkids – that you beat the World No. 1" ☺️
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) April 15, 2021
“He is a nice player to watch, not so nice to play against,” said Djokovic. “Clay wasn’t his surface growing up but the way he plays on clay, I think he plays in a similar quality level to what he plays on his best surfaces. He’s a very good player, no doubt about it.
“It was just an awful performance. I can’t take any positives away from this match. It definitely leaves a bitter feeling exiting the court this way.”
In truth, Djokovic’s disenchantment at his own performance was as much down to the masterful tactics Evans used to break him down as it was a poor day from the top seed who was beaten for the first time in 2021.
David Goffin now awaits Evans in the next round, but it’s safe to assume plenty of players on the ATP Tour will have looked in on this Djokovic collapse with a keen interest.
Hitting Djokovic off the court from the baseline is a plan that has rarely worked for players outside of the top five in the ATP rankings, but Evans’ slice and drop shot plan was a tactic that threw him off the rails to a point that he threw the towel in the final game.
Missing Wimbledon was ‘the right thing to do’, says Rafael Nadal as he prepares for Washington debut
Rafael Nadal “super happy” to be back on Tour after extended break.
‘Part-time player’ Nick Kyrgios reveals how ‘hate, racism, bulls**t’ drove him ‘into a place of dark’
“I did fall into places where people like Naomi Osaka are now speaking about mental illness,” says Kyrgios.
Patient Emma Raducanu vows to continue learning curve after San Jose defeat
The 18-year-old reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Naomi Osaka headlines Montreal field that includes Tokyo champion Belinda Bencic, and Bianca Andreescu
Naomi Osaka set to be the top seed at the Canadian Open.
Rafael Nadal on Novak Djokovic’s Olympics outburst: ‘It is important to avoid this, especially as a role model’
“It’s strange that someone so successful reacts this way,” says Rafael Nadal.
Alexander Zverev euphoric after claiming Olympic gold, saying, ‘this is an incredible feeling’
“There is nothing better than this,” says Alexander Zverev.
Alexander Zverev brushes aside Karen Khachanov to secure historic gold for Germany in men’s tennis at Olympics
Gold for Alexander Zverev at Tokyo Olympics.
‘I am shaking all over my body,’ says Casper Ruud after completing unique hat-trick with Kitzbuhel title
It’s a hat-trick of titles for Casper Ruud.
‘It’s the freaking Olympic Games’ – Belinda Bencic not sure whether to laugh or cry after winning gold
Belinda Bencic in dreamland after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
Comment: Novak Djokovic under fire after controversial final stand at Tokyo Olympics
Novak Djokovic walked away from the Tokyo Olympics without even a bronze medal to soothe his wounded pride.