Dan Evans says reading Ricky Ponting’s autobiography has served as motivation
during his trip to the States having now made the US Open fourth round for the first time; Evans, who faces Daniil Medvedev next, said: “I took some things which I’ll probably use now for the rest of my career”
Last Updated: 04/09/21 7:37pm
British No 1 Dan Evans says he has as good a chance as anyone to do some serious damage when he meets red-hot Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round of the US Open on Sunday.
Evans one recovered from two sets down to beat Australian Alexei Popyrin in a deciding tie-break and will play in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for only the second time in his career against the dangerous Russian, who is seeded second.
The 31-year-old had previously reached the third round at Flushing Meadows three times, holding a match point against eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in 2016, but had never made it further.
It has been a tough couple of months for Evans after a debilitating bout of coronavirus forced him to miss the Olympics and left him struggling physically.
He arrived in New York low on confidence and injury problems having pulled out of the doubles on Thursday with a groin issue. But having battled past Thiago Monteiro, Marcos Giron, and Popyrin, he has shown why he is regarded as one of the grittiest competitors on tour and goes into Sunday’s clash eyeing an upset.
“I started reading Ricky Ponting’s book at the start of this trip. I wasn’t feeling great. It’s been pretty inspirational, motivational.”
Dan Evans on reading Ricky Ponting’s autobiography
“I’ve got as good a chance as anyone to do some damage,” said Evans. “I think my game is in a good place. He’s a great, great player, unbelievable competitor, good mover. He’s been playing some unbelievable tennis this year.
“But if I go on the court and think I’ve got no chance and there’s no pressure on me – I think in the pressure situations, if they do arise, you’re not ready for that. You’ve got to go in believing you can win.”
Evans is set to hit a new career-high ranking inside the top 25 by virtue of his run in New York but Medvedev represents a big step up from the opponents the Briton has faced so far.
The Russian reached his first Grand Slam final at Flushing Meadows in 2019, pushing Rafael Nadal to five sets, and won his fourth Masters tournament in Toronto last month.
“I think his serve’s an amazing, amazing weapon,” said Evans. “His serve and his movement, two of the best things. I think his serve is underrated. He rolls through his service games very quickly. He obviously puts a lot of balls in court on the opponent’s serve. Those three things are probably his best.
“I don’t want to keep going on about how good he is. I think his ranking gives that away.”
Evans also revealed that reading Ricky Ponting’s book helped him on a journey of self-discovery.
The world No 27 showed all the fighting spirit that the former Australian cricket captain was renowned for when he came from two sets down to beat Ponting’s compatriot Popyrin.
He said: “There’s probably a bit of irony in this. I started reading Ricky Ponting’s book at the start of this trip. I wasn’t feeling great. It’s been pretty inspirational, motivational.
“I took a few things from that. He had some pretty tough times when he was captain. That’s the reason why I took to the book, because I’d been told about it.
“I’ve looked to learn a bit along the trip. I’ve got to know probably a bit more about myself. I’m never that far away from getting to a decent level. But I have to be patient. It was not easy by any stretch of imagination.
“I was low on confidence. I think from his book, back yourself. He writes a lot down the night before on what he wanted to do, how he wanted to go out the next day. Really reminded himself what he needs to do.
“It’s obviously a very different game, but I just enjoyed it. I took some things which I’ll probably use now for the rest of my career.”
Medvedev, who has cruised through his first three matches, returned the compliments to Evans, describing him as a tricky and clever player.
“He doesn’t have one shot that is a weapon, and yet he’s a top player for many years already,” he said.
“The way he chooses the right moment to go to the net, to slice, to make a drop shot. His serve is not huge, but it’s tough to return. Great player. I heard today in the locker room people saying, ‘I love watching him play’. Probably most of us like watching him play.
“I saw that he was two sets down (against Popyrin). I watched a little bit of the fifth set – what a tie-break from him. First time actually playing against him, so never easy. I want to show my best level. That’s how I will have my chances to win.”
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