Mats Wilander was left disappointed by Dan Evans’ attitude in his Australian Open defeat by Yoshihito Nishioka but believes the British No.1 is good for the sport. The seven time Grand Slam champion compared Evans to Kyrgios, saying such players make tennis more accessible.
“To me, Dan Evans is an example of somebody that puts the clock back a little bit and tells everybody: ‘Listen, tennis is not a freak sport where you need to have rich parents, who sit in your players’ box for every single week of the whole year, and you need to talk to your coaches’ box between every shot,” Wilander commented.
“He’s a normal human being who struggles through certain things in life. He’s winning matches. Then he says he wasn’t up for it. Is he going to win majors with that attitude? No. Will he make tennis more accessible in people’s minds in their normal homes? Yes”.
“We need him. For the world to go round in tennis. We need Nick Kyrgios as well. Thank god we have them. But, yes, I was disappointed”. Evans recently said that he might want to skip the Olympics this year and play the hard court season to gain more ranking points.
Willander commented, “Very strange. That tells me again, though, that, when Dan Evans from Birmingham chooses not to play the Olympics, do we have to be looking at what the Olympics mean in tennis?” “Should it be a team competition instead of Davis Cup at times? Should it be a 128 draw over two weeks? I don’t know.
What it should be? If it doesn’t mean more to a normal human being like Dan Evans, who could change his life and career by winning not a gold but a bronze medal for Great Britain, if he doesn’t want to take that chance, I would say something is wrong with the Olympics in what it’s worth in tennis”.
He further commented, “I think the players are doing a tremendous job of trying, and it means a whole lot to the best players because to them it is what they are missing. But, to the other players, to not think that winning a bronze is worth more than being top 20 because of points you didn’t deserve to win because no one is competing, that seems like they need to reorganise the competition. It needs to be worth more in players’ minds”.