Daniel Evans will be the latest British underdog to try his luck against Roger Federer at Wimbledon after beating Ukrainian 30th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday.
After world number 772 Marcus Willis became an overnight sensation with his run through qualifying to a memorable second round defeat against Federer this week, it is Evans’ turn to take on the Swiss legend.
Evans, until now known mostly for landing himself in trouble with his off-court antics, will be playing in the All England Club third round for the first time when he faces seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer.
“The Brits are normally a good draw (for Federer),” Evans joked
“But it’s going to be great fun. I can’t wait to get out there. It’s going to be a good atmosphere.
“I’ve got to prepare like I’ve got a chance to win the match. He’s obviously one of the best players ever to play the sport, so it’s difficult but I’ve got to put that to the back of my mind.”
Evans, a good friend of Willis, had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday to continue a fine year in which he has risen more than 650 places to number 91 in the world rankings.
It was Evans’ first win in four attempts at Wimbledon after claiming seven years ago he would be stacking supermarket shelves if he had not cracked it by 25.
That depressing career path appeared to be looming large when, ranked outside the top 700, he was reduced to entering pre-qualifying in an unsuccessful bid to make the Wimbledon main draw last year.
But, now 25, Evans is finally showing signs of maturing enough to fulfil his potential.
Evans, who has repeatedly fallen out with the Lawn Tennis Association over his perceived bad attitude, has a tattoo on his arm that reads; ‘every saint has a past, every sinner has a future’.
And British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith once joked he would have to electronically tag Evans to ensure he didn’t disappear for wild nights out.
Evans, from Birmingham in central England, had been forced to halt his second round clash against Dolgopolov in the first set tie-break due to the persistent drizzle on Wednesday evening.
But he returned on Thursday to win the tie-break and romp through the next two sets.
Evans is now guaranteed to make at least £80,000 from his week’s work and earn 90 ranking points which will take him up to a projected career-high ranking of 75.