Tim Henman is impressed by the standard of tennis that Dan Evans has delivered, despite the Birmingham ace narrowly failing to qualify for Wimbledon.
Evans, who hails from Hall Green, was given a year’s ban for using cocaine but made his return in April, and came through a trio of pre-qualifier matches as well as the first round of qualifying for the third Grand Slam of the season.
That put the 28-year-old just two victories away from the main draw at the All England Club but he ultimately lost 6-0, 6-3 to Germany’s Matthias Bachinger to miss out on a spot at SW19.
The former British number two has been in impressive form since returning from his ban and has risen back to 343rd in the world after recent wins.
Evans made it to Wimbledon’s Centre Court in 2016, losing to Roger Federer in straight sets in the third round, and now Henman is hoping the Midlands man can build on the momentum he is generating.
“It’s been impressive the level of tennis that Dan (Evans) has played, obviously he made a massive mistake last year and he’s served his drugs ban and now he’s having to work his way up,” said Henman, a four-time semi-finalist at Wimbledon.
“His ranking was down in like the 1000s having nearly fallen off the computer almost but he’s had good results since.
“He got through to the semi-finals in Surbiton, did well in qualifying and I think grass is a good surface for him, hopefully he can build on that now.
“He’s played well at Wimbledon in the past and it is a good surface for him so we’ll have to see what opportunities he gets moving forwards.”
Henman was speaking at The Jaguar Championships at David Lloyd Royal Berkshire earlier this month, a mixed-doubles event into its third year.
One of the goals of The Jaguar Championships is to help boost grassroots participation in British tennis, which Henman believes is important, as well as seeing more top-level success at Wimbledon in July.
He added: “In any area, it’s important to have role models, we’re very fortunate to have arguably the best and biggest tennis tournament in the world at Wimbledon but it’s important to have those British storylines to go with it. “Andy Murray has led that amazingly well for the last decade, he’s obviously had his injury troubles, and Kyle Edmund has stepped up and played some really good tennis this year, top 20 in the world.
“Jo Konta maybe hasn’t played as well as she would have liked, but she’s still a great player with great opportunities coming up.
“It’ll be really good if any of the British players can have a good run over the grass-court season.”
Tim Henman was speaking at The Jaguar Championships as part of Jaguar’s partnership with David Lloyd Clubs. Visit http://www.jaguar.co.uk/jaguar-range/f-pace/index.html to find out more about the F-PACE, the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon