Dan Evans can handle unexpected Davis Cup role

Britain face Australia in what’s their first Davis Cup semi-final for 34 years on Friday

Britain’s Andy Murray with his team mates during the Davis Cup practice at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

Britain’s Andy Murray with his team mates during the Davis Cup practice at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

 

Andy Murray has backed Dan Evans to handle the pressure of his unexpected Davis Cup opportunity.

Evans was only called into the squad on Tuesday after Kyle Edmund fell in training and he was preferred to James Ward as captain Leon Smith took no chances with Edmund’s ankle injury.

That means Evans takes on Bernard Tomic in the second singles rubber on Friday - Murray opens proceedings against Thanasi Kokkinakis — as Britain face Australia in their first Davis Cup semi-final for 34 years.

The world number 300 has seven Britons above him in the rankings and has not played a top-100 player for more than a year, but he beat Tomic in the 2013 US Open and won a deciding rubber against Russia in the Davis Cup earlier that year.

Smith has selected him for his summer form, winning 29 out of his last 32 matches, while Ward lost nine in a row after Wimbledon, albeit at a higher level.

And Murray believes his team-mate will rise to the occasion.

“Dan’s talent has never been in question and I also think he has the sort of personality that gets up for big matches and big occasions,” the Scot said ahead of the tie at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

“Obviously some players can freeze in those situations but I don’t think that is in his personality, I think he will handle it fine.

“There will be nerves but I think he will handle them. He has a game that is different to the other players on our team. It’s not a game loads of guys on the tour play nowadays.

“Obviously he has played against Tomic before and won. He has a way of playing that will be tricky for Bernard but obviously Dan has to play a high level of tennis.

“That is the reality, we are playing against top players here and if we want to win we are all going to have play extremely well, but I trust Leon’s decision. He has made many hard decisions in the past.

“There are never any guarantees anyway, but I trust Leon’s decision and hopefully it pays off over the weekend.”

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