Dan Evans focused on French Open rather than Dominic Thiem’s comments about him
Speaking to Austrian newspaper Der Standard in April while he took a break from the grind of bubble life on tour, Thiem singled out Evans and Kazakh Alexander Bublik as players benefiting from fewer temptations off court.
“It’s difficult to play week after week in these circumstances,” said the US Open champion. “There are guys who can take it, for whom life in the bubble is probably an advantage, for example Evans or Bublik.
“They have problems focusing on sport in normal situations. It’s great for them, they concentrate exclusively on tennis, there is nothing else.”
Since coming back from his one-year ban for testing positive for cocaine in 2017, Evans has not given anyone a reason to doubt his commitment to the sport, improving each season and hitting a career-high ranking of 26 in February.
“It’s a funny comment,” said the 31-year-old. “I was aware of it. Tennis players have a decent habit of putting other people’s names in their mouth. I’m sure it was meant in the nicest way possible but I’d say Dominic Thiem has done pretty well in the bubble himself as he won his first grand slam in a bubble.
“They also have very short memories. It’s nice he had me on his mind I guess but that’s about it. I don’t lose too much sleep over Mr Thiem. According to him I must be out a lot partying. I travel with my girlfriend every week. It’s not like I’m on my own and single and going nuts when there wasn’t bubbles.”
Evans will have high hopes of achieving another career first on Sunday when he takes on Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic looking for his maiden victory at Roland Garros.
A famous clay sceptic, Evans has been a revelation on the surface this year, beating Novak Djokovic on his way to the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters.
He arrived in Paris refreshed after a few days at home in Cheltenham and has been practising on site since Monday.
Alongside him has been new Argentinian coach Sebastian Prieto, the long-time mentor of Juan Martin Del Potro, who has been guiding Evans for the last month.
If you're looking forward to going to work each day, it doesn't become very hard. I can see myself improving
Evans spoke glowingly of the early stages of their partnership, saying: “There’s been a lot of different stuff talked about on the practice court. Obviously a very different philosophy to what I was used to so it’s been good.
“It’s been eye-opening. There’s been a lot of change but it’s been all for the good. I can see the reasons why and I’m enjoying it, looking forward to going onto each session, and that’s what’s the most important.
“If you’re looking forward to going to work each day, it doesn’t become very hard. I can see myself improving.
“I’ve got a tough match in Kecmanovic, really looking forward to getting out there. It’s been a little while since my last match. Before you know it you could be back on the grass if you don’t focus.”