Birmingham’s Dan Evans has expressed his pleasure – and surprise – at the award of a Wimbledon wild card earlier this week.
The 21-year-old from Hall Green learned on Monday he had been given the chance to return to the main draw All England Club for the first time in two years.
And while some might quibble about the fact he falls short of the criteria, Evans insists his progress this season warrants the faith the sports officials have shown him.
“I had been told I was going to be put forward but I was not that optimistic of getting it because my ranking is outside the cut-off line of 250,” Evans admitted.
“But I think I have done pretty well this year and I guess that has counted in my favour.
“I have made three finals and two semis - one in a challenger - which in the first six months is pretty good and although I’ve lost in the first round in the last couple of weeks that happens in tennis.”
The youngster’s world ranking of 300, makes him the British No. 4, and is 20 places better than this time last year when he fell in the second round of qualifying for Wimbledon.
It is also four places better than when he made his only other appearance at the most prestigious tournament in the world when he met then world No. 11 Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.
Evans showed the Russian too much respect that day and ended up losing 2-6, 3-6, 3-6 and while he is not too fussy about who he is paired with on Monday week, he is adamant he is better equipped to deal with whatever is thrown at him.
“I think I did quite well but I am older, stronger and a bit more wise now,” he said.
“I just have to go out there play well and have a good attitude.. I can’t do anything about who I play, whether it’s a seed or a qualifier, all I can do is concentrate on performing well.
“It’s good of the LTA and All England Club to give me this wild card and I’m happy about it because I think I deserve the opportunity to play at Wimbledon again. It’s going to be a great experience and one I intend to enjoy.”