Big-talking Dan Evans believes he’s living in Bernard Tomic’s head and can scupper Australia’s hopes of sending Lleyton Hewitt out as a three-time Davis Cup winner.
After being plucked from the tennis wilderness and thrust into the Cup cauldron for this weekend’s quarter-final in Glasgow, Evans is adamant he has the game and mental hold over Tomic to spring a first-day boilover for Great Britain.
Evans, now ranked a lowly 300 in the world, upset Tomic in the second round of the US Open two years ago and says the Australian No.1 won’t have forgotten it.
“Everyone does remember when you have played someone before. I remember when I have lost to someone, it is always in your head,” Evans said after Thursday’s draw at the Emirates Arena.
“My game matches up pretty well to him and that is what I have to try to do again on Friday.”
Tomic, enjoying a career-high ranking of 23rd in the world, admitted it was a “smart move by them” gambling on Evans.
But he didn’t quite recall the finer details of his shock loss at Flushing Meadows in 2013.
“Honestly, I was up 6-1 and 3-0, I think, and I couldn’t make a ball after that. That’s all I remember,” Tomic said.
“It was a very, very windy day, he was very tough and very confident – he’d beaten Nishikori prior to playing me – so he was obviously playing well.
“I had a chance, I was comfortable and cruising, he started playing more free and he beat me.
“So it’s not an easy match. It’s tough for me. He’s beaten me before.”
British captain Leon Smith sprang the selection surprise after only calling Evans up on Tuesday as standby after Kyle Edmund, the world No.100, injured his ankle during practice.
But despite being given the all clear to play, Edmund as well as world No.141 James Ward were both overlooked by Price, who preferred Evans as Andy Murray’s singles support act.
“When you look at the match-ups, I think Dan has elements in his game which can cause, and did cause, Tomic a few problems,” Smith said.
Evans was ranked 763rd as recent as June after failing to qualify for Wimbledon.
But the 25-year-old has won 31 of his past 36 matches on the Challenger and Futures circuit, though none against a top-100 opponent, giving the Brits cause for optimism.
“His talent has never been in question and I also think he has the kind of personality which gets up for big matches,” said Murray, who will open proceedings on Friday against Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“Obviously some players can freeze in that situation but his personality will handle that fine.
“There will be nerves, but I think he will handle them.”