Dan Evans determined to earn Wimbledon place

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Dan Evans is not getting involved in the politics of Wimbledon’s refusal to give him a wild card and is focused on getting there himself.

The 28-year-old has been forced to go through qualifying after being overlooked for direct entry by the All England Club as a matter of “principle” following his 12-month drugs ban.

Evans beat Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 in his first-round qualifying match in sweltering conditions at Roehampton, putting him two victories away from the main draw at SW19.

The former British number two, who has been ranked inside the top 50, has been back on court for more than two months after his sanction and has been the best performing British player since.

Furthermore, two players pulled out of qualifying this week but then landed a spot in the main draw after Wimbledon gave wild cards to the next direct acceptances.

But Evans is only interested in looking after his own business.

“It is their policy so I just have to carry on doing my thing,” he told Press Association Sport.

“It’s not about what it would mean to get there this way, I just want to play the main draw, it’s a big tournament.

“It would definitely feel like I am back.”

Evans’ wild card snub meant his road to Wimbledon began last week when he had to go through pre-qualifying, which involved winning three games in 28 hours.

He had to play twice on Friday in farcical conditions that saw players run out of water and have no towels.

Dan Evans was overlooked for a Wimbledon wild card despite being the best performing Briton in recent weeks
Dan Evans was overlooked for a Wimbledon wild card despite being the best performing Briton in recent weeks (Steven Paston/PA)

But Evans was able to negate that with an effective use of his backhand slice and was able to win thanks to a break in each set, teeing up a second-round match with Australian Marc Polmans.

“It was a tough match, it’s good to get off to a nice start, it’s difficult playing someone so good in the first round,” he added.

“I had to play well and I was up to it, I did everything really well, I concentrated hard.

“It is a difficult tournament, qualifying at any grand slam tournament is tough, you have to be ready to do it and with the hot weather this week you have to do a lot more things right.

“I feel like I am getting back to my best, I am beating some good players.”

Alexander Ward, Lloyd Glasspool and James Ward were other British winners.

Alexander Ward, who came through qualifying to reach the main draw last year, beat Darian King 4-6 7-5 6-0, while Glasspool was a 7-5 7-5 winner over Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol.

James Ward, who reached the third round at Wimbledon three years ago, beat Marco Trungelliti 6-3 7-6 (7/0).

Teenagers George Loffhagen, Jack Draper, Anton Matusevich and Aidan McHugh, who has practised with Andy Murray, all lost their matches.

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