Evans confident he can match tall order

British second string's role could prove vital in Davis Cup tie against Poland

The contrasts could hardly be greater as Britain face Poland at the Echo Arena in Liverpool in the Davis Cup this weekend. As if the discrepancy in today's opening singles rubber between Andy Murray, the world No 3, and Michal Przysiezny, the world No 678, was not enough, they will be followed on court by Dan Evans, who is 5ft 9in tall, and Jerzy Janowicz, who stands at 6ft 8in.

While the first contest should indeed prove a major mismatch, the second could be decisive in this relegation play-off, which will decide which of the two teams is relegated to Europe Africa Zone Group Two, effectively the Davis Cup's third division. Britain last played at that level, currently occupied by the likes of Lithuania, Egypt and Hungary, 13 years ago.

The Poles have one of the game's best doubles teams in Marcin Matkowski and Mariusz Fyrstenberg (the world's No 11-ranked pair meet Murray and Ross Hutchins tomorrow), which means that Britain may well need Evans to win one of his two matches.

Evans, 19, will make his Davis Cup debut after James Ward and Josh Goodall, British No 2 and No 3 respectively, pulled out with illness. Goodall, who has been laid low by a virus, withdrew last week, while Ward was sent home yesterday suffering from glandular fever. Colin Fleming, who can play singles and doubles, is the fourth man in the squad.

Although Evans' talent has rarely been in doubt, there have been major question marks over his size and, perhaps more importantly, his commitment and attitude.

Last year the Lawn Tennis Association took away all his funding for four months after he was seen in a nightclub in the early hours of the morning on the day of his boys' doubles match at Wimbledon, which he lost in straight sets. Earlier in the summer he was given a code violation for hitting a ball into the stands on his way to a 50-minute defeat by Xavier Malisse in the Artois Championships at Queen's Club, where he had been given a wild card.

Last month, however, the Birmingham teenager climbed to a career-high No 248 in the world rankings (he is currently No 302) after winning a Challenger tournament in Jersey in March and reaching the semi-finals of another event in Kentucky in July. He is not short of confidence. "I hope I'm on this court a little longer than I was in the Stella," he said with a smile yesterday. "I'm capable of winning my matches."

Janowicz, the world No 261, hits the ball as hard as you would expect for a player of his size, but Evans insisted: "I think it's a good match-up for me. He serves big, but he doesn't move that well."

Przysiezny, Murray's opponent, was the world No 190 two years ago and the Scot said he would not be taking anything for granted. Murray is still having daily treatment on his inflamed left wrist, which he hurt in the US Open, but is ready to play three matches this weekend. "I'll have some time off after this match has finished and I can let it get better," he said.

Lukasz Kubot is Poland's highest ranked player (No 112 in singles and No 16 in doubles) but has not played for his country for two years. "We don't need him because we feel really comfortable about Michal and Jerzy," Matkowski said. "For the four of us, playing in the Davis Cup and playing for our country comes first. You have to put your personal agenda on the side. He didn't do that and that's his choice."

Davis Cup relegation play-off Great Britain v Poland (Echo Arena, Liverpool). Draw (GB names first): Today (12.00 start): A Murray v M Przysiezny; D Evans v J Janowicz. Tomorrow (14.30): R Hutchins and Murray v M Matkowski and M Fyrstenberg. Sunday (13.00): Murray v Janowicz; Evans v Przysiezny.

8

Number of consecutive Davis Cup singles matches Andy Murray has won since September 2005.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week