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The Telegraph

Dan Evans hits back at Dominic Thiem: I’m no party animal

Paris in the springtime is supposed to be romantic, full of dancing and courtship at the pavement cafes. But not this year – thanks to a Covid curfew of 9pm – and certainly not for Dan Evans, the British No1. Evans bit back on Friday at a suggestion that he is a frustrated party animal, who would rather be perusing the local nightclubs than practising his forehand. This provocative claim had been made – or rather implied – by the recent US Open champion Dominic Thiem. “There are guys … for whom life in the bubble is probably an advantage,” Thiem told an interviewer last month, “for example [Dan] Evans or [Alexander] Bublik. They have problems focusing on sport in normal situations. It’s great for them, they concentrate exclusively on tennis, there is nothing else.” When this comment was put to Evans – who will open his French Open campaign on Sunday – he was indignant. “According to him, I must be out a lot, partying a lot. [But] I’ve done all right outside of the bubble as well. I must have improved a lot inside the bubble for him to say that.” Asked how different his life would be without the pandemic to restrict his options, Evans replied “Nothing will change much. Some nice dinners, that’s it. I travel with my girlfriend every week. It is not like I am on my own and single, and [I wasn’t] going nuts when there wasn’t bubbles. I don’t know – it is a strange comment, isn’t it?” Evans’s reputation for hedonism can be partly explained by the one-year ban he served in 2017, after testing positive for cocaine. This mis-step was not entirely out of character. Until that moment, he had been easily distracted – a man who could resist anything but temptation.