Dan Evans’ generosity bit him again as he was defeated by fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the third round of the Australian Open.
After going through the first nine games with serve, Rublev asked a ball boy for some bananas to give him an energy boost.
Hearing that, Evans threw a banana to his opponent, who immediately broke serve to take the opening set in the next game and never looked back for a 6-4 6-2 6-3 victory.
“She actually asked for four bananas, and I really liked that, so I shared with her,” Evans said. “They only brought two, so I donated (one) so he could get one.”
Rublev smiled when asked about this in his post-match interview: “He definitely helped me with some energy. I won an extra two games because I ate a banana.”
It was the seventh meeting between Evans and Rublev, who had shared six close matches prior to this first Grand Slam encounter.
Rublev said, “It was just a good and fun moment between us.” “We have a great relationship with each other. We played great matches.
“I think we’ve played enough already, and he’s won a few matches and I’ve won a few matches. But I’ve won the last one now. Next time he’ll need revenge.”
There’s nothing subtle about Rublev’s game, he simply hits the ball as hard as he can, especially with the forehand, but he has performed consistently enough to remain in the top 10 over the past two years. .
The Russian’s great weakness is that he tends to lose his head if things aren’t going his way, but, after winning the first set, Rublev got better and better here, eventually reeling off 60 winners against teenage hotshot Holger Rune. struggled with
Evans lost seven games in a row in the second to make it 2–2 but committed only 12 unforced errors in the entire match.
“Andrey was very good,” said the British number two, who spends most of his time feeling like he is competing in a higher weight class as one of the younger players on tour.
“She played some good tennis. I didn’t think I did much wrong. I obviously had a bit of a chance in the first, had a break point (at 3-3), I didn’t take it.
“He changed his game like he played me a while back. He hit his backhand line very well. He was very aggressive and better than me.
“Before the match, (the) plan was not to be scared coming forward, but he scared me, and that’s great for him.”
Evans will now have to make the long journey from Melbourne to Bogota for Britain’s Davis Cup play-off against Colombia in a fortnight.