It’s a pretty big headline from the Monte Carlo Masters: Dan Evans Defeats Novak Djokovic. I will get to why I added: “with the slice”.
I haven’t had time to watch full matches from the Monte Carlo Masters, but I subscribe to TennisTV to get the highlights and possible replays. When I saw the highlights clip on YouTube: Dan Evans Defeats Novak Djokovic, I just had to stop what I was doing and watch it.
If you haven’t watched Dan Evans play, it’s highly recommended. This guy is talented (if Federer chose him as a practice partner before coming back to the tour, you know there is some respect there) and has a beautiful, all-court game where he uses the slice on his backhand at around 90%. The only time he comes over the ball on his backhand wing is when the opponent comes forward and he needs to pass him.
It sounds like a strategy that would never work on this level, but Evans has a nasty slice and uses it cleverly. There are very strong other players in the history of tennis that have predominantly used the slice on the backhand: Steffi Graf, Fernando Gonzalez, and Feliciano Lopez.
Watch the highlights from TennisTV
As you can see in the highlights reel, Evans patiently waits (with his backhand slice) for Djokovic to lose his cool and attack, and then he finds a way to stir up trouble. It’s not like Evans doesn’t have a solid one-handed backhand, it’s just that he’s more confident with the slice, and to be honest, his opponents have not really found a way to use this against him.
This is the biggest win of his career and should give him extra confidence for the rest of the season. What about Novak? Well, it’s probably just a blip on the radar and he’s soon back to winning ways again. We have seen, though, that the players that trouble Djokovic the most are the ones that keep hitting back in the middle with decent depth – not opening any angles or making too many unforced errors. This is what Dan managed to do today.
What racquet does Dan Evan use? Check out this post.