Andy Murray column: 'Dan Evans has made mistakes along the way - but he can play'

Andy Murray
Wimbledon on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
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Dan Evans might have made a few bad decisions in the past but he's always had the ability to play at the top level.

I don't know if a switch went off in his head some time last year, but to go from being ranked below 700 to 91 in the world and playing Roger Federer on Centre Court is very impressive, and it only happens through hard work.

It takes some people longer than others to work out how best to get there and he's on the right track now.

Dan's been a great Davis Cup team-mate - he supports well and tries his backside off in matches, and that's all you want really.

Dan Evans
Dan Evans is through to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time

He played very well against Kei Nishikori in Birmingham earlier this year, and he's had some big wins in the past against guys ranked much higher than him.

Every time I've practised with him he's been fantastic and he's never complained when he's not been picked or played.

I don't think that's always been said, or that the good things about him have been reported as much.

Dan would probably admit he's made some bad mistakes along the way but when he's represented his country, I think he should be very proud of how he's performed.

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Yen-Hsun Lu v Andy Murray highlights

'He's a cheeky chappie, fun to be around'

I thought Marcus Willis did very well against Roger once he settled into the match and it will be interesting to see how Dan gets on.

He and Marcus are good friends and I think both of them know how to enjoy themselves. Dan is a sort of cheeky chappie, always fun to be around.

My fitness trainer Matt Little worked with him when he was 10 years old and said the first time they were introduced, he said, 'Hi, I'm Matt Little', and Dan said, 'It's funny that your surname's Little when you're tiny.'

That was Dan as a 10-year-old, and in some ways he hasn't changed much!

He still seems like the same person I first met. We always got on well. It seems like he's finally found that consistency of working hard all of the time and I think his coach Mark Hilton will be very good for Dan in that respect, because when Mark played he was a really good worker.

The other reason I think Dan is going to keep moving up the rankings is because he's good - he's really good - and the more you play at this level, the better you get.

In the past he would play maybe one match every three months at this level, and then go back down to Futures. Now he's playing and practising with guys like this every week and he can keep pushing higher.

Dan certainly won't be the favourite against Roger but he can cause him problems and make it interesting.

Andy Murray meets Carl Froch
Andy Murray meets former boxer Carl Froch after his win over Yen-Hsun Lu

'You can't avoid the top players if you want to win things'

I was happy with how I played against Yen-Hsun Lu, especially in the second and third sets, and as always at this stage I'm just hoping I can keep improving with each round.

After the match I met Carl Froch for the first time face to face, having spoken to him on the radio a couple of times before, and I always get something out of meeting boxers.

What made Carl different was he always fought the best fighters available, which is pretty rare in boxing. He fought everyone, all of the big names in his division, and he was very entertaining to watch. He was never really in dull fights.

I suppose I can relate to that in as much as you can't avoid the top players in tennis if you want to win things, although to be honest I can understand it more in boxing because it's a very dangerous sport.

Boxers have a short career and obviously want to make the most amount of money and be as successful as possible in that time.

I certainly don't plan on anything going wrong when I play John Millman on Saturday, but when I do lose a tennis match, the consequences are not quite so serious.

In a sport like boxing, if you pick the wrong fight at the wrong time, it can be pretty rough.

Andy Murray was talking to BBC Sport's Piers Newbery.

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