London: Daniel Evans insists he doesn't want to be reduced to a figure of fun when he follows in Marcus Willis' footsteps against Wimbledon legend Roger Federer.
Britain's Daniel Evans celebrates beating Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-1 yesterday. Pic/AFP
After world number 772 Willis became an overnight sensation with his run through qualifying to a memorable second round defeat against Federer this week, it's Evans' turn to take on the Swiss star following a 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-1 victory against Ukrainian 30th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov yesterday.
Evans, until now known mostly for landing himself in trouble with his off-court antics, will be playing in the All England Club third round for the first time when he faces seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer.
Roger Federer returns to World No 772 Marcus Willis during their Wimbledon match on Wednesday. Pic/Getty Images
But unlike the permanently grinning Willis, who performed gamely but at times resembled a fan who had somehow found his way onto Centre Court, Evans is treating his opportunity with the utmost seriousness.
"It's not a day out for me. It's a good opportunity. It's not a Lord Mayor's show, whatever. I'm taking it seriously," Evans said. "He's not a normal guy obviously. It would be stupid to say it's not a special occasion to play him. I just have to prepare myself best and try and put that to the back of my head.
"It's going to be a great experience. Hopefully an even better one than most people think." Evans had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday to continue a fine year in which he has risen more than 650 places to number 91 in the world rankings.
It was Evans' first win in four attempts at Wimbledon after claiming seven years ago he would be stacking supermarket shelves if he had not cracked it by 25.
That depressing career path appeared to be looming large when, ranked outside the top 700, he was reduced to entering pre-qualifying in an unsuccessful bid to make the Wimbledon.