Dan Evans out of Paris Masters in major threat to Britain’s Davis Cup hopes

Dan Evans has officially pulled out of next week’s Paris Masters after hurting his calf in Vienna. The extent of the world No 35’s injury is not yet known but his withdrawal will come as a bad sign with Britain’s Davis Cup quarter-final on the horizon. The nation faces Serbia next month and Novak Djokovic has already outlined Evans as a dangerous player. But Britain could be left without their MVP if Evans cannot recover in time.

Evans sparked concern when he had to retire from his opening match at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna after getting off to a red-hot start. The 33-year-old stormed to a 4-1 lead over Frances Tiafoe but pulled up on his calf mid-rally.

He called the physio and was heard saying he couldn’t walk. The Brit looked visibly concerned as he ended up forfeiting the match. It wasn’t known whether Evans had torn his calf muscle or just pulled it but confirmation of his withdrawal form Paris hint at something more serious.

The British No 2 had been named in his nation’s squad for the upcoming Davis Cup Finals just days before he picked up the injury. Evans was arguably Britain’s MVP during their recent group stage ties in September, notching wins in both the singles and doubles. Alongside Neal Skupski, the pair won the decisive doubles rubber that secured Britain’s spot in the Final 8.

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Britain’s captain Leon Smith left the squad unchanged for November’s Finals week, where the team will face Serbia in the quarter-final. As well as Evans, Cam Norrie, Andy Murray, Jack Draper and Neal Skupski are also slated to compete in Malaga next month.

And Evans was set to play a crucial role in the team once again, with his ability to perform in both singles and doubles. With British No 1 Norrie currently struggling to find some form, the 33-year-old could well be picked to swap places with Norrie and play against rival teams’ top-ranked man. In the quarter-final against Serbia, that would be Djokovic.

Djokovic himself has already identified Evans as a threat to Serbia’s chances of progressing at the ‘World Cup of tennis’. “They are a complete team, they have four top singles players, while one of them, Evans, is extremely good in doubles as well,” the 24-time Grand Slam champion told Sportal.

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“I saw that he played continuously and that he was the choice of their coach in combination with Skupski. They are very difficult and I hope that we will be able to win after the singles.”

But Evans could now be in doubt for the Davis Cup after his calf injury proved to be serious enough to skip the final Masters event of the season. Britain takes on Serbia on Thursday November 23, meaning the world No 35 has less than four weeks to recover.

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