Give Dan Evans a break, he’s entitled to his opinion!
- Credit: PA
Dan Evans is the latest to fall victim to the ‘holier than thou’ masses who walk our planet, writes MIKE BACON in his weekly Bacon’s Bites column.
The 26-year-old tennis star and Davis Cup winner, who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open this year and has earned more than $1m dollars in prize money, put his size 10s firmly in the poo after daring to suggest Slovenian-born – and British National – Aljaz Bedene didn’t, ‘really believe he was British’.
Evans, who has dropped to 58th in the latest world rankings, is now two places below Bedene, which makes Evans fourth in the British standings behind Andy Murray, Kyle Edmunds and Bedene – something that clearly has irked the Brummie.
Bedene, 27, moved to the UK in 2008 and switched nationality in March 2015.
Nothing new in that, it happens a fair amount, even though many people consider it a tad strange to be able to represent two different countries at the same sport!
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Evans perhaps feels the same.
“I don’t think he (Bedene) really believes he’s British,” said Evans after losing in the Madrid Open first round to Robin Haase on Monday, which probably didn’t help his mood while being interviewed and told he had dropped down to British No.4.
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“The BBC tweet non-stop about how well he’s doing but does he know what the Sun newspaper is for example?, Evans added.
“Would he know why it doesn’t get bought in Liverpool? That’s British people who know British stuff, that’s what a British person is, but that’s my opinion.
“It’s nothing against Aljaz.
“I like him, he’s not confrontational in any way - but to me it doesn’t sit well if you play for another country. That’s all it is – “you’ve played for Slovenia”, it’s like you have stood for the national anthem and represented your country.
“I don’t feel bad about him, but for me it’s a bit baffling as to why. If I see him I speak to him. He might not like what I’ve said so he won’t want to talk to me.”
A bit controversial yes, but Evans is talking from the heart and it is baffling to me why some want to take such exception to what he says.
Putting your head above the parapet in today’s society usually only means one thing – ‘socials’ go into overdrive and the ‘keyboard warriors’ who would never be brave enough to voice their tirade to your face accuse you of everything from being an out of touch dinosaur through to being a racist – pathetic lot.
Bedene isn’t the first and won’t be the last person to ‘transfer’ nationalities in the sporting arena.
However, as regards tennis and especially the Davis Cup, International Tennis Federation rules do not allow players to represent more than one country.
Bedene, who has represented Slovenia in three ties, had an attempt to overturn his ban and play for Britain rejected by an arbitration hearing in March.
It is what it is.
And for me, Evans is entitled to an opinion on the subject.
Put yourself in Evans’ shoes.
It’s his career and he’s worked bloody hard to get where he has.
For those who don’t like what he says, tough.
He is neither racist, a dinosaur – nor, quite frankly, in quite a lot of people’s views, wrong.
I hope both Evans and Bedene go from strength to strength in the tennis world, individually, or as representatives of Great Britain on the world stage.