Roger Federer prepares to face Dan Evans on Centre Court

Swiss legend takes on another homegrown player at Wimbledon, but will Andy Murray soon be the last Brit standing?

(Image credit: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Having seen off the challenge of Wimbledon darling Marcus Willis on Wednesday, Roger Federer takes on another Briton in the third round of Wimbledon later today.

However, while the Swiss tennis star has is expected to triumph over 26-year-old Dan Evans, his Birmingham-born rival, who is ranked in the world's top 100, is likely to put up more of a fight.

However, it was not long ago that he had the same ranking as Willis – 772 in the world.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"Evans has enjoyed a remarkable run in the past year, climbing more than 650 places up the world rankings since... May 2015," says the BBC.

Andy Murray has once again thrown his weight behind the challenger, who has played alongside the Scottish tennis star in the Davis Cup.

"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," writes Murray in his BBC column. "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.

"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," he adds.

Evans booked his date on Centre Court with victory over 30th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine and will be hoping for another upset against the "Greatest Of All Time".

However, Murray is likely to be the only Briton left in the singles draw at the end of the day, unless 23-year-old Tara Moore can spring a surprise when she takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova, the former French and US Open champion and 13th seed.

Moore won her first grand slam match on Tuesday, beating Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium. The Wimbledon website says today's game will be "an exciting step up for the British wild card, who lives in London with her 'tennis ball-loving dog'".

It will also help Moore's bank balance. "She’s effectively earned twice as much from reaching the second round here than she's made over the rest of the season but Kuznetsova, an all-court artist who's still a pleasure to watch, is eyeing her best run here since reaching the quarters in 2007," adds the site.

Federer ends Marcus Willis's Wimbledon fairytale

30 June

Leicester won the Premier League and Iceland knocked England out of Euro 2016, but there was no fairytale ending at Wimbledon as Roger Federer ended Britain's Marcus Willis dream yesterday.

It would have been the upset of the millennium had the world number 772 triumphed on Centre Court and in truth, no-one really expected it to happen. However, that did not stop the 25-year-old Briton enjoying his moment in the sun.

Above the entrance to Centre Court is inscribed a line from Rudyard Kipling's If, warning players to treat twin imposters triumph and disaster just the same.

"Following the instructions almost to the letter, the nation's new unlikely sporting hero, Marcus Willis, might have lost out in the most memorable tennis experience of his life but he did it with a smile on his face," says Barry Flatman of The Times.

"Both players and spectators alike loved every second of arguably the most surreal second-round match played for many years. Few competitors in the history of the most hallowed arena in the sport have been afforded a standing ovation lasting several minutes after losing so comprehensively, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4."

Despite the first set blow-out, no doubt brought on by nerves, Willis performed admirably, says Simon Briggs in the Daily Telegraph. "Once the panic had subsided, he showed off his full kitbag of tricks, as well as his larger-than-life personality. Yes, he plays the fool, but somewhere in his shambling shtick there lies a core of real tennis skill: he could not have won his last seven matches without it.

"He won 65 points yesterday, and only 14 of those came via Federer errors," he continues. "A much greater number stemmed from something spectacular: a drop-volley, a slapped backhand pass or a magical lob. Crowd-pleasing is too mild a word: this was stirring stuff."

Willis may not have beaten the Swiss legend, but he won over Centre Court in a way few others ever have done when Federer is in town.

"The only time in recent years you could remember something comparable was the final of the 2012 Olympics, when the home fans roared Andy Murray to a gold medal," says Mike Dickson of the Daily Mail.

"[Willis's] most treasured memory will be the spectacular lob he played in the third game that helped bring around a break point. It left Federer stranded and brought the Centre Court crowd to its feet."

Afterwards, Willis declared himself ready for a beer - but also made it clear his Wimbledon experience had renewed his love of the game.

"This is where I want to play and I want to be a top 100 tennis player. I think I’m good enough but now I’ve got to keep working hard as I have been doing," he said.

As for Federer? Ever the gentleman, he praised Willis and remarked on his reading of the game as well as his slice and chip shots. It was, he said, a match he would definitely remember.

Marcus Willis vs Roger Federer: Shoes off for Cartman vs the Greatest

29 June

Britain's Marcus Willis may not have much of a chance against Roger Federer at Wimbledon this afternoon, but the 25-year-old qualifier and his fans have been making the most of their moment in the spotlight ahead of the eagerly anticipated clash on Centre Court - billed as Cartman vs the Greatest of All Time.

Willis, ranked 772 in the world and the last man to qualify for this year's tournament, stunned the world number 53 Ricardis Berankis in the first round, winning in straight sets to set up today's meeting.

His fans, "the Will Bombs", who cheered the Berkshire-based player throughout Monday's match, have set up their own Twitter account in which they encourage fellow fans, for no apparent reason, to remove their shoes to show their support.

See more

Willis even has a celebrity supporter in the form of Andy Murray, who played at tournaments with him when they were both juniors.

"It's just a great story that's happened to a really good fun guy and it's nice that the public seem to have taken to him," writes Murray in his BBC column. "If he was an absolute prat, I'm sure some people would just think, 'He's an idiot, I'm not interested', but he's definitely the kind of person who deserves this moment.

"I haven't seen Marcus much over the last four or five years but whenever I've spent any time with him, he just makes you smile and laugh. I don't know anyone that doesn't like him."

Today's clash with Federer will be a collision between two very different lives and careers, notes the BBC.

The 34-year-old Swiss has won a record 17 Grand Slam titles and is one of only eight men to complete the career Grand Slam.

Since turning professional, Willis has reached a highest ranking of 322 in the summer of 2014.

Federer has earned £74m in prizemoney during his career. "Willis, who still lives at home with his parents in Berkshire, has made a more modest living," says the Beeb. "The Briton's earnings are more than 1,000 times less than Federer's. Before Wimbledon, he had only earned £220 in prize money during 2016. Over the same period Federer has pocketed over £633,000."

See more

His training regime also appears to be a little different, with YouTube footage from 2014 showing him enjoying a chocolate bar and a can of cola during a match.


Briton Marcus Willis brings romance to day one of Wimbledon

28 June

A Briton provided the headlines on the first day of Wimbledon - and it wasn't Andy Murray nor James Ward, who lost to defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Instead the toast of SW19 was Marcus Willis, a 25-year-old qualifier who is ranked just 772 in the world.

While Ward was dispatched 6-0, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours by the world number one, Willis cornered the market for romance as he beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in straight sets to earn a second-round showdown against Roger Federer.

It was a remarkable achievement for the formerly unknown player, who had been on the brink of abandoning the sport before being persuaded to give it another shot by his girlfriend earlier this year.

"Fairytale wins for British players here generally happen only in films," says The Guardian. Willis "produced a storyline straight out of Hollywood".

The player was thinking of moving to the US in February to become a coach when he met dental surgeon Jennifer Bate at an Ellie Goulding concert, recounts the paper.

"Bate told him he was an idiot to give up and, having scrambled into pre-qualifying as the last man in the draw, he promptly won three matches to reach the main qualifying event, then another three to qualify for the main draw of a grand slam for the first time."

Day one of the tournament saw Willis - once known as Cartman, from South Park, due to his weight - vanquish world number 54 Berankis in front of his girlfriend, his mum and a group of friends from Loughborough University.

Bate "had not expected to make it to the match, but she took her seat just in time after her work appointments were cancelled at the last minute", reports the Daily Telegraph.

"Roared on by a vocal group of supporters – known as the Berkshire Bulldogs – Willis, who was born in Slough, saw off Berankis 6-3 6-3 6-4. The Briton smiled and laughed, punching his fist and singing along with his supporters as he saved 19 of 20 break points and broke the Berankis serve five times."

After the win, Willis clambered into the stands to celebrate with his supporters. Among those happy to congratulate him was Britain's number one Murray, who had played with Willis in the junior leagues.

See more

"Until Monday his career earnings stood at $95,129 and his 2016 earnings were $356 (£269 and falling quickly). He will now take on Federer, surely on Centre Court," notes the Guardian.

He will also earn £50,000 for his trouble and who knows what he can achieve.

"I'm going to go out there and try to win the match," said Willis. "I probably won't – but I'm going to give everything, as I have the last seven matches."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.