Friday 23 March 2018

Badminton: Battling Evans no match for 'best ever'

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DUBLINER Scott Evans succumbed heavily to the man known as the 'Roger Federer of badminton', when not even a hostile reception in Wembley Arena could distract the Chinese legend.

Compared to Beijing, when every twirl of his racquet brought the sort of swoons usually reserved for movie stars and boy bands in shuttlecock-crazy China, reigning world and Olympic champion Lin Dan -- or 'Super-Dan' -- had little support, while the large Irish crowd, and even the locals, got behind Evans.

The Ranelagh man rallied bravely after losing the first game 21-8. He led 5-2 and 8-6 in the second game but then Dan won seven points in a row, and took the game 21-14.

Denmark-based world No 79 Evans had left no stone unturned in his preparations, including working with hypnotist Keith Barry, and was disgusted that he did not do better, even against the best player in the world.


"I would put him ahead of Roger Federer. He's by far the best player that's ever played badminton," he said.

"But playing him in the Olympics, in the first round, I actually thought that it was the best time to get him if I had to get him.

"But he's not making any errors at all. You've just got to be patient and play the shuttle around and I didn't really do that today."

Evans admitted that having so much support was so unusual as to be a little disconcerting.

"You don't normally walk into a hall playing against him where the support is double what he has," added Evans.

"I can't put into words what it means to me. It wasn't a good idea that I looked up and saw my brother standing up shouting for me. That really meant so much to me.

"I really thought I had it, and then you go in and I guess I got pretty overwhelmed by all the support. I was a little bit too tense and nervous."

Irish Independent

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