Dan Evans has described his shock Davis Cup defeat as “the hardest loss to take” as Great Britain looked to achieve victory on the final day of their qualifier in Colombia.
Evans clearly struggled with the conditions in the raucous home arena in his 6-2 2-6 6-4 upset by 253rd-ranked Nicolas Mejia on Friday, before Cameron Norrie pulled Britain level with a straight-sets defeat of Nicolas Barrientos.
“I did my best – it was obviously very difficult conditions,” Evans said.
“I played as good as I got today and it’s disappointing to lose, especially for your country with everybody supporting you – it’s the hardest loss to take.”
“But there’s a job for the weekend – it’s not just for today, that’s why it’s the three points and not just one and that’s why it’s important now we focus on Cam and hopefully get a win.”
Norrie responded by easily knocking over world number 510 Barrientos 6-2 7-5, appearing to enjoy the conditions at the Pueblo Viejo Country Club in Cota.
The 11th-ranked player said he thought the atmosphere was “great, especially as I haven’t had the experience of an away tie in a while, so it was great to have the atmosphere and I thought they were very respectful and very loud which was great”.
Norrie added: “It’s always difficult playing away and with the altitude and this surface but I really enjoyed the atmosphere and I was able to put enough balls in the court to get over the line and tomorrow’s a big day so looking forward to that.
“I think I can improve on a lot of things today going in to tomorrow. Let’s rest up and get ready for tomorrow, it’s gonna be a really big day, we’re gonna take it to them and definitely make some improvements for tomorrow.”
Captain Leon Smith said he thought his players “did a really good job considering the conditions are difficult”, but reserved special praise for Norrie.
“This is why we love Cam to bits, he’s number 11 in the world for a reason,” Smith said.
“He’s got really good experience, he’s got a great game, he competes well, his mentality is really, really good and we’re really proud of what he did out there today.”
Evans is scheduled to partner Neal Skupski against former world number one doubles pair Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the first of the matches on the second and final day on Saturday.
Norrie will then take on Mejia in the second match, with Evans’ clash against Barrientos rounding out the team’s South American trip.