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Evan King is on the show this week to discuss life at the crossroads as he decides if he’s going to drop his singles pursuits for a doubles career.
Ranked No. 420 in singles and No. 126 in doubles, King is not ready to give up on his dreams. Since graduating from the University of Michigan in 2013, the Chicago native has won six ITF titles and was ranked as high as No. 185 in singles in 2018. On the doubles court, he has won seven ATP Challengers and 22 ITF crowns, and earlier this year, he was on the cusp of breaking the Top 100.
Calling in from Austin, Texas, the 28-year-old has embraced the nomad lifestyle to the fullest, but it wasn’t always such a simple choice. In 2013 and 2014, he struggled at the ITF level and abandoned the tour for a volunteer assistant position at Michigan. Not able to give up the game, he eventually threw himself into a full-time career and played as many weeks as he could in places like Uzbekistan, India, Zimbabwe, the Dominican Republic, China, Portugal, Japan and more.
“I’m going to play 40 tournaments because the way I saw it was that if I was in the real world there are times where I don’t want to go to work, but I’ve got to suck it up and do it anyway,” King says. “I can suck it up for two hours a day and do something. And if I play 40 tournaments, 18 of them are going to be good and I’m going to have a decent ranking, and if they’re not good, I’m done.”
King on his way to the main draw from qualifying at the US Open in 2017. (Getty Images)
But now, King hasn’t had the same dedication for competing anywhere, anytime, as he faces what he calls an “identity crisis.” Though tournament options are limited for a player in his ranking bracket, there are places he could have gone, including in the United States. Instead, he’s taking his time and preparing for 2021.
“I’m still trying to figure out myself really and see what 2021 is: if I’m a doubles player or if I’m a singles player because I’m definitely going to be one or the other,” King says. “Maybe I’ll be a doubles player, maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t, but I’m still trying to figure it out.”
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