The pro you don’t know: Evan King

The pro you don’t know: Evan King

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BY MATT RUDNITSKY
Daily Sports Writer

We all know Denard Robinson

Just like we all know Mike Martin, Darius Morris, Tim Hardaway Jr. and every other Michigan athlete with a legitimate shot at becoming a successful pro athlete.

They look the part, don’t blend in and can’t even walk through the Diag without turning a few nearby students into the likes of 12-year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert.

But what most students don’t realize is that there is a guy on campus who already is a professional athlete — sort of.

That guy is sophomore Evan King, No. 1 singles player for the No. 22 Michigan men’s tennis team.

A guy who has been virtually everywhere that matters in tennis, from Michigan’s own Varsity Tennis Center on State Street all the way to the All-England Club in the Wimbledon district of London, England.

But nobody in Ann Arbor seems to notice.

The funny thing is that before Evan King became the Wolverines’ top-ranked singles player, he was in the spotlight.

Now? Not so much.

At a school dominated by football, hockey and basketball, a tennis star isn’t exactly hounded all day by star-struck students, no matter how talented he is.

“I’ll run into a couple people (on campus) who played tournaments around the Midwest and ended up coming here,” King said. “They’re like, ‘Hey, I’m a tennis fan, I know about you — you’re a top recruit!’ But it’s extremely rare.”

But before college, King was featured on the cover of RISE magazine (now ESPN RISE) and even served on a committee supporting Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid.

“It was just a bunch of hometown people who would have been the right age in 2016, in their prime, to be in the Olympics.” King said. “It was a great experience because we got to speak in front of the Olympic committee, show off our skills just a little bit, kind of demo stuff around.

“It was fun to meet a bunch of different world-class athletes that were my same age.”

While King might downplay the experience, it’s pretty clear what it meant.

At just 16 years old, the kid was considered a future Olympian. But in Ann Arbor, he’s more anonymous than the guys who produced the “The Pursuit of Jappiness” video.

Standing at the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, sliding across the fresh red clay of Roland Garros and patrolling the most famous courts in our country at Flushing Meadows would make any tennis player weak in the knees. It just doesn’t get any better.

But at 19 years old, Evan King has done it all.

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