Wimbledon: Evan Hoyt's journey from Mexico to Wimbledon via Llanelli

Evan Hoyt is from Llanelli
Evan Hoyt's career has been hampered by a serious shoulder injury

Evan Hoyt's first appearance as a senior player at Wimbledon follows an unconventional journey.

At 24 years of age - and eight years since making headlines as a junior in 2011 - he will partner Luke Johnson in the first round of the men's doubles on Thursday, 4 July.

Hoyt and Johnson's original opponents, Spanish pair Fernando Verdasco and Pablo Andujar, were late withdrawals.

Instead the British pair will take on Nicholas Monroe and Mischa Zverev in a match that will mark a significant waypoint on Hoyt's career path.

Hoyt will also play in the mixed doubles first round alongside fellow Briton Eden Silva where the pair face India's Leander Paes and Australian Samantha Stosur.

Paes is a four-time Wimbledon mixed doubles champ, while Stosur has also won two titles in this event at SW19.

Hoyt developed an early interest in the sport after being born to his Welsh mother, Cathy, and American father, Tom, while they were teaching in Torreon, a city in northern Mexico.

Tom Hoyt takes up the tale: "My wife and I met teaching internationally - my wife Cathy is from Llanelli. I'm from a few miles west of Llanelli, I grew up in Flint, Michigan.

"Cathy and I taught at a school in Mexico where they gave us membership at a very nice tennis club.

"We both started playing tennis so Evan was born while we were teaching there.

"He naturally was just around lots of tennis rackets and balls and it kind of went from there."

But it was in Llanelli, a town more synonymous with raucous support for the rough and tumble of rugby union than the polite appreciation of Wimbledon, that Hoyt's tennis talent was first spotted.

"I think when he was seven or eight, playing sponge-ball tennis at school, he was very successful at that and represented a west Wales team that won the Welsh championship - and all the boys and girls on the team got to go to Wimbledon as a prize for winning that competition," Tom Hoyt told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

Evan Hoyt factfile
Born: 16 January, 1995 in Torreon, Mexico
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand
Home town: Llanelli
ATP singles ranked: 503
ATP doubles ranked: 333

"He then started getting selected for initially a Carmarthenshire squad - he used to play in a barn in Carmarthen and he just kept moving up the ranks, I guess."

Moving up the ranks included a second-round defeat on his Junior Wimbledon debut in 2011, followed by a practice session against then-reigning champion Rafael Nadal which brought Hoyt to a wider audience.

Eight years later and he will become the first Welsh competitor at senior level at Wimbledon since Rebecca Llewellyn in 2006.

His hopes of a singles appearance ended in qualifying, but he and Johnson were given a wildcard to enter the men's doubles.

Hoyt senior is backing his son to impress.

Evan Hoyt and Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2011
Evan Hoyt helped Rafael Nadal prepare for a Wimbledon match in 2011

"Evan's a fantastic doubles player so he's always got a chance.

I might as well say it, they (Hoyt and Johnson) can win it all."

To back up Tom's optimism, Evan and Johnson would have to negotiate a side of the draw that could includes pairs involving Andy Murray and Jamie Murray .

But Tom is looking no further than that first-round encounter.

"It's a really exciting match for us to go out and play and I know we have all the chances to come through that one," he said.

"When I had a quick look at the draw, I did see the Murray brothers' names sandwiched either side of us, but we're going to take it one match at a time."

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