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'If I win tomorrow, there might be a bit more than my t-shirt coming off!'

Scott Evans has joked that a victory against the world number four could prompt him to bare all.

Scott Evans celebrates his victory over Brazil's Ygor Coelho de Oliveira.
Scott Evans celebrates his victory over Brazil's Ygor Coelho de Oliveira.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IRISH BADMINTON STAR Scott Evans is in buoyant form ahead of his round-of-16 match at the Olympic Games on Monday.

The 28-year-old Dubliner overcame Brazilian Ygor Coelho de Oliveira with a three-set victory on Saturday night in Rio, prompting wild celebrations.

And speaking to RTÉ, the Team Ireland athlete joked: “If I win tomorrow, there might be a bit more than my t-shirt coming off!”

On Monday, he is set to face a formidable rival in Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, who is ranked fourth in the world, and is an opponent he regularly trains with and therefore knows very well.

Yet while he admits he is facing a “big challenge,” Evans says he is in the “best shape of my life” on what is “probably the biggest week of my life”.

The three-time Olympian has gained a reputation at these Games for taking his t-shirt off to celebrate wins, and Evans says it is a spur-of-the-moment reaction.

I didn’t even think about it. I just took the shirt off, looked at my mum and dad, a couple of friends in the crowd as well.

“Last night, I probably played a bit of a show because the crowd were destroying me the whole game. It was just to spur them on a little bit more.

“I saw some videos this morning — my coach wasn’t too happy about it. I think he was more worried about what might happen after the game.”

Evans was up against a hostile, partisan crowd who were naturally hoping Brazilian Oliveira could pull off a win, and the Irish star admits the challenging atmosphere affected him at times.

I started out well. My gameplan was to go from the beginning with high speed. I knew if I kept the speed at a high pace, he wouldn’t be able to stay with me. That’s what happened in the first set.

“The crowd just hit me at the beginning of the second set. I just really struggled from there and I had to try to find my feet again. I was lucky enough to do that towards the end of the second set.

I was confident I could go into third and take it, but that crowd was absolutely unbelievable.

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“I’ve never experienced anything like it. I was saying to myself no matter what, just try to get your game going and try to enjoy this atmosphere, because it’s not every day you get to play in front of a crowd like this, even though they were booing me all the time.”

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Paul Fennessy

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