The British No3 Dan Evans has revealed he tested positive for cocaine in April
Dan Evans, the British No3 and world No50 tennis player, revealed in a brief and emotional statement on Friday that he had failed an out-of-competition test for cocaine. He faces a lengthy ban, probably two years.
The 27-year-old from Birmingham, who has had his funding stripped twice in the past for attitude and behaviour problems, said in a hastily convened press conference in a west London hotel that lasted just a minute and a half: Hello everyone, this is a very difficult day for me. I wanted to come here in person to tell you guys face to face, I was notified a few days ago that I failed a drugs test in April, where I tested positive for cocaine. Its really important that you know this was taken out of competition and in a context completely unrelated to tennis.
I made a mistake and I must face up to it. I do not condone for one second that this was acceptable behaviour. Ive let a lot of people down: my family, my coach, my team, sponsors, British tennis and my fans. I can only deeply apologise from the bottom of my heart.
This has been a sad and humbling experience. I hope you understand that I will not be taking any questions and I would like to thank you for your support in my career, today for the good and bad times.
Martina Hingis received a two-year suspension for a similar offence in 2007, when she failed a drugs test at Wimbledon, and Richard Gasquet was given 12 months in 2009. After he had served two and a half months, an International Tennis Federation tribunal panel lifted the ban, accepting the Frenchmans story that he had inadvertently taken cocaine by kissing a woman in a nightclub.
Evans offered no excuse, and it is not known if he is preparing a defence for an appeal if, as seems certain, the ITF bans him. In a carefully worded statement , the ITF said Evans was tested in association with his participation at the Barcelona Open on 24 April. It added: That sample was analysed by a World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada, and was found to contain cocaine and its metabolite. Mr Evans will be provisionally suspended with effect from 26 June.
The Lawn Tennis Associations performance director, Simon Timson, said: We are very disappointed at the news. We absolutely condemn any form of drug-taking and will support the process which needs to take place.
We are in touch with Dan and we will offer appropriate guidance, support and education to him on how best to address the issues he now faces.
Evans, one of the most gifted young players in the country, had done well to overcome his rebellious tendencies, after falling to 772 in the ATP world Tour rankings in April 2015. He has often performed heroically for Great Britain in the Davis Cup and, intermittently over the past year, has played impressively. At the US Open last year, he had match point against Stan Wawrinka, who went on to beat Novak Djokovic in the final.
This season Evans found form on clay as well as his favoure hard court and rose to a career high of 41 in the world in March. Within a month he tested positive for cocaine which, he insists, had nothing to do with the game he can play so well.
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