Friday 22 September 2017

British tennis player Dan Evans reveals he failed a drugs test after testing positive for cocaine

Dan Evans of Great Britain reacts in his match against Robin Haase of Netherlands during day three of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis at La Caja Magica on May 8, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Dan Evans of Great Britain reacts in his match against Robin Haase of Netherlands during day three of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis at La Caja Magica on May 8, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Tom Allnutt

British number three Dan Evans has revealed he failed a drugs test in April after testing positive for cocaine.

Evans, who is ranked 50th in the world, claims he took the illegal substance out of competition and for reasons "completely unrelated to tennis".

The 27-year-old called an impromptu press conference at the Novotel hotel in London on Friday afternoon where he took no questions but made a statement.

Evans said: "This is a very difficult day for me and 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. It's really important you know this was taken out of competition and the context was completely unrelated to tennis.

"I made a mistake and I must face up to it. I do not condone for one second to anyone that this was acceptable behaviour.

"I've 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 an extremely sad and humbling experience."

Evans climbed into the world's top 50 earlier this year after an excellent upturn in results, which included reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open in January. In May 2015, he had dropped as low as 772nd.

The International Tennis Federation was preparing a statement and will now decide Evans' punishment.

Five-time grand slam singles champion Martina Hingis was banned from the sport for two years in 2008 after she also tested positive for cocaine.

Frenchman Richard Gasquet, meanwhile, had been issued with the same suspension in 2009 but it was reduced to a little more than two months when the ITF's tribunal panel ruled he had taken the substance inadvertently.

Former British number one Greg Rusedski tested positive for nandrolone in 2003 but was later cleared.

Rusedski, speaking as an analyst for Eurosport, said: "It's very sad news.

"As humans we make mistakes and things happen like this but I'm wondering what the authorities will do with him.

"This is not the first time we've heard about tennis players getting a ban for cocaine so hopefully he can clean up his life and get help if it's a problem.

"The ban could be anything from six months to two years so it's quite a serious charge at the moment. Hopefully he has good representatives that can help him out and hopefully he'll learn his lesson."

An ITF statement said Evans' positive test occurred at the Barcelona Open and the player was charged on June 16 with an anti-doping violation.

The statement added: "As positive tests for non-specified substances carry a mandatory provisional suspension, Mr Evans will be provisionally suspended with effect from 26 June, under Article 8.3.1(c) of the 2017 TADP, pending determination of the case."

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