Tennis: British player Dan Evans banned for one year after positive cocaine test…

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Tennis player Dan Evans has been banned for one year after testing positive for cocaine, which he accidentally mixed with the medication in his washbag.

British number four Evans provided the positive sample before competing at the Barcelona Open on April 24. His suspension has been back-dated to begin from that date.

The 27-year-old will therefore be free to return to competition from April 24 2018.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) explained the suspension saying that because cocaine is not performance enhancing and it was taken outside of competition, a potential four year ban was reduced to 12 months.

They also said that Evans ‘promptly admitted his violation’ and then accepted his explanation of how the cocaine got into his system adding that he bore ‘no significant fault or negligence for the violation.’

Along with the suspension, Evans has also had to forfeit €103,890 (£92,205) of prize money and the ranking points gained between the date of the test and the announcement of the positive finding in late June.

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According to the decision announced by the ITF on Tuesday, Evans said ‘leftover’ cocaine had accidentally mixed with permitted medication on the ‘same pocket of his washbag’.

Evans also said that he took those tablets daily from April 20 2017 to April 24 2017 – the date on which he provided his sample.

Expert Dr Pascal Kintz successfully proved that the amount of cocaine ingested by Evans was no more than 1-3 mg – a quantity which was ‘inconsistent with knowing ingestion and consistent instead with inadvertent contamination’.

Before the incident, Evans had reached a career high of 41 but is now down to 108th and will slip even further down the rankings before he is eligible to return to competition in April 2018.

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Tennis: World no.2 Murray unlikely to play again this season…

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Unlikely to play again in 2017: Andy Murray

World number two tennis player Andy Murray is likely to miss the rest of the season because of an ongoing hip injury.

The 30-year-old pulled out of the US Open just two days before the start of the tournament and has not picked up a racket since losing out to American Sam Querrey in five sets at the Wimbledon Championships in July.

He has also withdrawn from October’s ATP tour events in Beijing and Shanghai, and will also likely miss the tournaments in Vienna and Paris later in the month.

In a statement posted on social media, the Scot said he will begin the 2018 season at the Brisbane International on January 1. This will be preparation for the Australian Open, which begins on January 15.

“I’m confident after this extended period of rest and rehabilitation I will be able to reach my best level again and be competing for Grand Slam titles next season,” Murray said.

“I have a fantastic team working alongside me to help me through this process and appreciate the support from them and all of my fans over this difficult period.”

Murray had travelled to New York with the expectation of playing in the US Open. He had practiced all week in preparation but withdrew on August 26.

On Wednesday, Murray said he had consulted with a number of leading hip specialists, as well as his own team before deciding not to play in the China Open and Shanghai Masters – two tournaments where he is the reigning champion.

Murray is also the regining champion at both the Vienna Open and Paris Masters and moved to world number one by reaching the final of the latter event last November. He was overtaken in the rankings by Spain’s Rafael Nadal in August.

He had also revealed during Wimbledon that he had suffered with a sore hip since his early twenties and that the injury became more significant following his French Open semi final defeat to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in June.

Tennis: British player Dan Evans reveals positive drugs test…

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Positive test: British tennis player Dan Evans

British number three Dan Evans has revealed that he tested positive for cocaine in a drugs test taken in April.

27-year-old Evans, who has played for Great Britain in the Davis Cup, learned of the failed test earlier this week and said he had ‘let a lot of people down’.

According to International Tennis Federation (ITF) rules, a player can be banned for up to four years for an anti-doping violation.

Tennis’ governing body said that Evans provided the positive sample at the Barcelona Open on April 24 and he will be provisionally suspended from June 26.

Speaking about the test, Birmingham-born Evans said: ‘It’s really important you know this was taken out of competition and in a context completely unrelated to tennis.

‘I do not condone for one second to anyone that this is acceptable behaviour.

‘I have 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.’

He last played on June 10 at Surbiton, where he retired with a calf injury, before withdrawing from events in Nottingham, London and Eastbourne.

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Evans was ranked 772nd in the world in April 2015 but had reached a career-high of 41st in March this year.

He lost all three of his matches last month, failing to make it past the first round at the French Open, Madrid Open and Rome Masters.

The governing body of British Tennis, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), has said it was ‘very disappointed’ by the news.

Performance director Simon Timson said: ‘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.’

How long will Evans be banned?

Evans has accepted the findings and according to the ITF, his ban will begin on Monday ‘pending determination of the case’.

According to the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme guidelines, a ban of two years is possible if it can be proved that the substance was taken ‘in a context unrelated to sport performance’.

Spanish player Jose-Manuel Roman Gomez was given a four-year ban after testing positive for cocaine in 2015, while Frenchman Richard Gasquet had a two-year ban overturned in 2009 after an ITF panel accepted his claim that the substance was in his system after he kissed a woman who had taken the drug in a nightclub.

Former world number one Martina Hingis was given a two-year ban in 2008 after also testing positive for cocaine while competing at Wimbledon the previous year.