The run-up to Wimbledon just took a surprising turn when Daniel Evans, the world #50, confirmed that he failed a drugs test by testing positive for cocaine in April.
The 27-year old from Birmingham revealed this at a press conference today, where he said that the failed test was the result of an event “completely unrelated to tennis.” Evans also said that he had “let a lot of people down,” and that he would need to learn a very hard lesson. The Tennis Anti-Doping Agency (TADP) confirmed in a statement that the initial incriminating sample came on the 24th April in the wake of the Barcelona ATP 500 Tournament. Evans will almost certainly not play at SW19, which will be a huge disappointment to British tennis fans, further diminishing the chances of British success.
If past cases of recreational drug abuse are anything to go by, Evans looks set to endure a lengthy spell away from the game, with punishments ranging from a one to two-year ban. Martina Hingis tested positive for cocaine back in 2007, sparking a two-year ban. Richard Gasquet also tested positive for cocaine in 2009, having said that he kissed a lady who had consumed the substance in a nightclub.
Sadly for the British #3, this is not the first time he has tested the tennis authorities in a disciplinary sense. Throughout his career, he has been no stranger to controversy. He was twice stripped of his Lawn Tennis Association funding at an early stage in his career due to off-court controversies, and has struggled to find form since he reached a career-high ranking of #41 in March.
Evans seemed to have turned a page in his career at the Australian Open this year, where he reached the 4th round, but his most recent scandal seems to have lost him the trust of players and fans alike. The timing of the revelation has also left critics surprised, especially with Wimbledon, Evans’ “home” Grand Slam, a mere week away. It seems as though Evans cannot quite shake off the “nearly man” tag that has accompanied him throughout his career, and if he is to get back to the sport in a meaningful sense, the road to recovery will be a long one. He is clearly talented, but has lacked the sufficient guidance and coaching that could effectively take him to the next step in his development.