Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) offer support to Dan Evans ahead of return

Tennis
Dan Evans
Dan Evans

The Lawn Tennis Association has offered Dan Evans support as he prepares to return to tennis following his doping ban.

The former British number two was banned for a year after failing a test for cocaine in Barcelona last spring and can return to action on April 24.

Under anti-doping rules, because Evans is within two months of the end of his suspension, he can now set foot in official training facilities like the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

He had a meeting with the LTA this week and the governing body has committed to helping the 27-year-old attempt to rebuild his career.

An LTA spokesperson said: "The LTA condemns any form of doping, which has no place in our sport. We have met with Dan and he has shown genuine commitment to getting his tennis career back on track.

"Dan has reflected on his experience over the last 10 months, and would like to support the LTA's anti-doping education programme to help emerging young players avoid similar mistakes.

"We have offered a structured programme of sports science and medicine support to help Dan on his journey back into the sport he loves. Our support will be entirely dependent on a non-negotiable commitment to ongoing monitoring."

Evans appeared to have put his reputation as the bad boy of British tennis behind him as he climbed into the world's top 50 only to drop the bombshell last June that he had tested positive for the recreational drug.

Cocaine is only banned in-competition and the International Tennis Federation accepted Evans' explanation that traces of cocaine he had taken out-of-competition contaminated legal medication after being stored in the same pocket of his washbag.

The support of Davis Cup captain Leon Smith was crucial in Evans' burst into the top 100, and the Scot is eager to help once more.

Smith said in January: "I care about Dan a lot, I'm very open with that. I hope he

can come back. I don't know if he will or not because that's going to be down to him. He's talking like he wants to get back. He is a person that always needs

help and I hope he's really open to it because I want to help him."

Evans will have no ranking when he returns but the good news is he knows how to climb the standings quickly having soared from 763 in June 2015 to inside the top 100 in less than a year.

Unlike Maria Sharapova, he will not be able to rely on wild cards and will have to start on the Futures tour, the lowest level of professional tennis. There are no tournaments in Britain the week after his ban ends, with the closest hard court events in Egypt and Tunisia.

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