British number four Dan Evans has been banned from tennis for 12 months after testing positive for cocaine, the International Tennis Federation has confirmed.
The 27-year-old has had his punishment backdated to when he first gave the sample, meaning he can return to the sport from 24 April 2018. The Birmingham-born player was not made aware of the test in June, but will lose all rankings points and prize money earned prior to being suspended.
Evans escaped with a reduced penalty after convincing the ITF that the medication in his washbag had become contaminated with remnants of some leftover cocaine he had taken prior to the Barcelona Open earlier this year.
His urine sample showed up a minute amount of the substance, suggesting Evans had ingested no more than between 1-3mg of cocaine – an amount consistent with mistaken consumption.
The contrition shown by the 2015 Davis Cup winner and his otherwise clean disciplinary record saw what could have been a two-year ban cut in half, meaning he is free to return to competition next year. However, Evans never denied taking cocaine outside of competition and is unlikely to appeal the ruling.
"I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this difficult period," he said. "I am determined to return to the sport I love and compete at the level I know I can in the not too distant future."