'I hated myself': Evans hit rock bottom during drugs ban


London (AFP)

British number one Dan Evans says he "hated himself" and was "disgusted" with his behaviour when he was suspended for drug abuse.

Evans hit rock bottom in 2017 after being handed a 12-month ban from tennis following a positive test for cocaine.

With his career in tatters, the once-promising 30-year-old sought the help of a sports psychologist, who immediately noted the notoriously volatile Evans' self-loathing.

"You still reflect on it some days, and think, 'That was stupid'. But I don't look back and hate myself like I did during the ban," Evans said of his failed drugs test on the My Sporting Mind podcast.

"When I first sat down with the sports psychologist he said I was probably one of the angriest people he had ever spoken to.

"After I came back, he said I had so much pent-up anger from the ban and how I was speaking about things.

"During some parts of the ban, you're disgusted with what you did, but you have to move on at some point, there has to be a line under the end of what you've done."

Evans initially struggled on his return to the ATP Tour and was not given a wild card into Wimbledon, forcing him to enter a pre-qualifying event played on school courts.

But Evans is finally on the road to redemption, staying out of trouble and playing well enough to reach a career-high 28th in the world rankings before the coronavirus forced tennis into hibernation.

"Coming back, I had a few issues with trying to get back to play and getting into tournaments, and I wasn't getting the easiest of help from the people I had helped before," he said.

"I had played for my country a lot, and they were not so forthcoming with helping me get back into tournaments.

"That's where the anger came from. It was difficult. But we all sat down and got it out of the way. Luckily I got back on court and that was that."