British number three Dan Evans has revealed he failed a drugs test in April after testing positive for cocaine.
Evans, who is ranked 50th in the world, will now miss Wimbledon next month and could face a ban of up to four years.
The 27-year-old called a press conference at the Novotel hotel in London yesterday afternoon where, in a 70-second statement, he said he took the substance out of competition and for reasons “completely unrelated to tennis”.
Evans said: “This is a very difficult day for me and I wanted to come here in person to tell you guys face to face.
“I was notified a few days ago that I failed a drugs test in April where I tested positive for cocaine.
“It’s really important you know this was taken out of competition and the context was completely unrelated to tennis.
“I made a mistake and I must face up to it. I do not condone for one second to anyone that this was acceptable behaviour.
“I’ve 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 an extremely sad and humbling experience.”
An ITF statement said Evans’ positive test was confirmed at the Barcelona Open and the player was charged on 16 June with an anti-doping violation.
The statement added: “As positive tests for non-specified substances carry a mandatory provisional suspension, Mr Evans will be provisionally suspended with effect from 26 June, under Article 8.3.1(c) of the 2017 TADP, pending determination of the case.”
The key ruling of the World Anti-Doping Code is Article 10.2.3, which says a ban for a “non-specified stimulant” like cocaine can be reduced from four to two years if “the player can establish that it was used out-of-competition in a context unrelated to sport performance”.
Five-time grand slam singles champion Martina Hingis was banned from the sport for two years in 2008 after she tested positive for cocaine.
Frenchman Richard Gasquet had been issued with the same suspension in 2009 but it was reduced to a little more than two months when the ITF’s tribunal panel ruled he had taken the substance inadvertently. LTA performance director Simon Timson said: “We are very disappointed at the news that Dan Evans has tested positive for a recreational substance. We absolutely condemn any form of drug-taking.”