The stigma of his 12-month drugs ban in 2017 for cocaine use still causes Dan Evans, the British number one, to feel disgusted with himself and reveals he has sought the help of a sports psychologist who described him, on their first meeting, as “one of the angriest people” he had ever spoken to.
Luckily I have got a good chance now, and I am trying to use it to its full potential. Dan Evans
“You still reflect on it some days, and think, ‘That was stupid’,” Evans, well known for being volatile and hot-tempered, told the My Sporting Mind podcast. “But I don’t look back and hate myself like I did during the ban.
“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. I just feel grateful for when I get out on the court.
“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.
“It was just that I had been banned: there is gonna be anger towards yourself and your actions.
“I left social media when it happened. I was worried what my peers would think, and the people watching. But that went away quick. All the players were really good. No one ever said anything to me in a bad way.”
The 30-year-old has certainly made amends for that stain on his career and currently sits on the 28th rung of the ATP’s world rankings having worked his way to become the national number one.
“If you get another chance, it’s probably your best chance,” he added. “If you don’t take the first one, really go after the second.
“Luckily I have got a good chance now, and I am trying to use it to its full potential.”
Initially though, he did find his return to the fray difficult having to play pre-qualifying events on school courts, his anger having been fed by the All England Club refusing to give him a wildcard into Wimbledon.
“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 continued.
“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.”