Tennis

Published: Sunday July 20, 2014 MYT 11:39:00 PM
Updated: Sunday July 20, 2014 MYT 11:51:18 PM

Troicki makes return from doping ban at Gstaad

Serbian Viktor Troicki has served his year-long ban for a doping offence and will be back in action at the Swiss Open on Monday. - Filepic

Serbian Viktor Troicki has served his year-long ban for a doping offence and will be back in action at the Swiss Open on Monday. - Filepic

GSTAAD (Switzerland) AFP: Viktor Troicki will make his return to tennis when his controversial one-year doping ban ends on Monday, with the Serb playing on a late wild card entry at the Swiss Open in Gstaad.

Troicki was awarded his wild card only hours before the weekend draw, with the 28-year-old set to put his career back on track as he starts in the first round against Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem.

Troicki drew his ban for delaying a mandatory blood test at Monte Carlo in April, 2013 by a day, saying he felt ill.

Despite having blood drawn a day later, he was banned for a year.

After reaching a career high of 12 in the world and helping Serbia win the Davis Cup in 2010, the 28-year-old Troicki is now ranked at 842 in the world.

"Honestly, it's been a tough year," Troicki, whose original 18-month ban was cut to 12 on appeal, told CNN.

"Mentally it was tough to handle everything but as time went on, I started preparing and practicing, and I was focused on my comeback and new start - and looking forward to it."

Troicki also praised the support of teammate and world number one Novak Djokovic with whom he practiced while he waited out his ban.

"Novak helped me a lot when he had weeks of preparation, he always invited me," he said Troicki. "He really did a lot for me and I will never forget that."

The claycourt event at Gstaad is headed by Russian title-holder Mikhail Youzhny, the top seed, who cannot seem to get enough of the lush alpine village venue.

Youzhny will be competing for the eighth year in a row and ninth overall in Gstaad as he returns following his title win in 2013 against Dutchman Robin Haase.

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