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(CNN) -- Languishing in the tennis equivalent of purgatory, the road to redemption for Viktor Troicki is likely to be a long one.

The Serb returns to the professional tour after his contentious one-year doping suspension ended Monday, but at a time when he should be in his prime Troicki is ranked 842nd -- or in tennis' abyss.

That means, without wildcards, he'll struggle to get into ATP and even second-tier events.

It's a world away from when Troicki was ranked 12th or when he became only the seventh man in the Open Era to win the decisive fifth match in a Davis Cup final.

"Honestly, it's been a tough year," Troicki told CNN in a telephone interview. "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."

From a financial standpoint, many might not have much sympathy for the 28-year-old.

After all, he claimed $900,000 in prize money in 2011 and has pocketed $4.5 million in his career.

Even taking into account expenses, he's probably made a nice profit, and Troicki acknowledged that during his time away from the game, he's been able to live a "normal" life.



Early in his suspension, it was too painful for Troicki to watch tennis, he said, but he has done more of that in the last few months.

Djokovic, meanwhile, has continued to help Troicki.

After defending Troicki at the year-end championships, Djokovic has then practiced with his fellow Belgrade native. According to Troicki, some of their hitting sessions took place in Dubai, Miami and Monte Carlo -- just before qualifying began at those events.

Under the terms of his ineligibility, Troicki wasn't breaking any rules.

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


Gstaad denied him a WC. 'Swiss players have priority'

Matching his monetary success of 2011 won't happen for a while.

"Financially it's been terrible," Troicki said. "When I start playing I won't be able to compete at the level I was, at the biggest tournaments, biggest prize moneys."

He tried to get a wild card into the main draw at next week's ATP Swiss Open in Gstaad but was unsuccessful, and unless there are no shows, can't get into qualifying, either.

The first priority for wild cards in qualifying are given to Swiss players, vice tournament director Julien Finkbeiner told CNN.

Yet, "it would be a good thing for us if he gets into the main draw," Finkbeiner said, presumably because of Troicki's standing as a former top-15 pro.


"He's going to need wild cards into anything, Futures even," said Reader, referring to the third rung of tennis' professional ladder where some titlists in the first week of July received about $2,000.

That's a huge initial huge wage cut for Troicki given first-round losers at Wimbledon pick up $46,000.


Troicki's suspension came with at least one positive.

He went back to school, studying sports management at Alfa University in Belgrade, and Reader said the rest Troicki's body received should add a "couple of years" to his career.

"It will take me another three or four years to graduate," Troicki said. "It was the first time I thought about what to do with myself after my tennis career because you stop doing what you love and all of a sudden I don't have anything.

A degree is "something that could be useful after my career," Troicki continued.

But for now, Troicki's goal is to re-establish himself at the elite level.

Troicki said he has been drug tested multiple times in the last year.

If he's unwell and asked to take a blood test again at a tournament, he knows what he'd do.

"Well, I would definitely do it," he said. "If I was told I must definitely do it or else I'd get a ban, I would have done it back then.

"For sure I learned a huge lesson. I will definitely pay more attention to this and try for it not to happen again."


Troicki still ponders the ordeal -- and "often."


"I think about it a lot, I can't lie," said Troicki, who took his blood test the next day. "For me it just feels unfair because I know what really happened in there. I know I never wanted to cheat. In the end I was totally clean and that's what hurts me.

"She informed me wrong and I paid a big bill for that. I was always compliant with the rules and anti-doping system."

Jack Reader, Troicki's coach, went as far as to say that what happened was "disgusting."

"It's laughable, it's disgusting, it's incredible how it is," Reader told CNN. "He followed her advice. Okay, he was negligent of the rules, but not a year's worth.

"I think it's unbelievably exaggerated the whole thing. Now we're moving on and we'll just prove to people something else."

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/17/sport/tennis/troicki-tennis-doping-return/index.html?hpt=ite_t1
 

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Troicki is a victim of the corrupt ITF/ATP and I will support him all the way.
 

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Looks like Ch main draw WC and qualies and futures main draw for now with 842 ranking
 

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Come on Troicki :rocker2:
 

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It is going to be a long way back. I still can't decide if he was simply stupid not to take test, or he was truly mislead. One way or another, he was severely punished.
 

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If he was some top player he would have got 6 month ban to build his ranking again :unsure:
Maybe even the official version would have been an "injury" just like it was with Cilic before his coach told the truth. I wonder if he didn't :) :awww: ATP|ITF :hug:
 

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Looks like Ch main draw WC and qualies and futures main draw for now with 842 ranking
His 20 points that are keeping him at 842 will drop off in 10 days after Umag. He'll have 0 points and no ranking. I mean ffs, is he really going to play futures qualies?

On a bright side, maybe you can get into a futures qualies and play him? :D Wouldn't it be fun to get double bageled by a former #12 in the world?

But I'm sure Beijing will give him a WC (on Novak's ask/demand).
 

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Who cares whaaaaa
 

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His 20 points that are keeping him at 842 will drop off in 10 days after Umag. He'll have 0 points and no ranking. I mean ffs, is he really going to play futures qualies?

On a bright side, maybe you can get into a futures qualies and play him? :D Wouldn't it be fun to get double bageled by a former #12 in the world?

But I'm sure Beijing will give him a WC (on Novak's ask/demand).
Maybe :D

He needs to get going soon with some challenger qualies or futures main draw at least if no one is going to give him a WC

ATP Q should also be in the plan, I've seen players way lower than 842 in ATP Q draws
 

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maybe Moscow can give him WC, he is part Russian :shrug:
There must be tournaments who feel he would be a bit of a draw as a former top player, and think it might bring a few more customers in.
 

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Djokovic will probably order every tournament he enters to give Viktor a WC.
As he should, Troicki got a raw deal on this whole thing, and I hope he can get back in the top 100 just to prove a point. Muller and Bolelli managed to do it, so it's possible, as did Del Po when he came back the first time from wrist injury and also Nishikori played challengers for a bit when he was coming off an injury.

Troicki only has to win 2 or 3 futures tournaments to where he will start getting challenger WCs, and then win or do well in challengers to get ATP wild cards... the black listing will eventually cease. And starting at a lower level should knock some of the rust off.

That and he could get lucky and get into an ATP 250 qualies draw, qualify and have a good week, tournaments like Atlanta and Winston Salem aren't going to have super hard qualies draws, Bogota this past week was a joke of a qualies draw
 

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I'm sure he'll be back in the top 100 pretty quickly once he starts playing consistently.
 
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