The Not So Unfamiliar World Of Doping In Tennis - UBITENNIS
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The Not So Unfamiliar World Of Doping In Tennis

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Maria Sharapova’s failed drug test is without a doubt a major blow to the world of tennis, who is still trying to recover from a damning report from the BBC and Buzzfeed news into match-fixing. The news of a leading tennis player failing a drug test is a shock, however, she isn’t the first and will most likely will not be the last.

The phrase ‘tennis star fails a drug test’ isn’t one that can just be applied to Sharapova. In fact, in recent years, many other players have also been embroiled in doping controversies. These include former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, doubles world No.1 Martina Hingis, 2004 French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria and many more.

Marin Cilic

In 2013 Marin Cilic was suspended from the sport after testing positive for Nikethamide. The substance was detected in a urine sample tested by anti-doping controls in Munich. The Croat maintained his innocence after arguing that a member of his team brought some Coramine glucose tablets at a local pharmacy, which contained the banned substance.

Cilic lodged an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and successfully had his suspension reduced from nine months to four. The CAS argued that the initial sanction was too severe and Cilic didn’t intend to use the substance to enhance his performance.

“The panel determined that the degree of fault committed by the athlete was inferior to that established in the [tribunal] decision,” CAS said in a statement.
“The panel also determined that the sanction imposed was too severe in view of the degree of fault and concluded that it should be reduced to four months.”

Viktor Troicki

Troicki received an initial 18-month ban for refusing to give a blood sample during the 2013 Monte Carlo Masters. Troicki said that he asked to miss the tests due to feeling unwell and his fear of needles. The Serbian also said that Dr. Elena Gorodilova told him that he could skip the test without any consequences, an accusation which Gorodilova denies.

After lodging an appeal to the CAS, Troicki’s ban was reduced to 12 months. The CAS maintained that the Serbian did commit an anti-doping violation, however, there was a degree of misunderstanding between the two parties.

Following the Incident, Troicki is still extremely critical of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and their anti-doping approach.

ITF wants to justify its existence and to show that it is getting the job done – that is why they will try to use every tiny detail against you. What terrifies me is the fact that they are determined to ruin the career of every single player they have a conflict with. Their ultimate goal is to destroy their careers by imposing the harshest punishments possible”.  He told B92.net in December 2014.

Martina Hingis

In 2007 the Swiss tennis star shocked that world when she tested positive for cocaine at the Wimbledon Championships and was suspended from the sport for two years.  Hingis maintained her innocence throughout the controversy, despite her B sample also testing positive for the substance.

In her appeal, Hingis provided a hair test that proved negative for cocaine. The test can show whether or not somebody has taken cocaine. She argued that she tested positive for the substance due to contamination, however, the CAS disagreed as she was banned for two years.

“The tribunal rejected the suggestion made on behalf of Ms Hingis that there were doubts about the identity and/or integrity of the sample attributed to her.
“The tribunal also rejected Ms Hingis’s plea of no (or no significant) fault or negligence, on the basis that no mitigation was possible as it had not been shown how the cocaine entered her system.”

Richard Gasquet

An unfortunate romantic encounter landed the Frenchman in hot water back in 2009 after he tested positive for cocaine. Traces of the substance were found in a urine sample taken during the Miami Masters. Gasquet protested his innocence by saying the substance entered his body after kissing a girl in a nightclub. He missed two months and 15 days of the tour due to the positive test, but was later reinstated following a report published by the CAS.

“while he was at fault in exposing himself to the risk of such contamination, that fault was not significant”. The panel concluded.
“It further ruled that, in the exceptional and ‘probably unique’ circumstances of the case, it would be unjust and disproportionate to impose a 12-month sanction on Mr Gasquet.”

The amount of cocaine detected was another factor. The report concluded that the amount of cocaine detected was ‘very small’.

Guillermo Coria

The former top-10 player tested positive for Nandrolone following a match at the Barcelona Open. The Argentine argued that he was only taking a multivitamin substantial at the time. He later discovered that the multivitamin was contaminated with steroids after his family paid for a private lab test. He was handed a seven-month ban and fined £65,000.

Coria, who reached the final at the 2004 French Open, later sued the New Jersey supplements company for $10 million and received an undisclosed settlement.

Other Noticeable Cases

Greg Rusedski – Nandrolone in 2004 (cleared by the CAS)
Mats Wilander – Cocaine (tested positive at 1995 French Open. suspended for three months after withdrawing appeal).
Karel Nováček – Cocaine (tested positive at 1995 French Open. suspended for three months after withdrawing appeal).
Andre Agassi – admitted using crystal methamphetamine  in 1997 (revelled in his biography that he lied about his drug use to the ATP).
Nuria Llagostera Vives – Methamphetamine (received a two-year ban in 2013).

Players currently banned for doping by the ITF

Player Name Nation Start Date Eligible From
Alves Pereira Valle, Marcela BRA 24 December 2014 24 December 2016
Basarab, Laurențiu1 ROU 12 March 2015
Gakhov, Ivan RUS 1 July 2015 1 July 2016
Garcia del Moral, Dr Luis1 ESP 10 July 2012
Janahi, Hamad Abbas UAE 27 May 2015 27 May 2017
Newport, Ryan2 USA 16 November 2005
Odesnik, Wayne USA 30 January 2015 30 January 2030
Roman Gomez, Jose-Manuel ESP 3 September 2015 3 September 2019

1 life ban
2 eligibility date to be established

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Injured Bianca Andreescu retires From Semi-Final match In Hua Hin

The Canadian was looking to book a spot in her first WTA final of the year but was forced to retire after injuring her right shoulder.

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Lesia Tsurenko booked her spot in the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire whilst down 7-6, 4-0.

 

The first set was extremely tight with the first four games being breaks of serve. Andreescu got the crucial break to lead 5-3 and served for the first set but the Ukrainian fought back to level the set at 5-5. Then Tsurenko was the one to break serve but she was able to close out the first set.

After the opener, the semi-final clash went completely one-sided with Tsurenko taking over by winning four games off the trot before Andreescu decided to call it quits. The Canadian had a medical timeout during a second set changeover.

Tsurenko gave full credit to her opponent and despite the retirement says it was a very difficult match.

“Bianca is such an amazing player she said. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today”. She said.

Tsurenko is looking to win her fifth WTA title and will be playing in her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin. She faces the China’s Lin Zhu who earlier in the day beat the number seven seed Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 38 minutes to book her spot in the final.

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The US team secure their spot in the Davis Cup Group Stage with a 4-0 win over Uzbekistan

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Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek beat Uzbekistan’s Sayniar Fayziev and Sergey Fomin 6-2 6-4 after just 52 minutes in the doubles match of the best-of five qualifier to secure the US team a spot in the 2023 Davis Cup Group Stage. 

 

Ram and Krajicek broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. The US team earned an immediate break in the first game and held their service games to win the second set 6-4. Ram praised the Uzbek team after the match. 

“Rankings-wise the Uzbek opponents are the underdogs. They are not the favourites in this match, but even in the singles they tried their best and they really fought until the end and that’s a pretty good quality to have. It helps you win matches you are not supposed to win”, said Ram. 

Denis Kudla beat Amir Milushev 6-4 6-4 to complete the 4-0 sweep.

The US team did not drop a set in four matches this weekend. 

The previous day Davis Cup rookie Mackenzie McDonald secured the first point for the US team with a 6-4 6-1 win over Fomin before Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul came back from 0-4 down in the second set to beat Khumoyun Sultanov 6-1 7-6 (8-6).

“I was excited to see Raj and Austin play today.They have practiced well all week. They had five great days of preparation and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. After that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them”, said US team captain David Nainkin.

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Cameron Norrie draws Great Britain level to 1-1 against Colombia

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Colombia and Great Britain have drawn level to 1-1 after the first two singles matches on the opening day of the Davis Cup Qualifier at altitude on clay in Bogotà. 

 

Colombia’s Nicholas Mejia clinched the first top 100 win of his career with a 6-2 2-6 6-4 victory against Daniel Evans after 2 hours and 31 minutes. 

Mejia fended off three break points in the first game of the third set. The 22-year-old Colombian player was not able to convert on two break points as Evans held serve in a marathon game to level to 4-4. 

Mejia sealed the win over Evans with his third break in the final game thanks to a backhand passing shot.

“The key to victory ? The attitude, the dedication, not getting nervous more than necessary. I have also learned a lot from previous defeats. I wanted to go out and win. I was not going to give them anything. I am very happy for the point that I was able to give to Colombia. There is a long way to go to think about victory”, said Mejia in the post-match interview. 

Cameron Norrie overcame Nicolas Barrientos 6-2 7-5 in the second singles rubber to level the tie at 1-1. 

Norrie earned an early break at the start of the first set. The British player closed out the first set 6-2 with a double break in the seventh game. 

Norrie started the second set with an immediate break in the first game. Barrientos broke straight back with his first break of the match in the second game to draw level to 1-1. The Colombian player earned five break points on return at 1-2, but Norrie held serve at deuce in a hard-fought fourth game. 

Barrientos earned another break point at 2-3, but Norrie saved it to hold serve. Norrie earned the crucial break in the 11th game to close out the second set 7-5 after a missed volley from Barrientos. 

“Especially given that we are the away team, they have got a huge advantage with us coming here on clay, at altitude, with the fans out there. That’s why we love it and that’s why we are out here playing. I really enjoyed the match today and I can improve on a lot of things going into tomorrow. I was able to put enough balls in the court to get over the line”, said Norrie. 

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