Doping ban served to Cilic

Updated: 2013-09-18 07:50

By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily)

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Croatian suspended nine months for positive test at Munich event

Croatia's Marin Cilic has been handed a nine-month doping ban by the International Tennis Federation.

The 24-year-old, ranked No 24 in the world, has had the ban backdated to May 1 this year, meaning he will be able to return to action on Feb 1.

Cilic's doping violation came when he tested positive for the stimulant nikethamide at the Munich Open in May.

Doping ban served to Cilic

Doping ban served to Cilic

"The International Tennis Federation announced today that Marin Cilic has been found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation under article 2.1 of the tennis anti-doping program (presence of a prohibited substance in a player's sample)," a statement from the ITF confirmed on Monday.

Cilic, a former world No 9 and 2010 Australian Open semifinalist, provided a urine sample during the Munich event and a WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal found it to contain nikethamide, which is banned.

The Croatian, who said he would appeal his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, claimed he was unaware Coramine tablets he bought contained nikethamide, for which he did not hold a valid therapeutic use exemption.

"The substance in question originated from a glucose tablet purchased at a pharmacy in France. Unbeknownst to me, the glucose tablets contained a substance that is banned in competition," Cilic said in a statement.

"I wish to emphasize that I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any banned substances in my life and that I am opposed to any use of performance-enhancing substances in sport."

An independent tribunal agreed that Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the tablets and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so.

Therefore he met the preconditions of article 10.4 of the program, which entitles him to a reduction of the period of ineligibility based on an assessment of his fault.

As well as the ban "it was also determined that Mr Cilic's results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events," the ITF statement said.

"Mr Cilic's results subsequent to the BMW Open (in Munich), up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension are also disqualified, and the ranking points and prize money forfeited.

"A fully-reasoned decision will follow in due course."

Following the Munich Open, Cilic was knocked out of the French Open in the third round by Viktor Troicki, who coincidentally was also banned in July for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.

Cilic then reached the final at Queen's where he lost to Andy Murray before withdrawing from Wimbledon, where he was seeded 10th, with a knee injury.

He withdrew before his second-round match against Kenny de Schepper.

(China Daily 09/18/2013 page22)