• Tennis

Leading player hit with 18-month ban

ESPN staff
July 25, 2013
Viktor Troicki has been banned for 18 months © Getty Images

World No. 53 Viktor Troicki has been suspended for 18 months for violating the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has confirmed. The Serb did not provide a blood sample when requested during testing at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 15.

Troicki provided a urine sample at the time, but claimed he had asked to be excused from the blood test due to feeling ill, an explanation which was not accepted by the ITF.

The ban begins with immediate effect and will end on January 24, 2015. Troicki will have to forfeit all prize money and ranking points gained from the Monte Carlo Masters, where he lost in straight sets to Jarkko Nieminen in the first round.

A statement on the ITF website said that "Troicki provided a urine sample, but did not provide a blood sample. He asserted to an independent tribunal that he was assured by the Doping Control Officer (DCO) that it would be acceptable not to provide a sample on account of him feeling unwell that day.

"However, the tribunal concluded that the DCO told Troicki that she could not advise him as to whether his reason for not providing a blood sample was valid, and that no such assurances were given by her.

"Accordingly, the tribunal determined that Troicki's actions constituted a failure and a refusal to provide a blood sample, and that his explanation for not doing so did not constitute compelling justification under Article 2.3. However, the tribunal accepted that the stress that Mr Troicki was under at the time entitled him to mitigation under Article 10.5.2."

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