• Tennis

I knew I had not tried to cheat - Cilic

ESPN staff
October 30, 2013
Cilic: Doping sanction was harsh

Marin Cilic has spoken of his "nightmare" ordeal in light of his return from a four-month doping ban, revealing any future troubles will be "nothing" compared to the stress he suffered during his suspension.

Cilic was originally suspended for nine months by the International Tennis Federeation (ITF) after testing positive for the banned nikethamide at the Munich Open in May.

Despite accepting Cilic's contention that he ingested the stimulant inadvertently and had no intention of cheating, the ITF appealed the ban handed by its own independent anti-doping tribunal and instead requested a two-year suspension from the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

However, the CAS found that Cilic's ban was "too severe in view of the degree of fault", reducing it to fourth months - backdated to May 1 - meaning that the Croatian could return to action at the Paris Masters.

Cilic beat Igor Sijsling in his first appearance on court since his exile, but admitted explaining his case in front of a panel of strangers became an incredibly sensitive and stressful procedure.

"I would call what has happened to me a nightmare because your life is not any more in your hands and you are there in the position where your career can completely turn around," Cilic told The Times. "I could have been out for two years and what would happen after that?

"That would leave a huge psychological scar, how would I even come back from that was the worst part, the complete stress I had. Also, just figuring that this thing happened -- that I was told inaccurately about the substance in my system was a huge shock for me - because all this is so sensitive.

"My life, my career is at stake and it might look as if it is just a job, but for me it is a completely different perspective. I knew I had not tried to cheat."

"Now just a moment to play on the court, it is a huge feeling. All the other problems I have in the future will be nothing after this."

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