During the Monte Carlo event on April 15, Viktor Troicki had a big decision to make: give a blood sample or not give a blood sample and face possible suspension. The Serb chose the latter. Whether Troicki is a drug cheat or not remains a question as he did not test positive, but there is no question he’s a dope.
After providing a urine sample Troicki refused to submit a blood sample on account of not feeling well. Well, he won’t be feeling any better today as the ITF has slapped Troicki with an 18-month ban preventing the 27-year-old from returning to competition until January 24, 2015.
“Mr Troicki provided a urine sample, but did not provide a blood sample,” the ITF said in a statement. “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 Mr 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 Mr 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.”
Under the rule Troicki could have faced a 2-year ban for failing to adhere to the tests, but the tribunal reduced the term to 18 months.
“However, the tribunal accepted that the stress that Mr Troicki was under at the time entitled him to mitigation under Article 10.5.2.”
In an interview the AP, Troicki responded saying, “I am innocent .. I have never ever taken any prohibited substance or ever thought of doing so. I did not lie and this really hurts.”
He called the suspension “toughest moment of my career and of my life”.
“The doctor in charge of the testing told me that I looked very pale and ill, and that I could skip the test if I wrote an explanation letter to ITF about it,” Troicki said in a statement to USA Today. “She dictated the letter to me and let me go without giving blood. She was very helpful and understanding.
“Now I am being charged for refusing to undergo a blood test without justification. This is a real nightmare.
“I had a blood test from the same doping control officer the next morning. … Both negative, totally clean.”
Ranked has high as No. 12 in 2011, Troicki is currently No. 53 in the world and had reached the third round at Wimbledon just last month. Earlier today before the news broke Troicki lost in the second round at Umag to Tommy Robredo.
Upon his return in January 2015, Troicki will not have a ranking.
The ITF did not reveal if the urine sample had tested positive or not. Troicki remains adamant that the on-site doping doctor was in error. He will appeal later.
Troicki becomes the biggest drug bust of the season among four other players including Filippo Calorosi, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Dimitar Kutrovsky and recently Fernando Romboli.
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