Tennis Opinion: Volandri Asthma Doping

by Richard Vach | January 18th, 2009, 8:37 pm

WHO IS THE DOPE, VOLANDRI OR ITF? — Italy’s Filippo Volandri has been banned for three months and will miss the Australian Open after failing a doping test. “The Tribunal found that a sample provided by Mr. Volandri on 13 March, 2008 at the ATP Tour event in Indian Wells contained salbutamol at a concentration greater than 1,000 ng/ml,” the ITF said in a statement. Volandri blames it on an inhaler he takes for treating asthma, and says he had a medical exemption certificate to use Ventolin, which contains salbutamol, to treat his condition but was deemed to have exceeded his limit. “The amount of salbutamol he inhaled was not consistent with such [exemption certification] use, and so could not be said to be proper therapeutic use,” the ITF said. “The Tribunal therefore found that a doping offence had been committed.”

The Tribunal has spoken — but is it a case of the too-heavy hand in sports doping? Volandri has not played an event since October and was scheduled to play the Aussie Open, but will instead sit on the couch and flip the remote until April 2009.

Volandri recorded a win over Roger Federer last year, now in retrospect — due to huffing the special dope! Volandri will likely appeal as…the whole thing is borderline ridiculous. Drug testing in tennis is internationally held in high regard, but isn’t this like the cop who hasn’t met his quota of tickets?

“It’s absurd,” Volandri told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Since I was seven I’ve used the same substance to cure my asthma. At the start of the Indiana Wells tournament in March I was ill and I took more of it…When I have an attack I don’t think about anti-doping and I wouldn’t wish that sense of suffocation on anyone. You feel like you are dying, you only think about getting better and breathing again.”

In addition to roughly five months out of the game, the extra squirt from the inhaler will cost the Italian $166,000 in returned prize money.

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4 Comments for Tennis Opinion: Volandri Asthma Doping

Susan Says:

Give me a break………….I also use an inhaler and it does feel like suffocation when anyone has an attack. Does medically necessary mean anything??? Believe me, I bet Volandri would give up the inhaler in a split second to get rid of his asthma. Oh no, I said “bet”……Now I’m in trouble!!!! Lighten up.

Mary Says:

It is easy for a player to claim a med(inhaler in this case) is needed. All they need is a doctor’s note. For the record, I don’t think he is faking his asthma.

Volandri is not in trouble for using the inhaler; his problem is the concentration of the banned substance that he inhaled.
These banned substances do make a difference between losing and winning. If he has been taking this medication for some time, like he claims, the only reason for it to be in excess of the limit is he put there.

I won’t get on my soapbox about how you will never see a top player snagged.

A UN moment: I’m interested in how Peer will be treated tonight. She was booed in an earlier tourny for you know her being personally responsible for bombing Gaza and all.

Colin Says:

Mary, do you remember Goran Ivanisovich saying he wouldn’t dance with Seles at the Wimbledon ball if they both won, because she was in the other former-Yugoslav bunch from his. She was very young at the time, and not what you’d call an intellectual. Not Goran’s finest moment.

Colin Says:

Sorry, that should be Ivanisovic (I think!)

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