x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Yanina Wickmayer blames authorities for drugs test breach

Rising youngster insists she is not a drugs cheat and blames Belgian authorities for the breach of regulations which caused her to be banned for a year.

Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium will return to tennis as a wild card in next week's ASB Classic in Auckland.
Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium will return to tennis as a wild card in next week's ASB Classic in Auckland.

Rising youngster Yanina Wickmayer has said she is not a drugs cheat and blames Belgian doping authorities for the breach of anti-doping regulations which caused her to be banned for a year. A Belgian court and the International Tennis Federation have since suspended the bans imposed on Wickmayer and her compatriot Xavier Malisse in November for breaches of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada) whereabouts rule.

The 20-year-old right-hander will return to the sport as a wild card in next week's ASB Classic in Auckland, a warm-up for the Australian Open. Wickmayer said yesterday she was regularly drug-tested during the period she reportedly failed to inform her national anti-doping agency of her whereabouts. "Maybe I didn't fill in my whereabouts in Belgium but I got tested every two or three weeks," said Wickmayer, who rose from 71 to 16 in the world rankings this year.

"I didn't fill in that I was in Australia but I was there and I got tested. I never tested positive and I never missed a doping test. I think that is the main thing that is important. "That is why they made the system, to catch the ones who test positive and I never did." As a top 50 player, she came under Wada's whereabouts rule, which requires players to notify their whereabouts 365 days a year for out-of-competition testing.

Wickmayer said the requirements of the whereabouts rule had never been adequately explained to her and letters notifying her of her breach of the rule were sent to her home in Belgium while she was in Australia. She was banned, as was Malisse, when she failed to notify authorities of her whereabouts on three occasions. "They saw me play on TV in Australia and they kept on sending me letters when they knew I wasn't able to get them," she said.

"By the time I had three strikes already I didn't even know I had to fill something out. I know I didn't do anything wrong. I worked my butt off for the last eight years to be where I am today. "Some people just decide to take that all away [for] stupid papers that haven't been filled out." * With agencies