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Wickmayer handed one-year ban
Belgian anti-doping tribunal suspends US Open semi-finalist.
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2009 10:14 GMT

Wickmayer will appeal the ban [GALLO/GETTY]
Belgian tennis player Yanina Wickmayer, a semi-finalist at this year's US Open, has received a one-year suspension by a Belgian anti-doping tribunal and has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions.

Wickmayer, 20, was suspended for failing to report her whereabouts to anti-doping officials three times.

She has denied any wrongdoing and announced on her website she plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Belgian anti-doping tribunal said in a statement on Thursday that Wickmayer's failure to live up to anti-doping rules required the minimum one-year suspension, which was "reasonable and justified.''

Whereabouts rule

Stacey Allaster, WTA Tour chief executive, declined to comment specifically on Wickmayer's case, but said the Belgian was handling the matter professionally.

"Yanina can appeal the decision to the court of arbitration for sport,'' Allaster said.

"Beginning in 2009, Wada (the World Anti-Doping Association) mandated that all international Olympic sports federations and the national anti-doping agencies were required to implement the whereabouts program,'' Allaster said.

The International Tennis Federation is a founding member of Wada.

"It is a fundamental principle that all of us in tennis share that we want to have a fair and clean sport for all players,'' Allaster said.

Wickmayer gave no comment to the media.

"Because it's an ongoing matter, it's in her best interest to let the matter sit,'' Allaster said.

"The decision's been made, and now she'll deal with it with her legal advisers going forward.''

The tribunal in Belgium also suspended men's player Xavier Malisse for breaking the whereabouts rule twice and missing a doping test.

Wickmayer, at a career-high 18th world ranking, has enjoyed a breakthrough
year.

Unseeded, she reached the last four at the US Open, having never passed the second round at any previous Grand Slams.

She won her first two tour titles at Estoril in May and Linz last month, earning her a spot in this week's season-ending champions event in Bali.

Source:
Agencies
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