The International Tennis Federation has handed Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić a nine-month suspension on Monday for a positive dope test earlier this year, but the 24-year-old says he will fight the decision.
Čilić was banned for unknowingly taking ‘nikethamide’, a banned substance which came in a packet of Coramine glucose tablets, a dietary supplement that Cilic had been taking. The ITF have backdated Čilić’s suspension to May 1, meaning the Croat will be out of action from all tennis until 31 January 2014.
“I will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) very soon,” said Čilić in a statement. “I’m not allowed to comment on this case in any detail, but I can confirm that the disputed sample originates from glucose tablets that were purchased in pharmacies in France. I had no knowledge that they contained a substance that is prohibited for competition (although it is allowed out of competition). I would very gladly give more details about the case and I hope that you will understand me that at this moment I can not comment any more while legal proceedings are pending. Finally, I would like to stress that I have never in my life deliberately taken any banned substance. I strongly oppose the use of any stimulants that would help create better sports results. I am disappointed that at this moment I can not say more about the case, but I’ll do it as soon as the legal process is completed. Then I will answer every question that is asked about this case,” said Čilić.