Former top 10 player Marin Cilic (Player Bio) has been suspended for nine months by the International Tennis Federation for a doping violation earlier in the year. Cilic tested positive for Nikethamide in May and is now facing a suspension that is retroactive to the date of the drug test.
The Croatian no. 1 tested positive in Munich and has been out of action since withdrawing from Wimbledon earlier this year. The suspension is a disappointing conclusion to Cilic’s season as he won the PBZ Zagreb indoor tournament for a third time and reached the final at Queen’s club where he lost to Andy Murray. Once ranked as high as no. 9, he now finds himself at no. 24 and plummeting.
After an independent tribunal found that Cilic had unknowingly ingested Nikethamide, the ITF reduced his penalty because they believed he “did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so”.
Cilic plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and is adamant that he did not willingly use any performance-enhancing drugs at any point in his professional career and that the pills were purchased in a pharmacy in France.
“I wish to emphasize that I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any banned substances in my life and that I am opposed to any use of performance-enhancing substances in sport,” Cilic said. “Unbeknownst to me, the glucose tablets contained a substance that is banned in-competition (although it is allowed out-of-competition).
The Croatian no. 1’s suspension will be lifted on January 31st, 2014 and he will return as an active competitor on the tour. Up until that point, Cilic will lose all potential prize money and ATP rankings points back-dating to the Munich tournament.