Marin Cilic Cleared to Play Paris Masters

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Former top 10 player Marin Cilic (Player Profile) was suspended for nine months due to testing positive for a banned substance in May, but following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, his suspension was shortened to four months, which allows him to return to active tennis competition this Friday at midnight.

Faced with a possible two-year ban requested by the International Tennis Federation, the CAS sided with the Croatian player after it was determined that the ban requested was too severe for the degree of fault present.

“The panel determined that the degree of fault committed by the athlete was inferior to that established in the (tribunal) decision,” the court said in a statement. “The panel also determined that the sanction imposed was too severe in view of the degree of fault and concluded that it should be reduced to four months.”

The decision is not entirely surprising, as ITF panel has appeared confused when they attempted to determine Cilic’s guilt several months back. It was clear that the 26-year-old had ingested performance-enhancing substances [Nikethamide], but had he consumed them with the wilful intention of enhancing his training and future competitions? The panel resorted to the conclusions of the independent tribunal, which they accepted with “comfortable satisfaction.” They concluded that “where a player takes the product to get a “boost” just before a match, it is extremely unlikely that he could satisfy the tribunal that he lacked the requisite intent.”
While the ITF could not prove the determine the exact extent of Cilic’s guilt, they were prepared to issue a two-year ban simply to implement a severe ban on the player. Now that the suspension has been shortened, Cilic will retain his ranking points and prize money from those events.
“Mr. Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open (in Munich) will not be disqualified and he is permitted to retain the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events,” the ITF said in a statement.

Cilic, who dropped to No. 47 in the rankings, is set for an immediate boost back into the top 20 with the return of his points from events including the French Open, Wimbledon Queen’s Club, where he reached the finals before losing to Andy Murray.

The court said it would publish its panel’s detailed verdict at a later date.

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