Troicki doping ban cut to 12 months

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 05, 2013
Serbian tennis player Viktor Troicki had his doping ban reduced to 12 months on Tuesday, though he still cannot play in next week's Davis Cup final. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling ''puts an end to my dreams of being a top player,'' the 27-year-old Troicki said in a statement. ''I worked my entire life for it, and it has been taken away from me in one afternoon by a doctor I didn't know,'' said Troicki, whose ranking peaked at No. 12 in June 2011. It fell from No. 53 to 77 since he was suspended by an International Tennis Federation tribunal in July. Troicki's appeal to CAS was partially upheld, and it ordered him to serve a 12-month ban instead of 18 months for skipping a blood test after losing at the Monte Carlo Masters in April. ''The player committed a doping offense, but his fault was not significant,'' the court said in a statement. Troicki will be cleared to play again on July 15, having missed four Grand Slam events while suspended. ''I have no idea about what to do now or where to go. I hope somehow I will be able to fight back,'' he said. Serbia plays the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final in Belgrade next week. Troicki appeared in the first two rounds this year. CAS fast-tracked Troicki's case to give him the chance of reselection if he won. In 2010, Troicki won the decisive singles rubber in the final against France to give Serbia its first title. Troicki challenged his 18-month ban, claiming that an anti-doping officer in Monte Carlo advised him to write to the governing body explaining his reason for not giving a blood sample. He had already given a urine sample which later tested negative. The CAS panel acknowledged that the tournament anti-doping officer ''should have informed the player in clearer terms of the risks caused by his refusal to undergo a blood test.'' The court added ''there was no suggestion that Mr. Troicki intended to evade the detection of a banned substance in his system.'' Still, the panel considered one year as a ''just and appropriate sanction,'' and the minimum required in such a case according to ITF anti-doping rules. The ITF tribunal had declined to impose the standard two-year ban for a first anti-doping violation because it accepted Troicki was stressed by illness on the day and his long-standing needle phobia.
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