Ulihrach faced similar situation last year

Updated: January 20, 2004, 2:45 AM ET
Associated Press

MELBOURNE -- Greg Rusedski is no drug cheat, according to the player who last year had a doping ban overturned by tennis officials.

Rusedski last week admitted testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone during a tournament in the U.S. last July, but he says he will be cleared of any wrongdoing at a hearing in February.

Czech Bohdan Ulihrach, who last year was cleared of taking the same drug, believes the Briton.

"I believe Greg 100 percent. He has my full support," Ulihrach told reporters at Melbourne Park as he prepared for next week's Australian Open.

"Greg was number four in the world so he doesn't need to take anything like that.

"I believe he's innocent. I went up to him in the locker room and I told him: 'Greg, I'm sorry. If you need anything, here is my telephone number. You can call me any time. I'm sure it's some mistake.'"

Ulihrach is one of seven players now exonerated after an independent inquiry ruled that they could have taken contaminated electrolyte supplements handed out by the ATP's trainers.

On hearing the results of the investigation in May 2003, the ATP immediately stopped its staff handing out the supplements. Rusedski tested positive for nandrolone two months later.

After initially being given a two-year ban, Czech Ulihrach cleared his name last July.

He said he knows exactly what Rusedski is going through, and it is not pleasant.

"They were tough times when they suspended me because I looked like a cheater," he said. "The world fell down for me.

"When they decided I couldn't play for two years, it was a terrible feeling. It's very hard when you know you are innocent.

"After the man said my sample was positive, I couldn't sleep. I just wanted to play tennis again.

"I didn't know what nandrolone was. Now I'm smarter and I know almost everything about nandrolone but I still don't know where the nandrolone in my system came from.

"I know that some people will never believe me but what can I do?"

Rusedski plans to air his case at his hearing in Montreal on Feb. 9.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press