Karatantcheva denies report of failed drug test

Updated: December 20, 2005, 8:38 AM ET
Associated Press

PARIS -- Bulgarian teenager Sesil Karatantcheva failed a doping test following her loss at the French Open, the French sports newspaper L'Equipe reported Tuesday.

Karatantcheva tested positive for nandrolone after her three-set loss to Russia's Elana Likhovtesa in the May 31 quarterfinals, L'Equipe reported, without citing sources. She was 15 at the time; she turned 16 in August.

L'Equipe also reported that Karatantcheva appeared last week before a panel of three judges appointed by the International Tennis Federation. The newspaper said she told the panel she was pregnant at the time of the test, but later suffered a miscarriage.

Karatantcheva told a Bulgarian news agency she was not informed of the test result and denied appearing before the panel.

"I am shocked," Karatantcheva told the agency. "I have not appeared before judges of the international federation."

Karatantcheva could not be reached for further comment.

Bulgaria's Tennis Federation said it was unaware of the case and had not heard from either the ITF or the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"We do hope that the report by the French paper will prove untrue," the Bulgarian federation said in a statement.

Karatantcheva, who beat Venus Williams in the third round of the French Open, is currently ranked 39th on the WTA Tour.

L'Equipe's report is the latest allegation of positive tests from this year's French Open.

The paper reported in October that Argentina's Mariano Puerta tested positive for the stimulant etilefrine after his four-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the June 5 final. Argentine doubles specialist Mariano Hood has acknowledged that he tested positive for finasteride at the tournament.

In August, L'Equipe reported that Lance Armstrong tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug EPO during the first of his seven Tour de France victories in 1999.

Armstrong angrily denied the charges, saying he was the victim of a "witch hunt." He also questioned the validity of testing samples frozen six years ago, and how the samples were handled.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press