ITF says Wickmayer remains suspended
LONDON -- Yanina Wickmayer still is not eligible to compete despite a court injunction in Belgium that suspended her one-year ban for violating anti-doping rules.
Wickmayer, a U.S. Open semifinalist, and Xavier Malisse had their doping bans suspended Monday, but International Tennis Federation spokesman Nick Imison said Tuesday that neither had been officially cleared to compete.
"Both players are currently banned under the rules of the program," Imison said.
Wickmayer and Malisse, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2002, were suspended by a Belgian court Nov. 5 for breaking World Anti-Doping Agency rules by failing to report their whereabouts for drug testing three times. The ITF imposed the bans worldwide.
Imison said the ITF was "seeking counsel from our legal advisers and WADA" after hearing from the Belgian national anti-doping agency.
"Basically, it's up to [the Belgian agency] to liaise with the Belgian court and make its decision based on that and inform us," Imison said.
The Belgium anti-doping agency did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
After Monday's ruling in Brussels, Wickmayer was offered a wild card to play at the ASB Classic, a tournament in New Zealand that serves as a warmup for the Australian Open. She is also hoping the ruling will get her another wild card for the season's first Grand Slam tournament.
"From our point of view, procedures are clear, and that if a decision is made by a national anti-doping authority, then these are sent though to us and then the ITF needs to make sure proper procedure has been followed," Imison said.
The 20-year-old Wickmayer claims she was not properly informed of the online reporting requirements for drug-testing that led to her ban.
Wickmayer and Malisse already have asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn the bans. A ruling is expected in the next three months.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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