2009 Australian Open semifinalist Fernando Verdasco has accepted a two-month suspension following an inadvertent doping case. Verdasco, who was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication by his physician, forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption when it expired.
In February, Verdasco provided a sample at the Rio de Janeiro Challenger, which contained methylphenidate - an ADHD medication. Verdasco, a former world No 7, will be banned until 08 January. "The player admitted the Anti-Doping Rule Violation and explained that he had been medically diagnosed with ADHD and legitimately used methylphenidate as medication prescribed by his physician to treat the condition in accordance with a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), but had forgotten to renew his TUE when it expired," the ITIA said in its statement.
Verdasco didn't mean to cheat
Since it was clear that the banned substance didn't end in Verdasco's body because he wanted to enhance his on-court performance, the ITIA reduced a two-year ban to two months. "The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears No Significant Fault or Negligence for it.
In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of Fault, the TADP allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months. The player voluntarily accepted a provisional suspension after being notified of the charge.
The two-month period of ineligibility commenced on the date of the player’s voluntary provisional suspension and will conclude on Sunday, 8 January 2023," the ITIA said. Verdasco, now ranked No 125 in the world, last competed in early November at the Roanne Challenger.
This year, Verdasco competed mainly on the Challenger Tour but did also appear in some main-level events. At 39, Verdasco is past his prime but still loves the game and wants to compete professionally. Fortunately for Verdasco, he won't be missing much time at the start of the 2023 season.