Former Top 10 player Agustin Calleri, who is also the current President of the Argentine Tennis Association, says that he was surprised about compatriot Mariano Puerta's admission that he lied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS) as part of his legal strategy to reduce the sanctions on him when he tested positive for doping in 2005.
Former pro Agustin Calleri on Mariano Puerta's recent admission on his doping case
Mariano Puerta tested positive after the final of 2005 Roland Garros event for a prohibited substance and received an eight-year suspension, which was later reduced to two years.
He recently admitted to having lied in 2006 when presenting his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS) in order to have his sanctions reduced. Puerta reached a career-high ATP world No. 9 singles ranking in August 2005.
Speaking to LA NACION, Calleri says, "I was surprised that after fifteen years he said that he lied to the TAS. Because at the time, one trusted what he had said and believed in his statements. So what he said causes you surprise."
Calleri said at the time he believed the story put forward by Puerta and his team to explain how a prohibited substance had entered his body. "At that moment I did believe him; it was within the possibilities, it could happen that your wife was drinking water with a medication and you were drinking from the same glass.
I would not have done it. But something like this could happen. There was always the possibility. Later , it is up to one whether to believe or not." Calleri also said that he made sure he took all possible precautions while he was playing to ensure that he did not take anything which was not prescribed by the tournament doctor or anything which was on the prohibited list, adding that educating players from the juniors to the professionals was required.
43 year old Agustin Calleri peaked at No. 16 in the world rankings in 2003 and won 2 ATP singles titles during his career. He retired from the sport in 2010. His best performance at the majors was reaching the third round of the French Open in 2000 and the US Open in 2000 and 2007. He was named President of the Argentine Tennis Association in May 2018.