American tennis player Varvara Lepchenko has breached the Anti-Doping Programme as the urine sample she provided last August revealed the American took a prohibited substance, Adrafinil. Lepchenko, a former world No. 19, hasn't played in any events this year.
This was the second time that Lepchenko was found guilty of taking the prohibited substance. "Ms. Lepchenko, a 35-year-old player from USA, provided a urine sample on 12 July 2021, in association with her participation in the WTA Hungarian Grand Prix held in Budapest, Hungary, from 12-18 July 2021 (the “Event”).
That sample was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain adrafinil and/or modafinil metabolite. Adrafinil and/or modafinil are non-Specified Substances that are prohibited under category S6 of the 2021 WADA Prohibited List (Stimulants), and therefore are also prohibited under the Programme.
Positive tests for non-Specified Substances carry a mandatory Provisional Suspension. Accordingly, Ms. Lepchenko was provisionally suspended from 19 August 2021," the ITF's statement read. "Ms. Lepchenko was charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Articles 2.1 and/or 2.2 of the Programme (presence of a Prohibited Substance in a Player’s Sample) on 25 August 2021.
Following a hearing, the Independent Tribunal determined that Ms. Lepchenko had not discharged her burden of rebutting the presumption of intentional use. The Independent Tribunal therefore imposed a four-year period of ineligibility, which was back-dated to start from 19 August 2021, the date on which Ms.
Lepchenko was provisionally suspended."
Lepchenko suspended for four years
Lepchenko was handed a four-year ban and this likely means the end of her career as she will be 36 in June. This is Ms. Lepchenko’s second Anti-Doping Rule Violation.
However, because she bore No Fault or Negligence for her first violation, the current violation is treated as her first for the purpose of sanction. The decision determines that: (1) Ms. Lepchenko has committed a violation of the Programme; (2) she must serve a period of ineligibility of four years; and (3) that period starts on 19 August 2021, and so ends at midnight on 18 August 2025.
In accordance with Programme articles 9.1 and 10.1.1, all ranking points and prize money obtained by Ms. Lepchenko at the Event and subsequent events prior to 27 July 2021 are disqualified," the ITF's statement read.