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Rediff.com  » Sports » Rusedski vows to clear his name

Rusedski vows to clear his name

January 09, 2004 21:08 IST

UK Tennis champ Greg Rusedski, who failed a drugs test, has vowed to do whatever it takes to clear his name.

The Canadian-born British No 2, who tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, said in a statement, "I confirm that I have been advised by the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) anti doping administrator that a sample I provided tested positively for a low concentration of nandrolone metabolites.

"I wish to make it clear that I do not and never have taken performance-enhancing drugs. This is a very complex situation which once understood will clearly demonstrate my total innocence."

Rusedski still plans to participate in next month's Australian open, but if the ATP's independent panel decides he did use the banned substance, he could be banned for two years, thus preventing him from competing in Wimbledon until 2006.

The 30-year-old player, who is worth just under £ 5 million, lives in South London with his wife, Lucy, who is a television presenter.

Tennis chiefs who have rallied to Rusedski's defence include UK Lawn Tennis Association national manager Mark Petchey, who said, "Knowing Greg for a long time he'd be the last guy that I would say would take performance-enhancing drugs. If it's true, it's going to be such a dark cloud over his head. I just hope the allegations aren't proven to be true.

"He's such a model professional. He's not a guy you'd see on the party scene. He just would not have gone anywhere near this."

Rusedski's sample was taken in the US last year following his defeat in Indianapolis by Scott Draper on July 23.

Struggling with foot and knee problems throughout 2003, he lost both his singles matches in last September's Davis Cup match defeat in Morocco.

After his second defeat, during which he suffered heat exhaustion, he declared, "I don't know how much tennis I have got left in me. If I step on court, I want to make sure I play good tennis."

Lawn Tennis Association performance director David Felgate, commenting on Rusedski's reaction to the drugs test said, "I am surprised he has gone public before the hearing. I had heard rumours over the last couple of days but I am as staggered as anyone else.

"He prides himself on how he works out and tries to keep himself in shape and as far as I am concerned he is a thorough professional. I hope for his sake he has a good case."

Shyam Bhatia