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Ulihrach given two-year drug ban

May 04, 2003 12:48 IST
Czech tennis player Bohdan Ulihrach has been banned for two years after an independent Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal ruled he had committed an offence, the ATP announced on Saturday.

The former Czech number one, who tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone at the Moscow tournament last October, has also been fined $43,770 and had 100 ranking points deducted.

Ulihrach, who appealed against the ATP decision at the time, denies knowingly taking the drug which is banned in tennis.

"My first explanation is that my body produced a little bit more of it... the second is that I ate or drank something bad in Russia, maybe an energy drink without a proper label," the 27-year-old, once ranked as high as 22 in the world, said in October.

The two-year ban is effective from October 26, 2002, the day after his last match on the ATP Tour, and runs until October 25, 2004.

Ulihrach follows fellow Czech Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open champion, who was found to have used nandrolone at the 1998 Wimbledon championships and was banned -- after protracted appeals --

for one year.

Korda, who throughout the ordeal proclaimed his innocence saying he never knowingly took any banned substance, tried a short-lived comeback in December 2000.

Ulihrach turned professional in 1993 and has won three ATP Tour singles titles. He has not played so far this year because of a partially torn calf muscle.

Earlier this year the ATP announced it would double out of competition testing and increase in-competition testing by about 20 percent to combat drug use.

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