- Doping isn’t uncommon in tennis
- Some indicted players took the less-trodden path of retiring
- Any indictment for using banned substances has historically shattered the dreams of many
Doping isn’t uncommon in tennis and some indicted players took the less-trodden path of retiring after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) instituted a doping ban.
Both the ban and doping always leave a lasting impact on the players and on the ATP Tour and WTA. The truth is any indictment for using banned substances has historically shattered the dreams of many. Coming to terms with such a ban has plunged others on a path of depression and it takes years to come out of it.
In a good number of cases, some of these tennis players end up using banned substances unknowingly. Others are intentional about it and when the axe falls, the falls group caught unawares always has a hard time coping with the ban. This article delves into female tennis players who decided to retire after the doping ban.
Although she is now retired, Maria Sharapova is among the most prominent names in women’s tennis. She tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in 2016. The Russian-born, American-based superstar was using the medication for years due to health concerns. The mother of one did not know that meldonium was in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances.
Sharapova served a two-year suspension, which was later reduced to 15 months after pleading her case. Upon her return, she struggled to regain her former dominance on the court. In February 2020, she announced her retirement, closing the chapter on a career marked by five Grand Slam titles and a meteoric rise from a young prodigy to a global tennis icon.
Richard Gasquet is a former French tennis player. His doping ban and retiring story is a unique one that highlights the complexities of doping cases. In 2009, Gasquet tested positive for cocaine which informed his doping ban. He maintained that the drug inadvertently got into his system after he kissed a woman in a Miami nightclub.
Despite the improbable nature of his explanation, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) accepted Gasquet’s claim of accidental ingestion, resulting in a reduced ban. It evoked varied reactions in the tennis world and it’s hard to forget his case over a decade later.
Polish tennis star Jerzy Janowicz showcased immense promise on the court. He possesses a powerful serve and a remarkable ability to take on top-ranked players. However, his career took a hit in 2017 when he tested positive for a banned substance during a routine doping test. Janowicz claimed that the substance was present in a supplement was using then and that he was unaware of its prohibited status.
Following a 15-month suspension, Janowicz struggled to regain his momentum. Injuries further compounded his troubles, ultimately leading to a decline in his performance. He took the most probable action which was retiring but didn’t put it as such although it was clear that he took this path after his troubled comeback from his doping ban.
Serbian tennis player Victor Troicki faced a doping controversy in 2013. It became an eye-opener on the importance of effective communication between athletes and anti-doping officials. Troicki got an 18-month doping ban after refusing to provide a blood sample during a tournament, citing illness and a fear of needles. He claimed that the doping control officer had assured him that skipping the blood test would not result in a penalty.
Troicki’s ban was eventually reduced to 12 months, but the incident negatively impacted his career. He retired thereafter to focus on other things in his life.
The former Swiss player was the face of tennis controversy during her time. She had a series of doping scandals. In 2007, Hingis tested positive for cocaine during Wimbledon and promptly retired from professional tennis. She vehemently denied using the drug intentionally, suggesting that she unknowingly ingested it. Despite her defence, Hingis received a two-year doping ban.
Mikael Ymer, a former Swedish tennis player is the latest to take to the retiring route after an 18-month doping ban. He failed three drug tests which he vehemently refutes to date. He said that the decision to hang his tennis boots is deeply disappointing but it is the best shot he has at making something of his life now that he is banned from tennis.