Varvara Lepchenko Brisbane International 2015

American tennis player banned for four-years after doping violation

American tennis player Varvara Lepchenko has been banned for four-years after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) found her to be guilty of a doping offence.

World number 128 Varvara Lepchenko had received a provisional suspension back in August of last year, but that has now been turned into a full four-year ban from tennis.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix last July, she provided a urine sample that came back positive for metabolites of adrafinil or modafinil, both banned substances.

In an independent tribunal, Lepchenko told the hearing that she did not intentionally take the drug and that she could have taken it unknowingly.

However, the tribunal ruled that “[we found] the evidence provided by the player to be vague to the point of non-existent.

“[This is] in respect of what, when and in what doses the supplements were taken, especially in the period immediately prior to the positive test.

“There is in fact no evidence whatsoever that the supplements referred to by the player were the source of the prohibited substance detected.”

As a result, Lepchenko has been given a four-year ban that has been backdated to August, the start of her provisional suspension.

She will be allowed to compete again on 18th August, 2025 but by this time she will be 39 years old.

This is the second time the Uzbekistan-born player has committed a doping offence, however this breach is being treated as a first violation as she was not deemed to be at fault in her first case.

In 2016, the drug meldonium had been moved onto the list of banned substances and confusion paired with a lack of clear information led to a number of athletes across a variety of sports testing positive for the newly-banned substance.

Lepchenko was one of these athletes, as was five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.

Whilst Sharapova was banned for one and a half years, Lepchenko “bared no fault or negligence” according to the ITF.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.