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Duo free to play

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:57

The Belgian duo were given the suspensions last month after they both fell foul of the controversial ‘whereabouts’ drug-testing system on three occasions.

Wickmayer, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open in September, and Malisse immediately declared their intention to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

On Monday, the Flemish National Anti-Doping Organisation, who had imposed the bans, were ordered to lift them by a Belgian court “pending further appeal”.

Wickmayer had protested she was not given sufficient information to fulfil the requirements of the system, which has been criticised by a number of players, and the Belgian tennis federation claimed administrative errors were the basis for the bans being overturned.

The ITF have now ratified the Belgian court’s decision and a statement today read: “As a signatory to the WADA (World Anti-Doping Authority) Code, the ITF is required (under article 15.4 of the Code) to give wider recognition to decisions within the authority of other signatories.

“NADO Flanders is also a signatory to the Code and accordingly the ITF has removed both Mr Malisse and Ms Wickmayer from the list of suspended players, and both are eligible to participate with immediate effect.”

The pair’s reprieve could only be temporary, however, with CAS also set to consider an appeal from WADA that the one-year bans were too lenient.

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