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Wickmayer quits Bali after receiving doping ban

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:49

Yanina Wickmayer has pulled out of the WTA Tournament of Champions and left Bali with the event in full swing after receiving a one-year doping ban from the Belgian Tennis Federation.

The world No.18, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open in September, has fallen foul of the ‘whereabouts rule’, missing three drugs tests after failing to be where she had told the testers she could be found.

Compatriot Xavier Malisse has also received a one-year ban for two ‘whereabouts’ failures.

Wickmayer had been due to play Anabel Medina Garrigues in her final group match on Friday, and was well-placed to reach the semi-finals of the final WTA event of the season, but immediately left the island after hearing the news.

“Yanina Wickmayer has been informed of the decision of the Belgian National Anti-Doping Agency and consequently has voluntarily withdrawn from the tournament,” said the WTA in a statement.

“While the tournament regrets all withdrawals, we support the WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] Code and are committed to following the decisions rendered by national anti-doping agencies.”

Wickmayer left Bali without comment, but WTA Tour chief executive Stacey Allaster said: “Because it’s an ongoing matter, it’s in her best interest to let the matter sit.

“The decision’s been made, and now she’ll deal with it with her legal advisers going forward.”

Allaster added: “Beginning in 2009, WADA mandated that all international Olympic sports federations and the national anti-doping agencies were required to implement the whereabouts program.

“It is a fundamental principle that all of us in tennis share that we want to have a fair and clean sport for all players.”

Wickmayer has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2009. Unseeded, she reached the last four at the US Open, having never gone beyond the second round before at a Grand Slam.

She won her first two WTA titles at Estoril in May and Linz last month, earning her a spot in the season-ending champions event in Bali, open to all winners of WTA International events that did not qualify for the WTA Tour Championships in Doha last week.

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