Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fernando Romboli: Singles Ranking 452 (Updated)

Update: A somewhat related, and important read. (Thanks, Moonax)

Note that Romboli's sample was taken on July 11, 2012, that he started a provisional suspension on September 1, 2012, and that his suspension expired today...the same day the ITF announced the decision (and today's release is first public announcement regarding Romboli's suspension and positive test). In total, that's about 10 months between the sample being taken and the final decision being rendered. And remember, if Romboli had been exonerated no public announcement would been made. Instead, he would have simply returned to the tour after a very long, unexplained absence.

It is worth comparing the ITF's disclosure protocol with that of cycling's UCI. For example, today the UCI announced that French rider Sylvain Georges tested positive for a banned stimulant last Friday (May 10, 2013). Also today, UCI announced that Venezuelan rider Miguel Ubeto Aponte was under provisional suspension for an out of competition test taken on April 16, 2013.

15 May 2013
The International Tennis Federation announced today that Fernando Romboli has been found to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (presence of a Prohibited Substance in a player’s sample).

Mr Romboli, a 24-year-old tennis player from Brazil, provided a sample on 11 July 2012 at the ATP Challenger Event held in Bogota, Colombia. That sample was sent to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain two diuretics, furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide. Both furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide are Prohibited Substances under section S5 of the 2012 WADA List of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods, and are therefore also prohibited under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “Programme”). Mr Romboli was therefore charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme.

Mr Romboli asserted that the furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide, for which he did not hold a valid TUE, had entered his system through a contaminated supplement that had been prescribed for him by a doctor. He denied any intent to enhance his performance as a result of taking that supplement.

The ITF accepted Mr Romboli’s account of the circumstances surrounding his ingestion of furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide, and that he (a) met the requirements to satisfy article 10.4 of the Programme (Elimination or Reduction of the Period of Ineligibility for Specified Substance under Specified Circumstances), and (b) bore No Significant Fault or Negligence.

Mr Romboli’s commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme was confirmed, and it was determined that he is suspended from participation for a period of eight and a half months, back-dated to commence from 1 September 2012, the date on which he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension, and so ending at midnight on 15 May 2013. It was also determined that Mr Romboli’s results at the 2012 Bogota Challenger event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events.


  1. Ah, the "contaminated supplement" defense.

    And of course the ITF accepted his ridiculous explanation and backdated his suspension like they seem to do with so many others. Why do they even have an anti-doping program again?

    Congrats to the ITF for keeping the sport "safe" and "clean" from triple-digit-ranked nobodies while utterly ignoring the shenanigans and lack of testing occurring in the upper echelons of the game.

  2. Amazing...

    One day they'll HAVE to disclose that a star has been tested positive, right? I mean, to show the world they are serious. I wonder who the scapegoat is going to be (my money is on Ferrer).

    Oh, and talk about transparency, announcing the guy was suspended nearly a year after he was tested positive. And then they wonder why we come up with all the silent ban stuff.

  3. P.S. I should have put scapegoat between quotation marks.

  4. You might find this interesting. A damning report from Dick Pound basically pointing out (as you have been arguing) that vested interests mean that dopers go unpunished.

    Lots of attention on the IOC and comments about cycling but it is clear he is pointing the finger at other sports as well.

    I am sure we'll be seeing lots of personal attacks on Pound in the media over the next few days.

    As much as Richard Ings loves Fahay, he's been completely spineless in getting to grips with doping and WADA has gone backwards (just as the moneymen want it to) since Pound left.

  5. There is really nothing else that needs to be said. This is affirmative proof that a proceeding could easily drag out for nearly a year, a player could come back after being cleared at tribunal, and we would never know anything. The only piece of that which lacked clarity prior is just how long the process could drag out. That's still up in the air in terms of the high-side. Now we know for sure that it can take 10 months.

  6. The french Senate is enquiring about doping these days.

    Several senators interviewed important persons such as Pierre Ballester (sports journalist who denounces doping, and was dismissed from big french media l'Equipe for that), Travis Tygart... yesterday they interviewed Ricci Bitti and Stuart Miller ; this video interview (in french) will be available within a few days here :

    At some point, Ricci Bitti said that tennis is a "skill" sport, so that doping is not very efficient in order to improve results... a senator attacked him on that (and other) points, haha.

    1. Merci bien, Astérix. Despite Miller being called out on it years ago, they still like to trot out that old saw of 'tennis is a skill sport' whenever they spot a naive audience they feel they can gull. Good the French Senate could see through it unlike, say, the British Parliament who largely wash their hands over matters sporting, no matter how nefarious the goings-on.

      The more Bitti opens his mouth the more he shows himself up as a useless incompetent.