"The International Tennis Federation announced today that Marin Cilic 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 Cilic, a 24-year-old player from Croatia, provided a urine sample in association with his participation in the BMW Open event in Munich, Germany. That sample was sent to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain nikethamide, which is a Prohibited Substance under section S6 (Stimulants) of the 2013 WADA List of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods, and is therefore also prohibited under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “Programme”). Mr Cilic was therefore charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme.
"Mr Cilic asserted that the nikethamide, for which he did not hold a valid TUE, had entered his system through his ingestion of Coramine glucose tablets that had been purchased on his behalf from a pharmacy.
"The Independent Tribunal found that Mr Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the Coramine glucose tablets, and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so, and that he therefore met the preconditions of Article 10.4 of the Programme, which entitles him to a reduction of the Period of Ineligibility for Specified Substance based on an assessment of his fault.
"Mr Cilic’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 nine months, back-dated to commence from 1 May 2013, the date on which he provided the sample concerned, and so ending at midnight on 31 January 2014. It was also determined that Mr Cilic’s results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open, up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension are also disqualified, and the ranking points and prize money forfeited. A fully-reasoned decision will follow in due course."
When the full decision is released, it will be interesting to plot out the timeline of events. What is interesting at this point is that his suspension is backdated to the date the sample was provided rather than the date when "he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension."
Cilic said in a statement he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
He said the banned substance came from a glucose tablet purchased at a pharmacy in France.
"Unbeknownst to me, the glucose tablets contained a substance that is banned in-competition (although it is allowed out-of-competition)," he said.
"I wish to emphasise that I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any banned substances in my life and that I am opposed to any use of performance-enhancing substances in sport," Cilic added.