Former world No. 9 Marin Cilic has said he will be appealing a nine-month doping ban imposed on him after he tested positive for the banned stimulant nikethamide.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on Monday they had imposed the ban on the 24-year-old Croatian despite accepting his explanation that he had ingested the substance in glucose tablets and not intended to enhance his performance.
“I will be appealing that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport very shortly,” Cilic said in a statement through his country’s tennis association.
“I wish to emphasize that I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any banned substance in my life and that I am opposed to any use of performance-enhancing substances in sport,” he said.
The suspension has been backdated to May 1 to allow Cilic to return to the ATP circuit on Jan. 31 next year.
The ITF said Cilic had tested positive at the BMW Open in Munich in April this year.
As well as the ban “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 [in Munich], 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,” the ITF said.
Following the Munich Open, Cilic was knocked out of the French Open in the third round by Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, who coincidentally was banned in July for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
He then reached the final at Queen’s where he lost to Andy Murray before withdrawing from Wimbledon, where he was seeded 10th, prior to his second-round match against Kenny de Schepper with a knee injury.