The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has today confirmed that Slovak tennis player Andrej Martin has been banned for a period of 14 months following a breach of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP), as determined by an independent Sport Resolutions panel.

33-year-old Martin, who reached a career-high ATP singles ranking of 93 in February 2020, was tested under the TADP at the Bratislava Open in June 2022. Subsequent analysis of the sample found presence of SARM S-22, an anabolic agent banned at all times under Section S1.2 (Other Anabolic Agents) of the 2022 WADA Prohibited List. In accordance with the TADP, the period of ineligibility for a player’s first offence of this nature is up to four years, unless they can establish that the ADRV was not intentional, in which case the period of Ineligibility will be up to two years.

On 22 July 2022, the ITIA notified Martin that he may have committed Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) under TADP Article 2.1 and/or 2.2, and the player was made subject to a Provisional Suspension. Martin’s hearing took place on 23 March 2023.

The player asserted that he had played in a floorball tournament between 3 and 6 June 2022 and that the presence of the substance was caused by mistakenly drinking from a teammate’s water bottle, identical in appearance to his own, during the floorball tournament.

During the hearing, Martin’s floorball teammate admitted that he added ostarine drops (another name for SARM S-22) to his water bottle. The Independent Tribunal considered Martin’s statement to be plausible and ruled that the player acted with No Significant Fault or Negligence.

The Independent Tribunal found that Martin had not knowingly ingested the banned substance, though he could not establish No Fault entirely. Under the TADP, the burden of responsibility for what players ingest is their own, and No Fault is only granted in exceptional circumstances.

The Tribunal decided a 14-month period of Ineligibility was appropriate, and all of Martin’s results from the date of the positive test will be disqualified.

Usually, the period of Ineligibility begins on the date at which a Provisional Suspension is enforced. However, Martin admitted to breaching his Provisional Suspension by participating in a triathlon and multiple floorball tournaments, in contravention of Article 10.14.1 of the TADP.

Article 10.14.1 states that players under Provisional Suspension are unable to participate in any sporting competition organised or sanctioned by a WADA signatory, national organisation, or signatory’s member association, or club or member organisation.

As such, the ban is assigned from the day of the Independent Tribunal’s decision (5 April 2023) and will end on 5 June 2024.


Published 27 April 2023 12:00

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