London, Sept 20, 2016: The International Tennis Federation announced today that Varvara Lepchenko has been found to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “Programme”). It has been accepted by the ITF that Ms. Lepchenko bore no fault or negligence for the violation, and that any period of ineligibility that may otherwise have been imposed is eliminated.
Ms. Lepchenko, a 30-year-old American tennis player originally from Uzbekistan, provided samples on 7 January 2016 (In-Competition at the Brisbane International event) and 1 February, 1 March and 7 April 2016 (Out-of-Competition), all of which were found to contain meldonium at estimated concentrations of (respectively) 12,630 ng/mL, 931 ng/mL, 339 ng/mL and 29 ng/mL. Meldonium is a non-specified substance that was added to the WADA Prohibited List (in category S4.5) on 1 January 2016 and is therefore also prohibited under the Programme. Ms. Lepchenko was charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme, and was provisionally suspended on 12 March 2016.
WADA issued a Meldonium Notice on 13 April 2016, following which Ms. Lepchenko made a successful application to the Chairman of the Independent Tribunal established to hear the case to have her provisional suspension lifted. This was on the grounds that the meldonium present in her samples came from a course of Mildronate tablets that she stopped taking on or around 20 December 2015. WADA published a second Meldonium Notice on 30 June 2016, on the basis of which WADA advised the ITF that the concentrations found in Ms. Lepchenko’s samples are consistent with her account of pre-1 January 2016 use.
Accordingly, it was accepted by the ITF that Ms. Lepchenko bore no fault or negligence for the violation, and that any period of ineligibility that may otherwise have been imposed is eliminated entirely under Programme Article 10.4. The results that Ms. Lepchenko obtained at the 2016 Brisbane International event are automatically disqualified pursuant to TADP Article 9.1 and TADP Article 9.2.1, and the points and prize money that she won are forfeit. This presence violation will be disregarded for sanctioning purposes in the event that Ms. Lepchenko commits any further anti-doping rule violation.
The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is a comprehensive and internationally recognised drug-testing programme that applies to all players competing at Grand Slam tournaments and events sanctioned by the ITF, ATP and WTA. Players are tested for substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and, upon a finding that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed, sanctions are imposed in accordance with the requirements of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and World Anti-Doping Code. More background information on the Programme, sanctions, tennis statistics and related information can be found at www.itftennis.com/antidoping. —- ITF