Italy’s Sara Errani, a former French Open finalist, becomes the highest profile player to be banned for drug abuse since Maria Sharapova when it was revealed by the ITF that last February, she had tested positive for the banned substance letrozole.
I am extremely disappointed but at the same time at peace with my conscience and aware I haven't done anything wrong Sara Errani
The tests were taken when she was preparing food at her parents’ home while resting from the tour, where she alleges the food became contaminated by her mother’s breast cancer medication which has also been associated with the promotion of muscle tissue, especially in the body-building world.
In her defence Errani maintained that one of the pills must have fallen into the ‘tortellini or broth which she prepared on Feb 14 or 15.’
The tribunal accepted that ‘it was more likely than not that letrozole entered the player’s body by means of her mother’s medication’ and admitted that the offence was ‘at the lower end of the scale’ but felt justified in issuing a two-month ban from August 3 and disqualifying her from all the tournaments she played between February 16 and June 7 which means losing ranking points and prize money earnt during those months.
“I never took, in my life and during my career, any prohibited substance,” Errani declared in a statement. “I am extremely disappointed but at the same time at peace with my conscience and aware I haven’t done anything wrong.”
She will also miss out on the US Open but will be able to return to the tour on October 2nd.
Errani, 30 and ranked 98, has nine singles and 25 double titles to her credit and with partner Roberta Vinci, completed a career grand slam in in doubles.
She reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 5 in 2013 and has been a member of the Italian Fed Cup team which on the title three times.