When Dayana Yastremska, who was under a provisional ban by the ITF, boarded one of the charter flights to Melbourne, she was taking a big risk, and there were many raised eyebrows, especially because Tennis Australia was paying for her ticket and have been accommodating her in a quarantine hotel.
An application by Dayana Yastremska to lift the provisional suspension imposed on her on 7 January 2021 under Article 8.3.1(c) of the 2020 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has been denied. WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Statement
Clearly the Ukrainian was taking a gamble that her suspension would be lifted to allow her to compete in Australia but, on Saturday, the ITF announced that the Chair of the Independent Tribunal convened to hear her case had rejected her appeal.
Yastremska who is ranked No 29 and is 20 years of age, took to Twitter to deny any wrongdoing when the ITF announced on 7 January that she had provided for an out-of-competition test on 24 November found to contain a metabolite of mesterolone, a synthetic testosterone.
“I’m astonished and under shock, particularly given that two weeks prior to this test… I tested negative at the WTA event in Linz,” she said in her statement on Twitter.
“After this last tournament of the year, I stopped practising to rest prior to the start of the new season.
“Only a very low concentration of mesterolone metabolite was detected in my urine.
“Given that low concentration and given my negative test two weeks earlier, I have received scientific advice that the result is consistent with some form of contamination event.”
It was a surprise to many that Yastremska was allowed to fly to Melbourne, given the odds of a reinstatement, but she gave it a shot nevertheless.
The ITF’s press release stated: “An application by Dayana Yastremska to lift the provisional suspension imposed on her on 7 January 2021 under Article 8.3.1(c) of the 2020 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has been denied by the Chair of the Independent Tribunal convened to hear her case,” WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) said in a statement.
“This decision is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by Ms. Yastremska, WADA and the National Anti-Doping Center of Ukraine.”
Last month the Ukrainian tested positive for COVID-19 two days after arriving in Dubai and went into two weeks of self-isolation.
“The symptoms were very strange, it was bad,” she wrote on Twitter. “I fully recovered now and my focus is to go back to training! Guys, please be careful.”
Yastremska is currently under a 14-day strict quarantine in Melbourne after having travelled with a passenger who tested positive to COVID-19 on arrival, but her ITF-enforced ban now means that she will not be allowed to enter Melbourne Park after completing her isolation.
The former head of the ASADA Richard Ings wrote on Twitter: “Yastremska should never have been allowed to travel. She could have had an expedited hearing on her provisional suspension. Completed before she boarded the plane. The ITF /Tennis Anti-Doping Program is who should compensate Tennis Australia. They allowed her to travel.”
Yastremska, who has won three WTA titles in her career, with her best Grand Slam performance a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019, took a gamble that clearly has not paid off.
“You can be assured that I am resolutely determined to do everything to clear my name,” Yastremska said.