Wickmayer withdraws from Bali tournament

BY foxsports • November 6, 2009

Yanina Wickmayer voluntarily withdrew from the ongoing Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions on Friday after receiving a one-year suspension by a Belgian anti-doping tribunal. First alternate Vera Dushevina of Russia takes the third-seeded Wickmayer's place in the draw on the resort island of Bali, and meets Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues in round-robin play later Friday U.S. Open semifinalist Wickmayer, 20, was suspended Thursday for failing to report her whereabouts to anti-doping officials three times. She has denied any wrongdoing and said on her Web site she planned to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Stacey Allaster, WTA Tour chief executive, declined to comment specifically on Wickmayer's case, but said the Belgian was handling the matter professionally. "Yanina can appeal the decision to the court of arbitration for sport," Allaster said. "Beginning in 2009, WADA (the World Anti-Doping Association) mandated that all international Olympic sports federations and the national anti-doping agencies were required to implement the whereabouts program," Allaster said. The International Tennis Federation is a founding member of WADA. "It is a fundamental principle that all of us in tennis share that we want to have a fair and clean sport for all players," Allaster said. Wickmayer gave no comment to the media. "Because it's an ongoing matter, it's in her best interest to let the matter sit," Allaster said. "The decision's been made, and now she'll deal with it with her legal advisers going forward." The Belgian anti-doping tribunal said in a statement Thursday that Wickmayer's failure to live up to anti-doping rules required the minimum one-year suspension, which was "reasonable and justified." The tribunal also suspended men's player Xavier Malisse for breaking the whereabouts rule twice and missing a doping test. Wickmayer, at a career-high 18th world ranking, has enjoyed a breakthrough year. Unseeded, she reached the last four at the U.S. Open, having never passed the second round at any previous Grand Slams. She won her first two tour titles at Estoril in May and Linz last month, earning her a spot in this week's season-ending champions event in Bali. She won her first round-robin match against Kimiko Date-Krumm, and was favored to reach this weekend's semifinals.

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