The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has confirmed that Fernando Verdasco, a 38-year-old tennis player from Spain, has accepted a charge under the 2022 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) for the presence of the ADHD medication, methylphenidate, in a urine sample. The player accepted a voluntary provisional suspension and will serve a period of ineligibility of two months.
Verdasco, who has an ATP career-high ranking of 7, was tested at an ATP Challenger event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in February 2022. The player admitted the Anti-Doping Rule Violation and explained that he had been medically diagnosed with ADHD and legitimately used methylphenidate as medication prescribed by his physician to treat the condition in accordance with a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), but had forgotten to renew his TUE when it expired. Since the finding, there has been an ongoing TUE re-application process involving the player, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the ITIA. The player has been granted a new TUE by WADA for his medication moving forwards, and has withdrawn from the retroactive TUE process to resolve this case.
The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears No Significant Fault or Negligence for it. In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of Fault, the TADP allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.
The player voluntarily accepted a provisional suspension after being notified of the charge. The two-month period of ineligibility commenced on the date of the player’s voluntary provisional suspension and will conclude on Sunday, 8 January 2023.
The ITIA is the delegated third party, under the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) of the International Tennis Federation, the international governing body for the sport of tennis and signatory of the Code. The ITIA is responsible for the management and administration of anti-doping across professional tennis in accordance with the 2022 TADP.
Notes to editors:
The full decision can be accessed by clicking DOWNLOAD PDF
The ITIA charged the Player with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 and/or Article 2.2 of the TADP involving a substance, methylphenidate, which is a Specified Substance (as defined in the TADP) and prohibited In-Competition only. TADP Articles 2.1 and 2.2 read:
“2.1 The presence of a Prohibited Substance or any of its Metabolites or Markers in a Player's Sample, unless the Player establishes that such presence is consistent with a TUE granted in accordance with Article 4.4.”
“2.2 Use or Attempted Use by a Player of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method, unless the Player establishes that such Use or Attempted Use is consistent with a TUE granted in accordance with Article 4.4.”
This ITIA issued decision is made in accordance with Article 7.14 of the TADP, which provides:
“7.14.1 At any time prior to a final decision by the Independent Tribunal, the ITIA may invite the Player or other Person to admit the Anti-Doping Rule Violation(s) asserted and accede to specified Consequences (in accordance with Article 10.8 or otherwise in accordance with this Programme); or to admit any other violation of this Programme that does not amount to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and accept specified consequences (in accordance with this Programme) […]”
“7.14.2 In the event that the Player or other Person admits the Anti-Doping Rule Violation(s) asserted and accedes to Consequences specified by the ITIA (or is deemed to have done so in accordance with Article 7.13.3), the ITIA will promptly issue a reasoned decision confirming the commission of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation(s) and the imposition of the specified Consequences (as applicable), will send notice of the decision to the Player or other Person and to each Interested Party, and will Publicly Disclose the decision in accordance with Article 8.6. […]”
“7.14.3 Any decision issued by the ITIA in accordance with Article 7.14.2 that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed will not purport to be limited in effect to a particular geographic area or sport, and will address and determine (without limitation): (1) the factual basis of the decision that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation was committed; and (2) all of the Consequences to be imposed for such Anti-Doping Rule Violation, including the reasons for imposing the Consequences specified, and in particular the reasons for exercising any discretion not to impose the full Consequences available under this Programme.”
Published 30 November 2022 12:00
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