janvier 28, 2023

Fernando Verdasco drugs ban, Nick Kyrgios twitter feud

2 min read

An alarming claim has been made in the wake of former top-10 professional tennis player Fernando Verdasco accepting a voluntary provisional doping suspension of two months.

Verdasco tested positive for a medication for ADHD, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced.

Verdasco, who turned 39 this month, said he was taking methylphenidate as medication prescribed by his doctor to treat ADHD but forgot to renew his therapeutic use exemption for the drug.

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The integrity agency said Verdasco has now been granted an exemption by the World Anti-Doping Agency moving forward.

He tested positive at an ATP Challenger tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in February.

Fernando Verdasco (AAP)

The integrity agency said in a news release that it « 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, » and so what could have been a two-year suspension was reduced to two months.

Verdasco will be eligible to compete on January 8.

But his suspension has cast a spotlight on a much wider issue in tennis.

High-profile tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg says « one ATP player told me he estimates ‘half of top 100 is on (Adderall)… maybe more’, and not because they have trouble focusing on their homework ».

 »Lots of cynicism about the TUE system within the locker room. »

The implication is many professional tennis players are alleged to be using the medication illegally to gain an advantage.

When news of the Verdasco ban broke, Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios was quick to jump on Twitter and reignite a longstanding feud with the Spaniard.

« Can’t say I’m surprised with this one, » Kyrgios tweeted.

Kyrgios and Verdasco have beef stretching back to 2018, when the Aussie again used Twitter to swipe his rival after the latter got into an on-court altercation with Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Verdasco unknowingly accused Kokkinakis’ father of speaking during a match, leading to an argument between the pair, and Kyrgios tweeted, « I hope TK wins this match, Verdasco is the saltiest dude, must be frustrated at his past success against Aussies ».

Then in 2019 Kyrgios went on a podcast and labelled Verdasco « the most arrogant person ever ».

– with AP

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