Tennis

Top-ranked men's doubles player Robert Farah fails doping test

Men's doubles world No. 1 Robert Farah said on Tuesday that he tested positive for a banned substance, hours after the Colombian pulled out of the Australian Open citing personal reasons.

Canadian-born Colombian blames meat, withdraws from Australian Open

Robert Farah celebrates after winning the men's doubles final at the U.S. Open with partner Juan Sebastian Cabal this past September. (Associated Press)

Top-ranked doubles player Robert Farah says he tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid.

Farah made the announcement on social media hours hours after he pulled out of the Australian Open for what he initially said were personal reasons. Farah said the International Tennis Federation had informed him of the finding.

The 32-year-old Colombian, who was born in Montreal, said the ITF informed him that he had tested positive for Boldenona — an anabolic steroid — which he claimed was the result of eating meat in his home country.

"I will not be able to play at the Australian Open, an event for which I had been preparing since December," Farah, who won last year's men's doubles titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, wrote on Twitter.

"A few hours ago the ITF informed me of the presence of Boldenona in a test that I did on Oct. 17, 2019 in Cali.

"Two weeks before the test mentioned... I did an anti-doping test in Shanghai which had a negative result. And I was also tested at least 15 other times randomly in the international circuit throughout the year with the same negative result.

"As stated by the Colombian Olympic Committee in 2018, this substance is found frequently in Colombian meat and may affect athletes' test results."

Farah said he would consult his group of advisors and consider the next steps to prove he did not deliberately consume the banned substance.

"I am calm and confident in the results of this process since I have always acted correctly and honestly in my life," he added. "I will work harder than ever to return to the courts in the shortest time possible."

Canada-born Farah, who along with long-time partner and fellow Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal were the ATP's doubles team of the year in 2019, had already pulled out of this week's Adelaide International warmup event.

A Tennis Australia spokeswoman told Reuters that Cabal, 33, was expected to remain in Melbourne and play in the doubles with another partner.

The Australian Open starts on Monday.

Nicolas Jarry of Chile was suspended Tuesday for a doping violation during the Davis Cup Finals in November. He contends the positive test is the result of tainted multivitamins.

The International Tennis Federation says the World Anti-Doping Agency found his urine sample taken in Madrid contained the prohibited substances ligandrol and stanozolol. Stanozolol is a steroid and ligandrol can act like a steroid.

In an Instagram post, the 78th-ranked Jarry denied knowingly ingesting them. He adds that the levels cited were "incredibly low" and didn't provide a "performance-enhancing benefit." Jarry intends to co-operate with the ITF and his legal team plans to test the vitamins that were made in Brazil.

He has the right to contest the provisional suspension, but the ITF says he has not yet done so.

The 24-year-old player reached a career-high ranking of 38th in singles in July. He has one singles title and two doubles titles in his career. He reached the quarterfinals in doubles at the 2018 French Open and U.S. Open.

With files from Associated Press

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