Russian teenager banned from tennis for nine months following anti-doping breach: ‘I’m scared to play’
Larissa Ivanov is a 19-year-old Russian tennis prodigy and the youngest woman to make the tour final in six years.
After winning the first-round singles title at the ITF Junior Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, she is expected to play the French Open.
But the teenager’s dreams were put on hold after she tested positive for a banned substance this week. She is now facing a ban from the sport and will have to play in a lower tier of the tour.
“I am really sorry to my friends and to everyone who knows me,” said Ivanov of the positive test by her doctor. “I’m very scared now. It was a big shock for me after I won the tournament.
“I just didn’t want to do something wrong and I’m really sorry to everyone in the world that sees me play.”
Ivanov beat the other singles finalists, the 19-year-old American Madison Keys, the 18-year-old Croatian Ana Konjuh and the 17-year-old German Sabine Lisicki.
She said in an interview with the Associated Press, “This is not even the most important thing. I am playing in the French Open. It is really a disaster.”
The US Tennis Association (USTA), the international governing body for professional tennis, said in a statement, “The USTA is extremely disappointed with the US Open and does not condone violations of the anti-doping rules in the sport of tennis.
“The organization is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding this incident, and we hope that all parties are able to put this issue behind them and move forward with respect to addressing the concerns of all involved. “
The US Open did not immediately return calls for comment.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed the ban and said it would follow up on the situation as soon as possible and that Ivanov has been referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where she is to have her ban heard by a panel of independent