By Associated Press
2 hours ago
Bulgaria's Sesil Karatantcheva backhands to USA's Venus Williams during ...
SOFIA, Bulgaria - Bulgarian tennis player Sesil Karatantcheva said Thursday she will appeal her two-year doping ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The 16-year-old Karatantcheva, a quarterfinalist at last year's French Open, was suspended Wednesday by the International Tennis Federation after twice testing positive for the steroid nandrolone.
"I will use my right to appeal before a higher authority," Karatantcheva said.
The ban took effect Jan. 1. She had three weeks to appeal.
Karatantcheva tested positive after the French Open quarterfinal, which she lost to Russia's Elena Likhovtseva on May 31. She also failed an out-of-competition test July 5 in Tokyo. Both tests were treated as a first offense by an ITF tribunal that met Dec. 14-15 in London.
Karatantcheva said the reason for the positive tests was "a personal matter." Her father and coach, Radoslav, confirmed earlier reports that said she was pregnant at the time and had a miscarriage.
"The tribunal's ruling is subjective and one-sided." Radoslav Karatantcheva said.
Karatantcheva's lawyer said she wouldn't deny the positive tests, but would try to prove she had not taken banned substances.
"We have very strong evidence, things which were not taken into account at the hearing of the ITF tribunal," lawyer Darina Zinovieva said. "We'll file an appeal as soon as possible, and surely within the three-week deadline."
Karatantcheva, who beat Venus Williams in the third round at the French, is ranked 41st on the WTA Tour. She was the seventh youngest French Open quarterfinalist in the Open era. Her results at Roland Garros will be nullified and she will forfeit her prize money and ranking points won since that tournament.
In December, Argentine player Mariano Puerta was banned for eight years for his second doping offense, in effect ending his career. He was the first tennis player to receive a ban of more than two years.
Karatantcheva has never won a WTA title, but her showing at the French Open made her a player to watch. She lost in the second round at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Before a third-round match against Maria Sharapova in Indian Wells, Calif., in 2004, the then 14-year-old Karatantcheva vulgarly pledged to beat the Russian because of a perceived slight during training. Sharapova won that match and also defeated her at Wimbledon last year.
Karatantcheva spends six months training in Sofia, and the other half of the year in Sarasota, Fla., at Nick Bolletieri's Tennis Academy.
Her parents are champion Bulgarian athletes _ her father in rowing, her mother in volleyball.