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Coria suspended after testing positive for nandrolone

December 22, 2001

<br />PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (AP) -- Argentine tennis player Guillermo Coria was suspended Friday for seven months and fined $98,565 by the ATP after testing positive for nandrolone.

The 19-year-old player tested positive for the banned steroid at the Seat Godo Open in Barcelona on April 25. He was knocked out by Switzerland's Michel Kratochvil in the second round of the tournament.

Coria was ranked 30th on the ATP Tour at the time of the test. In addition to the fine, he must forfeit ranking points and will fall outside the top 100 upon his return, the ATP said.

Coria has not competed on the ATP circuit since Aug. 6, and will not be allowed to return to competition until March 13, 2002.

He tested positive after taking a nutritional supplement, the ATP said.

``This decision is a very clear warning to tennis players and all world-class athletes about the risks of consuming dietary supplements,'' ATP chief executive officer Mark Miles said.

``Even though the evidence in this case showed that the supplements consumed by Mr. Coria were contaminated during manufacturing and did not list the banned substance on the label, he still must pay a significant price through the suspension and forfeiture of points and prize money.

``We repeatedly warn players that they consume supplements at their own risk.''

Coria, who won his first ATP tournament in February, said in a statement he was devastated by the penalty.

``I have not and would never take banned substances to enhance performance,'' Coria said.

``Prior to taking this multivitamin, I reviewed the label's ingredients and discussed the use of the product with my physician, a highly reputable tennis and Olympic expert who knows the anti-doping rules. That's why I was so shocked when I tested positive.''

He added that he ``proved ... that I did everything possible to abide by our anti-doping rules.''
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