The world No 29, Dayana Yastremska, has been provisionally suspended from all tennis activity following a positive doping test. A urine sample given by Yastremska for an out-of-competition test on 24 November contained a metabolite of mesterolone, a synthetic testosterone.
Yastremska has denied committing any offence in a social media statement. “I have never used any performance enhancing drugs or any prohibited substances,” the Ukrainian wrote on Twitter. “I am astonished and under shock, particularly given that two weeks prior to this test, I tested negative at the WTA event in Linz.”
“Only a very low concentration of mesterolone metabolite was detected in my urine,” Yastremska added. “Given that low concentration and my negative test two weeks earlier, I have received scientific advice that the result is consistent with some form of contamination event.
“Due to the confidentiality of the proceedings, you will understand that I am not able to share any further information at this stage. However, I am currently working with my team and you can be assured that I am resolutely determined to do everything to clear my name.”
Mesterolone is a non-specified substance, meaning a positive test carries a mandatory provisional suspension. Yastremska was first charged with an anti-doping rule violation in December and chose not to challenge the provisional suspension.
Yastremska will be provisionally suspended from 7 January and will be unable to compete in February’s Australian Open as things stand. A full hearing into the case will take place at a later date.
Widely seen as one of the rising stars of world tennis, Yastremska has won three WTA titles and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019. In December, the 20-year-old spent two weeks in self-isolation in Dubai after testing positive for Covid-19.
Kenin among big names to progress in Abu Dhabi
Sofia Kenin began preparations for her Australian Open title defence with a 7-6 (4) 6-3 victory over China’s Yang Zhaoxuan in Abu Dhabi. The tournament’s top seed was joined in the second round by a host of big names, with Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza all easing through in straight sets.
In an all-British first-round match, Heather Watson avoided an upset against “lucky loser” Jodie Burrage, winning 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. “I’m not taking anything away from Jodie at all, but I feel like my level was just way off today,” Watson said after booking a last-32 meeting with Ekaterina Alexandrova. “But I just kept trying until the end and somehow got through it.”