ITF confirms Varvara Lepchenko's positive meldonium test, but eliminates sanction
The International Tennis Federation announced today that American Varvara Lepchenko committed an anti-doping rule violation but will receive no sanction.
Lepchenko, 30, was provisionally banned on March 12, 2016 for testing positive for meldonium. But in its decision released today, the ITF found Lepchenko “bore no fault or negligence for the violation” because of WADA’s revised notice on meldonium, stating that the substance could stay in the body for months after use. After WADA issued the notice on April 13, 2016, the ITF says Lepchenko made a successful application to the independent tribunal to hear the case to have her provisional suspension lifted.
According to the ITF, the meldonium present in her samples came from a course of Mildronate tablets that she stopped taking on or around Dec. 20, 2015. WADA released a second meldonium notice on June 30, 2016, and confirmed that the concentrations found in Lepchenko's were consistent with her pre-Jan. 1, 2016 use.
This decision comes after Lepchenko refused to answer questions about allegations of a positive meldonium test following her first-round loss to Ekaterina Makarova at the 2016 French Open.
“At moment I have no comment on any of this. I'm here just to answer tennis questions. If you have any questions about my match, I would gladly answer them. But otherwise, I just have no comments,” Lepchenko said during the press conference.
The ITF confirmed that any period of ineligibility that may have been imposed on Lepchenko is eliminated entirely. Lepchenko will lose the points and prize money from reaching the quarterfinals in Brisbane.