LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Serbian tennis player Victor Troicki will appear at sport's highest court next week to challenge his 18-month ban for skipping a doping test.
Troicki said Tuesday he is "confident" ahead of his appeal hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Oct. 9. "I will attend in person for sure. I am fighting for the truth and I will do it as hard as I can," the 2010 Davis Cup winner said in an interview supplied by his management team.
The International Tennis Federation banned the 27-year-old Troicki until Jan. 24, 2015 because he refused to provide a blood sample, after giving a urine sample, at the Monte Carlo Masters in April. An ITF tribunal dismissed Troicki's claim that an anti-doping officer at the tournament advised him to write to the governing body citing illness as a reason for not giving the second sample.
"Reading all the papers of the previous trial in London I can't understand why I have been sanctioned, especially this hard," Troicki said. The tribunal ruling published by the ITF described the doping control official, who had 15 years' experience in her work, as "conscientious and cautious" in giving evidence.
"Her response was that this was not a matter upon which she could advise the player," the tribunal panel said. Trociki, however, was described as "confident and determined" though "someone prone to exaggeration in order to make his point."
The tribunal reduced Troicki's ban from the standard two years for a first anti-doping violation because it accepted he was stressed by illness on the day and his long-standing needle phobia. Troicki was suspended in July ahead of the U.S. Open, and his ranking has fallen to No. 69. He peaked at No. 12 in June 2011.
If the ban is upheld, Troicki will be sidelined for five more Grand Slam events plus the Davis Cup final next month when the Novak Djokovic-led Serbs host the defending champion Czech Republic in Belgrade.