LONDON (AP) Former French Open finalist Sara Errani must serve a two-month doping ban after testing positive for the banned substance letrozole in a test taken in February, the International Tennis Federation said on Monday.
Errani blamed contamination from her mother’s breast cancer medication.
“I never took, in my life and during my career, any prohibited substance,” Errani said in a statement. “I am extremely disappointed but at the same time at peace with my conscience and aware I haven’t done anything wrong.”
An adjudication panel ruled that Errani’s fault was “at the lower end of the scale,” but that she should still be banned for two months from Aug. 3.
The Italian has also been retroactively disqualified from tournaments from Feb. 16 through June 7. Her only notable performance in that period was a semifinal in Rabat, Morocco, in May, plus a second-round loss at Roland Garros.
Errani’s ban will end on Oct. 2, precluding her from playing in the U.S. Open.
Errani reached the 2012 French Open final, losing to Maria Sharapova, and has completed a career grand slam in women’s doubles with Roberta Vinci.
The 98th-ranked Errani has won nine singles titles and 25 doubles titles in her WTA career. She reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 5 in 2013.
She also helped Italy to three Fed Cup titles.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.
Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19.
She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10. The dispute with her former partner started shortly after Wimbledon ended.
Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday that every assistance would be provided to the former No. 1, adding “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”
The Australian Open starts on Jan. 15.
LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.
At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.
The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.
Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.
“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”