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2004 Jan 11 - Rusedski grateful for support

Greg Rusedski claims to have received overwhelming support from his fellow tennis pro's since protesting his innocence over a positive drugs test for nandrolone. It includes the recent backing of former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt who is no fan of the ATP - He launched defamation action against the ATP in June 2003 at the South Australian Supreme Court following a substantial fine he was issued due to his refusal to be interviewed by ESPN before the Cincinnati Masters in 2002.

In a statement, Greg said:

"I have been very encouraged by the reaction I have had from people, I have had nothing but support.

"Even in the locker room I have been particularly encouraged by the players' reaction. They have been very positive and sympathetic towards me."

The British No.2 will play on despite the nandrolone allegations hanging over his head. Ironically, his first round match in the adidas International in Sydney, Australia, will be against Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina, himself banned for 3 months following a positive test for the steroid methyltestosterone.

Greg added:

"I want to concentrate on my tennis right now. I have a match coming up, I have got to get ready for Sydney this week and I have got the Australian Open as well.

"I am looking forward to playing my match against Chela. It is obviously going to be a difficult first round match.

"I want to concentrate on my game of tennis right now, that is what I do for a living and that is why I am in Australia."

When questioned on the topic, Lleyton Hewitt commented:

"You can't find a guy guilty until you prove him guilty. Greg is playing here and in Melbourne.

"I would say `hello' to him. I am not that close to Greg, but I would not ignore him or anything, that's for sure."

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