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2004 Mar 10 - Rusedski cleared by ATP tribunal!

Greg Rusedski has been cleared of knowingly taking the performance enhancing drug nandrolone following a lengthy ATP tribunal which has seen him wait over three weeks for a verdict.

In an official statement released by Greg, he said:

"Late yesterday I was informed by the tribunal that I had been found not guilty of a doping offence.

"The verdict was clear and unequivocal. This is an enormous relief to me and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife Lucy, my family, my legal team Mark Gay and David Pannick QC, Donnay and all my friends for standing by me and believing in my innocence.

"Their constant love, support and loyalty gave me the strength to get through this ordeal.

"I have also been tremendously encouraged by the overwhelmingly favourable reaction of the general public.

"To be allowed to carry on playing competitive tennis and to clear my name has been my priority throughout and now I am looking forward to resuming my career."

Greg's defence was based on the case Czech player Bohdan Ulihrach who was cleared in 2003 under what were considered to be identical circumstances. Apparently, the nandrolone in both cases shared the same analytical fingerprint therefore proving they originated from the same source... ATP trainers!

The pivotal decision for the tribunal panel then became whether Greg knowingly took these supplements after the ATP claim to have informed all players not to take any further supplements in May 2003. However, in the official tribunal statement they came to the conclusion that:

"The ATP argued unsuccessfully that Mr Rusedski could be held to be positive as he must be taken to have known that he should not take substances given to him by the ATP.

"The ATP could have - and should have - taken steps to notify its players in a 'meaningful' and 'direct' way of the reasons for its decision to cease distributing the electrolyte tablets."

The ATP now have 21 days to appeal through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Had the tribunal decision gone against the British No.2 he would have faced a standard two year ban which would probably have ended the career of the now 30-year-old.

Congratulations Greg, we always knew you were innocent!

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