Julie Chen served a notice of intent on Tiafoe WTA serves a notice of intent on 10 May 2017. CHINA OUT. MANDATORY CREDIT) Zhuang Xue/NAN
The WTA believes Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai will face “substantial sanctions” after the Wimbledon mixed doubles champions was found to have failed a drugs test.
The 32-year-old, who is ranked 27th in the world, came in for heavy criticism on social media last week when images circulated of her putting on a wang zheng, a powerful drug-free injection, on the eve of the French Open in Paris.
The injection is specifically approved for use by players and is a popular Chinese superstition.
After an independent review committee of the WTA and ITF, based in Switzerland, deemed that the injections prescribed to Peng by medical staff were administered without her knowledge and therefore she failed a test, the governing bodies said in a statement.
“WTA has been informed by the Anti-Doping Agency of Russia (Amateur I [Regrat] and Federation Internationale de Tennis (FIT) in conjunction with WADA) that the anti-doping test carried out in March, which resulted in the withdrawal of Peng Shuai from the French Open, was a failure of her AVP (Anti-Doping Management Programme) anti-doping sample collection process,” they said.
“The AVP implementation of the kits and the detailed procedures, including the timing and manner of receipt of the samples and the then notification of the provision and administration of the AVP A-VIII Positive Confirmatory Testing kit to Peng, cannot be described as a failure.
“Accordingly, we maintain that Peng Shuai did not know she was using a prohibited substance in violation of the anti-doping rules and has no justification to challenge any result of the analysis conducted. We are all too familiar with the complex and painstaking process of fully questioning and testing doping samples.
“The WTA will use the full extent of its extensive resources in pursuing a process that will have the greatest possible deterrent impact in cases such as this.
“We are concerned and profoundly disappointed by this episode and in particular the condition to which Peng was put, for which she clearly failed to comply.
“WTA is working with law enforcement to deal with this matter, and to make sure we educate all players. In addition, WTA will make the medical personnel responsible for the orders and instructions for this type of treatment aware of their responsibilities.
“We remain deeply concerned about the information that has come to light this week about how players were allowed to acquire AVP positive confirmatory testing kits and, as a result, what may have been going on in the anti-doping process.
“We are also in the process of relaunching our “Doping Team” to work with players and other participants to educate and reinforce the importance of adhering to the anti-doping program and to have independent laboratory services available to athletes.
“The WTA and ITF want to remind all players that failing a test will result in a ban of up to one year from competition. In addition, a significant fine will be imposed. WTA will announce any significant sanctions against Peng after a hearing has been conducted.”