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Chris Chase

Wickmayer's doping ban overturned, but ITF should stand firm

Chris Chase
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Yanina Wickmayer may not be a doper, but she broke the rules of doping and for that she deserves to stay suspended. If a Belgian court gets it way, the 16th-ranked Wickmayer may get off scot free.

The court suspended Wickmayer's one-year ban today, a move that Wickmayer's lawyers hope will allow her to be eligible for the Australian Open. For that to happen, the International Tennis Federation would have to overturn its ban, which was based on the Belgian ban overturned today.

Wickmayer was suspended in November for failing to report her whereabouts to drug testing officials three times this year. The ITF uses World Anti-Doping Agency rules which state that a player must make his or her whereabouts known for one hour per day, 365 days per year.

Whether that's Draconian or not is a debate for another time. It's the rule and Wickmayer didn't follow it. Her lawyers didn't challenge that, instead claiming that Wickmayer says she wasn't "properly informed" of the online reporting requirements. Oh look, it took me 35 seconds to find said reporting requirements with a quick Yahoo! search.

Ignorance of the law isn't a valid excuse. Without strict rules, WADA becomes Major League Baseball circa 1998.

The last thing tennis needs is drug scandal. Lifting Wickmayer's ban would send the message that tennis isn't as serious about doping as it claims to be.

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