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Page last updated at 21:26 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

Wayne Odesnik facing ban over possession of HGH

Wayne Odesnik
Odesnik turned pro in 2004 and is ranked 98th in the world

American Wayne Odesnik has denied using human growth hormone (HGH) after pleading guilty to importing the substance into Australia.

The 24-year-old world number 103 was fined A$8,000 (£4,850) after being caught with seven vials of HGH and could face a 24-month ban from tennis.

He is currently playing at the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston.

"I have never used nor taken HGH, or any other banned substance in my life," Odesnik said in a statement.

"I am fully co-operating with their investigation and I will have no further comment on the matter until it is concluded."

The International Tennis Federation has defended the fact that Odesnik continues to play on the ATP World Tour.

The player is entitled to put forward a defence and this can take some time and he has elected not to take a provisional suspension

ITF statement

"Odesnik has not as yet been found guilty of a doping offence under the rules of the TADP (Tennis Anti-Doping Programme) and therefore is allowed to play," said an ITF statement.

"In order not to prejudice the player's ability to defend himself in his criminal case, the TADP decided to await the outcome of those proceedings rather than run concurrently, but began the process immediately once the decision of the Australian Court was taken.

"The player is entitled to put forward a defence and this can take some time and he has elected not to take a provisional suspension.

"Whether or not we feel this is good for the image of tennis, he has that right and the ITF and ATP have an obligation to honour it.

"The TADP afford every player the right of due process. We believe this is in the long-term best interests of everyone."

Odesnik, who reached a career high of 77th in the world in April 2009, admitted the HGH offence at Brisbane Magistrates' Court.

Seven vials of the peformance-enhancing substance were found in his bags after he flew in to play at the Brisbane International and the Australian Open.

Odesnik reached the quarter-finals of the Brisbane tournament and the second round of the Australian Open.

"We are extremely disappointed in the behaviour of this individual, which is in no way representative of the sport," said men's governing body the ATP.

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see also
Hewitt wins clay title in Houston
14 Apr 09 |  Tennis
Human growth hormone explained
27 Jul 03 |  Sport Homepage

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