American Wayne Odesnik, who pled guilty to importing human growth hormone (HGH) into Australia just before the tournament in Brisbane, has denied taking performance enhancing drugs in a statement released through his attorney.
“The ITF is presently conducting an investigation of me regarding my possession of HGH while in Australia earlier this year,” said Odesnik, who is currently playing the US Men's Clay Courts in Houston. “I have never used nor taken HGH or any other banned substance in my life. I am fully cooperating with their investigation and I will have no further comment on the matter until it is concluded.”
Odesnik could face a suspension of up to two years, but his fate is still undetermined as the ITF, which oversees the sport's anti-doping laws, is still investigating the matter and says that he is still allowed to compete because he's "entitled to due process under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program (TADP)."
" He has not as yet been found guilty of a doping offense under the rules of the TADP and therefore is allowed to play,” the ITF said in a 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 ITF said.
"The player is entitled to put forward a defense 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 honor it. The TADP affords every player the right of due process. We believe that this is in the long-term best interests of everyone concerned."
Odesnik has hired high-powered Miami defense attorney Christopher Lyons to represent him. Lyons is the same lawyer who defended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth, who plead guilty to killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida last year and served just over a month of jail time as well as paying restitution to the victims family, as well as former football Pro bowler Warren Sapp, who was arrested the day before the Super Bowl on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery, but was never prosecuted for a lack of evidence.
After Odesnik defeated Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 6-4 at the Men's Clay Courts on Monday, his young Polish opponent was none too pleased.
“I think it's unfair to do something like this,” said Janowicz. “I think it's some kind of misunderstanding because for me, he shouldn't play at this moment. For sure he should be suspended. It's a bad feeling that he shouldn't play and have to play with that kind of guy. It's very tough to play with that kind of guy. Maybe I can ask to borrow that kind of thing that he's using.”
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