Italian Volandri to miss Australian Open for asthma medicine abuse

January 17th, 2009 - 1:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 17 (DPA) Italian Filippo Volandri will miss the Australian Open after being slapped with a ban for using an asthma medicine containing an excess of a proscribed stimulant.The sanction handed down by the International Tennis Federation means that a new name will be inserted into the draw for the Open starting Monday to face Mario Ancic, Volandri’s original first-round opponent.

Volandri, winner of two clay titles, was sanctioned after testing positive at Indian Wells last March for the stimulant salbutamol, contained in an asthma medicine he had permission to use.

Volandri, 27, blamed the test result on his inhaler.

“The independent tribunal found a sample provided by Mr Volandri on 13 March 2008 at the ATP Tour event in Indian Wells … contained salbutamol at a concentration greater than 1,000 ng/ml,” read a statement from the ITF.

The tribunal accepted that Volandri had not taken salbutamol with intent to enhance his sporting performance, rather he had taken salbutamol to treat his asthma.

“However, it found his exemption certificate only permitted him to use asthma medication in line with generally accepted asthma treatment guidelines, and that the amount of salbutamol he inhaled was not consistent with such use and so could not be said to be proper therapeutic use.”

Volandri will be off the ATP until April 14, in time for the start of the clay season.

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