Italian tennis player Sara Errani has failed a doping test and has been banned for two months the International Tennis Federation announced on Monday.
The former Roland Garros runner-up tested positive for the aromatose inhibitor, letrozole, in an out-of-competition test on February 16, 2017. Letrozole is typically used for the treatment of hormonally-responsive breast cancer after surgery and can hide the presence of the male hormone testosterone. It is listed on the WADA prohibited list as a hormone and metabolic modulator.
According to the ITF report, Errani said the substance was present in her system because her mother’s medication spilled over her food.
“The most likely way in which the player came to ingest letrozole was by accidentally consuming her mother’s anti-cancer medication ‘Femara’,” said the ITF report.
Errani’s mother, Fulvia, told an Independent Tribunal that she has been battling breast cancer since 2005, and has had surgery twice.
“On 18 April 2017, Ms. Errani was charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme (presence of a Prohibited Substance in a Player’s Sample). She promptly admitted that she had committed the Anti-Doping Rule Violation charged, and asked for a hearing before an Independent Tribunal in accordance with Article 8 of the Programme to determine the consequences to be imposed on her for that violation,” read a statement published on the ITF website.
The hearing took place on July 19 and Errani received a two-month ban starting from August 3 and ending on October 2, 2017.
Her results between February 16, 2017 (the date of sample collection) and June 7, 2017 (the date of her next test, which was negative) will be disqualified, resulting in forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that she won at events during that period.
Errani is currently ranked No98 in the world. Her most recent title came in Dubai last year.
Part of the evidence submitted to the Independent Tribunal included statements from her parents who said that they conducted an experiment to see if the ‘Femara’ can dissolve in food. They said that it dissolved in both broth and meat mixture used in making tortellini.
“Clearly this was not a test under laboratory conditions and no weight can be given to it. Equally neither can it be dismissed,” read the ITF report.