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Spanish Tennis Pro Nuria Llagostera Vives Draws Two Year Suspension for Positive Methamphetamine Test
On Monday, November 11th, 2013 the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that Spanish competitor Nuria Llagostera Vives is to be suspended for two years following a positive test for methamphetamine earlier this year.
Vives was scheduled to play doubles in the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford California, USA, beginning on July 28th, 2013, but her partner – Francesca Schiavone of Italy – was feeling under the weather and cancelled. Although Vives and her partner were withdrawn from the competition, Vives was randomly called to provide a urine sample. The sample was sent to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited lab in Montreal, Canada, and was found to contain the recreational party drug methamphetamine.
Vives was unable to explain how the drug had entered her system. Though she had traveled to San Francisco the day before she was called to provide a sample, Vives said she only consumed a bottle of water while there. Vives’ official provisional suspension began on September 8th, 2013 until an independent hearing could be held. That hearing was concluded this Monday (November 11th 2013).
Further damaging Vives’ defense was the testimony of Christiane Ayotte, an expert witness for the ITF, who stated that the substance in Vives’ system “was and is available only as a street drug (crystal meth or meth), or as a stimulant, or as a party drug,” except when in rare cases the drug is prescribed for certain psychological disorders. “It is not something that athletes or normal people…would be exposed to,” Ayotte added.
Vives has competed in five tournaments since July, and will not forfeit the ranking points and prize money earned from those tournaments.
Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez were the doubles champions at the 2009 WTA Tournament Champions, defeating Venus and Serena on the way to the finals. Vives also took Silver in the 2005 Mediterranean Games singles tournament against fellow Spaniard Laura Pous Tio. Her all-time best singles rank is No. 36 in the world and was also achieved in 2005.
Vives’ suspension will end September 7th, 2015.