American tennis player, Wayne Odensnik, has been given one of the longest bans in tennis history.
After failing a doping test for the second time in five years, Odensnik was handed a 15-year suspension.
The 29-year-old tennis player, who ranked 267th in the world, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs after being given an out-of-competition drug test in December, putting an end to his ATP Tour career.
The International Tennis Federation sent Odensnki’s urine samples to several labs, each testing positive for anabolic steroids.
The ITF released a joint news statement with the United States Anti-Doping Agency saying, “Those samples were sent to WADA-accredited laboratories in Salt Lake City, USA and Montreal, Canada for analysis, and were found to contain one or more of: metabolites of methenolone; metabolites of androst.”
Odesnik received a two-year suspension in 2010 for possessing eight vials of human growth hormones. That suspension was later reduced to only one year after he cooperated with the ITF’s anti-doping programme.
“I did not know that the sole possession of any banned substance at that time was a violation,” he said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports in 2011. “I know if you take something and test positive, it’s a violation, but seeing as I’ve never taken it, I never thought that with a doctor’s consultation that it would be a doping violation.”
After learning of his 15-year suspension, Odesnik released a statement announcing his retirement. On Wednesday, South-African born Odesnik said he didn’t realize that the over-the-counter supplement he took had a banned substance.
“Upon learning of my positive test results I was immediately heartbroken as words could not describe my shock and disappointment,” he added.
“Being the most tested American tennis player on tour, I would never knowingly have taken any chance of consuming a banned substance,” he said.
Aside from the 15-year suspension, Odesnik will have to return prize money from the Australian Open and two lower level Challenger series events.
Number one Canadian tennis player, Milos Raonic, said that for a stretch in 2013, he was tested 13 times in four months. In regard to Odesnik, Raonic says he’s going to regret his poor decisions.
“There is a price to pay. It’s like the prison of sport, you know. It’s hard to find even a job or anything after that in that same field,” Raonic said.
“So it’s a price he’s going to have to pay. It’s unfortunate he felt he needed to do that, and it’s unfair to obviously other competitors.”