Tennis: ITF wins Korda appeal

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PETR KORDA may yet be banned for a year for a positive drugs test at Wimbledon last year. The Court of Appeal in London ruled yesterday that the International Tennis Federation could take the Czech former Australian Open champion to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

Lawyers representing the 31-year-old Korda will be allowed 20 days to prepare their case, and the ITF is hoping that a result will be reached well before this year's Wimbledon Championships in June. Yesterday's ruling overturned a decision in the High Court by Justice Lightman.

On 21 December Korda was fined his Wimbledon prize money (pounds 59,080) and docked his world-ranking points by the ITF's independent appeals committee after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone following his defeat by Britain's Tim Henman in the quarter-finals. But Korda was not given a statutory one-year suspension.

The ITF's appeals panel cited "exceptional circumstances". Korda said he did not know how the banned substance found its way into his body. The ITF, amid criticism from leading players that Korda had been treated leniently, said the appeals committee had misapplied the regulations, and lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which can now be heard.