Tennis: Korda to face players' meeting

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The Independent Online
PETR KORDA, the Australian Open champion, said in Melbourne yesterday that he would attend a meeting of his peers this weekend that is due to discuss his lenient treatment over a positive steroid test - but the Czech veteran promised to defend his title at the year's first Grand Slam tournament.

"I will stand in front of the players. I do not have any problem doing so," Korda said. "I didn't do anything wrong, so why I should hide myself?"

Korda spoke as players and officials continued their close scrutiny of his positive test for the banned steroid nandrolone at Wimbledon last year. The 30-year-old was stripped of the ranking points he earned plus the $92,529 (pounds 57,360) prizemoney he won.

An International Tennis Federation Appeals Committee stopped short of sentencing him to the mandatory one-year ban under its own anti-doping rules because it believed he did not knowingly take the drug.

Korda said he had been tested many times, including after last year's Australian Open. "I have never knowingly taken or been treated with any banned substance," he said.

Leading players were split over the controversy.

Andre Agassi said players were entitled to find out the reasons for the positive test and the subsequent light penalty but threw his full support behind Korda.

Thomas Muster, however, said that the ITF had failed to enforce its own rules. "The question is, was he guilty or not? If he was guilty punish him, if not let him go," he said.

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