Beck receives two-year suspension for doping

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The Independent Online

Karol Beck was suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation yesterday after testing positive for the steroid clenbuterol during last year's Davis Cup semi-final. The 23-year-old Slovak returned a positive test in Slovakia's 4-1 win over Argentina in Bratislava in September. Beck won both his singles and doubles as Slovakia reached their first final, which they lost to Croatia.

The ITF said the suspension would be backdated to 1 November 2005 and run until 31 October 2007. Beck's results in the semi-final are automatically disqualified, although the overall result of the tie will not be reassessed. Beck's ranking points and US$42,935 (£24,643) prize-money won since the test are forfeited.

He is the third player in the last two months to receive a drugs ban. In December, Argentina's Mariano Puerta was banned for eight years - the longest suspension in tennis history - for his second doping violation. Last month, the 16-year-old Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva was banned for two years after twice testing positive for the steroid nandrolone.

Tim Henman has pulled out of the Marseilles Open because of a sore back. "I'd rather not take the chance. I still hope I can play in Rotterdam next week," said the 31-year-old, who has suffered back problems for more than a year. Henman, ranked 36 in the world, was to face Frenchman Alexandre Sidorenko, winner of the junior title at the Australian Open last month.