Rusedski remains defiant over test as Cash stirs hostility

Greg Rusedski remained defiant yesterday, claiming he had the support of fellow players as he seeks to clear his name after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone.

Greg Rusedski remained defiant yesterday, claiming he had the support of fellow players as he seeks to clear his name after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone.

"I've had nothing but support from people, even in the locker room," the British No 2 said in a statement. "I've been particularly pleased by the players' reactions. They've been very positive and sympathetic towards me."

Rusedski admitted last week to the positive test, which relates to a sample taken at a tournament in Indianapolis in July. He subsequently issued a lengthy defence, claiming the steroid originated in a nutritional supplement handed out by trainers on the ATP men's tour.

The Canadian-born Briton, who faces an anti-doping tribunal in Montreal next month, claimed he was being unfairly singled out. He said 47 other players had been exonerated because their tests showed an unexplained "common analytical fingerprint".

The ATP has admitted that trainers may have unwittingly given banned substances to players, and lifted a two-year ban on the Czech Republic's Bohdan Ulihrach for a nandrolone offence. But the ATP's David Higden said yesterday that trainers stopped giving out supplements last May, two months before Rusedski failed his drugs test.

Asked whether the former US Open finalist would be able to prove his innocence, Higden replied: "We would have to determine whether Rusedski's case occurred before that time [May 2003]." He added: "We feel our drugs-testing programme is stellar and comprehensive, and internationally recognised as one of the top testing programmes."

Rusedski released his latest statement as he prepared to play Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela today in the first round of the Sydney International, a warm-up event for the Australian Open. Ironically, Chela was suspended for three months in 2001 after testing positive for a banned substance.

Among players expressing support yesterday was Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, the former world No 1, who said: "You can't find a guy guilty until he's actually proven guilty." Hewitt told a press conference in Sydney: "He's playing here and in Melbourne. I'd say hello to him. I'm not that close to Greg, but I wouldn't ignore him or anything."

But that sympathy is not shared by Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon champion who coached Rusedski for six months in 2001 before an acrimonious split over money. Cash wrote in a Sunday newspaper yesterday that his stint as the 30-year-old's coach "did more than any other experience to make me doubt my faith in human nature".

Cash wrote: "There will be few tears shed in the world of tennis over the predicament of Greg Rusedski. Few characters can be as complex. Self- absorbed, yet extreme in his desire to be liked. Hearing his pained insistence of innocence only brings back agonising reminders of the unpleasant time I spent as his coach.

"When something goes wrong in Greg's career, he has to find somebody else to blame," he added. "Loyalty has never been his strong point. Greg has no friends among his fellow players. I found it difficult to get others to practise with him."

The debate about the ATP's contaminated supplements took a new twist yesterday after David Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said the conclusion that they might be responsible for the flurry of positive nandrolone tests lacked "rigour and scientific certainty".

Howman said the agency was disturbed that the ATP had exonerated players who had two to four times the permissible level of nandrolone in their bodies on the basis of that finding. "Our concern is that the theory they developed, and on the basis of which they have exonerated these players, may be incorrect," he said.

Howman added that if the source was not the supplements provided by trainers, another common source was likely and that source might be more sinister. He said Wada was carrying out its own, independent evaluation of the failed tests, but those results would not be available for about two weeks.

Rusedski, who faces a possible two-year ban, is free to play on until the Montreal hearing. He plans to compete at the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne a week today. He said he was looking forward to playing in Sydney this week. "I want to concentrate on my game of tennis right now," he said. "That is what I do for a living, and that is why I am in Australia."

In Sydney, he has been taken under the wing of David Lloyd, the former British Davis Cup captain, who arranged for him to stay at his hotel rather than the official tournament headquarters.

Lloyd wrote in a Sunday newspaper: "I would stake my life that Greg has not deliberately taken a performanceenhancing drug. In my experience, he is one of the most honest men I have ever known."

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny are preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there