Belgian world No.16 Yanina Wickmayer got a one-year suspension, having failed to report her whereabouts to anti-doping officials on three occasions. The 20-year-old is now explaining the whole story, step by step.
Here’s the full transcript of Wickmayer’s presser at the Koning Boudewijn Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who is present here today. It is extremely important for me to be able to tell my story.
– November and December 2008, I was training in Switzerland.
– In January 2009, I was in Australia to prepare myself for the Australian Open.
– Because of this, all of the letters that were sent to my house that had to be signed for, I was unable to receive and were returned to sender.
– On February 18, 2009 I went online and Googled the general email address of the doping agency, and sent them and email to ask for information as I had heard several players talk about the new anti doping program.
– On February 19, 2009, I received an email back, which included a login and did not include any information about the one failed update I had already missed, without knowing that this system even exists, even though all the letters that I had to sign for upon receipt and were sent back to the Flemish Anti-Doping Agency, meaning that they did know that I never received them.
– After this email, I left for the United States for 7 weeks and have tried numerous times to sign on to the system with the login details that they provided to me, which failed time after time.
– In early April, I then sent an email myself again to notify them that I could not get into the system.
– After the weekend, their reply to me was simply that there was a problem with my login and that they have reset this so I can log in with a new login into the system. There was no indication in this email that I now had already had two failures to update behind my name, even though I had not even logged into the system once.
– Following their reply to me and using the new login information, I mistakenly completed the online whereabouts details wrong, as I did not know that you could not select the option ‘competition’ and instead had to select the option “permanent residence”, which I had no idea about.
– In June, I then called Mr. De Bruyn myself to ask him information as to how top complete the wherabouts correctly. I got the information that day for the first. This conversation took place after my 3rd missed update had already happened, even though I had not received any word about this.
– From that day on, my WADA has always been updated correctly and I have been tested out of competition at home.
– At the end of June it was that the Belgian Tennis Federation was notified about the situation. They notified my father about this by email.
Consequences for my career:
– As a result of this, I am being punished extremely hard. I will lose my ranking and will have to start again from 0. I will fight back but there is nothing that guarantees me that I will return to the same ranking.
– Throughout the year, I have had numerous doping test, and I have never failed or refused one.
– I have never had any education or information about it.
– The system is needed and I find it a good idea but it should happen in a more personal manner.
– Tennis players travel a lot so these updates are sometimes very difficult to do.
We are going to appeal this ruling and will do everything we can to get it overturned. If this decision is not overturned and I am not able to compete for a year, I am going to do everything I can to be back at the end of the year even stronger. I am a fighter and won’t give up.
I would also like to thank my team, my fans, and anyone else who have supported me so intensely. Words can not explain how much that support means to me.
(photo via emmett.hume)