Dirty kitchen worktop gives Sara Errani a doping ban!


Italian Sara Errani is the latest subject of a doping scandal in tennis and the chain of events that led to her blood being contaminated with an illicit substance is more than bizarre.

The 30-year-old provided a urine sample on February 16th and it was found to contain letrozole, concentration level 65 ng/mL, which WADA lists as a prohibited substance. As you can read in the “Decision in the case of Sara Errani”, at the time period in question, the 2012 French Open runner-up stayed at her parents’ place in Italy and on February 14th or 15th her mother Fulvia had dropped some pills for her breast cancer treatment on a kitchen worktop where tortellini and broth were later prepared, resulting in the food getting contaminated with letrozole. It was also subsequently confirmed that Sara’s hair contained no trace of the prohibited substance, while her mother’s hair showed evidence of regular use.

As a result of the findings, the Tribunal concludes that the degree of fault is at the lowest end of scale, thus the period of Sara’s ineligibility will be just two months, beginning August 3rd and ending at midnight on October 2nd. However, Sara’s results between February 16th and June 7th (the date of her next test, which was negative), should be disqualified.

Can you believe this? How unfortunate for Sara! Her comment was that she was “very frustrated” and “extremely disappointed” by the sanction but was “at peace with my conscience and aware I haven’t done anything wrong”.




  1. Sara is a great athlete with an even better personality. It’s hurts to see this happen at such a low point in her career where she is desperately trying to stay in the top 100 and just 5 years ago she was dominating in the top 10. In a weird way I believe this story despite its extravagant sequence of events. She really never showed any signs that she would’ve done this , but then again nobody ever would’ve thought that Sharapova would’ve been involved in such a dramatic scandal. I hope all goes well for her in this case. Maybe the time off will help her energize and recharge to maybe restart her career and hopefully play longer with more successful results.

  2. Nathan C, you’re right, it’s definitely the worst timing, as she’d already been at a low point in her career, struggling to keep herself above water. I also believe her explanation because the evidence proves her intake of the substance was not regular, supporting the accidental contamination story, which does sound surreal.

  3. According to a report in the New York Times, her mother now says she accidently dropped the pills into the food she was cooking. This is all odd and her connection to the banned doctor is also not a good thing.
    As I fan I take a zero tolerance to doping and refuse to make excuses. The players must serve their time and comeback but no excuses.
    The only concession I make is for those who test positive for things that are not PEDs.

  4. Sabey, where did you read that it is out a PED? Her mother did not drop it in the soup, rather, she took those pills in proximity to the place where she prepares food, so contamination was possible. You can find her exact statement in the Decision I linked to in the article.

  5. @Sabey: Not a PED but “Letrozole is an ancillary drug not particularly used for the purpose of performance enhancement, but instead is utilized to combat or mitigate various Estrogen-related side effects when aromatizable anabolic steroids are utilized”. So, still a bit suspect…

  6. Sabey, yeah I saw that, but they didn’t quote her, they just interpreted the transcript I mentioned in that way. In the transcript you can see what exactly she said and I don’t see she said that she dropped a pill in her broth.


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