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”.