MELBOURNE -- Greg Rusedski is no drug
cheat, according to the player who last year had a doping ban
overturned by tennis officials.
Rusedski last week admitted testing positive for the banned
steroid nandrolone during a tournament in the U.S. last July,
but he says he will be cleared of any wrongdoing at a hearing in
Czech Bohdan Ulihrach, who last year was cleared of taking
the same drug, believes the Briton.
"I believe Greg 100 percent. He has my full support,"
Ulihrach told reporters at Melbourne Park as he prepared for
next week's Australian Open.
"Greg was number four in the world so he doesn't need to
take anything like that.
"I believe he's innocent. I went up to him in the locker
room and I told him: 'Greg, I'm sorry. If you need anything,
here is my telephone number. You can call me any time. I'm sure
it's some mistake.'"
Ulihrach is one of seven players now exonerated after an
independent inquiry ruled that they could have taken
contaminated electrolyte supplements handed out by the ATP's
On hearing the results of the investigation in May 2003, the
ATP immediately stopped its staff handing out the supplements.
Rusedski tested positive for nandrolone two months later.
After initially being given a two-year ban, Czech Ulihrach
cleared his name last July.
He said he knows exactly what Rusedski is going through, and
it is not pleasant.
"They were tough times when they suspended me because I
looked like a cheater," he said. "The world fell down for me.
"When they decided I couldn't play for two years, it was a
terrible feeling. It's very hard when you know you are innocent.
"After the man said my sample was positive, I couldn't
sleep. I just wanted to play tennis again.
"I didn't know what nandrolone was. Now I'm smarter and I
know almost everything about nandrolone but I still don't know
where the nandrolone in my system came from.
"I know that some people will never believe me but what can
Rusedski plans to air his case at his hearing in
Montreal on Feb. 9.