The nine months doping ban placed on Croatian tennis player Marin Cilic has been reduced to four months by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (Cas) and is now free to feature at next week’s Paris Masters.
Traces of a prohibited glucose supplement (nikethamide) were found in a urine sample provided by the 25-year-old in Munich in April.
He challenged his ban at the CAS and sought to prove he was not a cheat, saying he had not intended to ingest it in a glucose tablet bought at a pharmacy.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) sought for a two-year ban by appealing the verdict of its own independent tribunal.
And facing a possible two year ban requested by the ITF, the CAS sided with the Croatian player.
“The panel determined that a degree of fault committed by the athlete was inferior to that established in the (tribunal) decision. The panel also determined that the sanction imposed was too severe in view of the degree of fault and concluded that it should be reduced to four months,” the court said in a statement.
Cilic, winner of 2012 Queen’s championship, was cleared to return from midnight Friday.
The player’s ranking, which has dropped to No. 47, is set for an immediate boost with the return of his points from events including the French Open, Wimbledon and the grass-court Queen’s Club event in London, where he lost to Britain’s Andy Murray in the final.
“Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open (in Munich) will not be disqualified and he is permitted to retain the ranking point and prize money that he won at those events,” the ITF said in a statement.
Cilic’s case was fast-tracked following an appeal hearing in London last week, with a verdict promised ahead of Friday’s draw for the Paris Masters.
The former Australian Open semi-finalist now gets back his prize money and ranking points from his first-round win at Wimbledon, and his run to the third round at Roland Garros, where he lost to Viktor Troicki.
The court said it would publish its panel’s detailed verdict at a later date.