5th February 2020

Decision in the case of Abigail Spears

A decision has been issued under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “Programme”) that Abigail Spears has committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1. That decision imposed a period of ineligibility of twenty-two months, commencing on 7 November 2019.

Ms. Spears, a 38-year-old player from United States, provided a urine sample on 31 August 2019 in association with her participation in the US Open held in New York, USA from 26 August to 8 September 2019. That sample was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain prasterone (DHEA), testosterone and metabolites.

Prasterone and testosterone are Non-Specified substances, which are prohibited under category S1 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents), and therefore are also prohibited under the Programme. Ms. Spears was charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme (presence of a Prohibited Substance in a Player’s Sample) and was provisionally suspended on 7 November 2019.

The ITF accepted Ms. Spears’ explanation as to how the prasterone and testosterone entered her system and that her use was unconnected to sports performance and, therefore, that she bore No Significant Fault or Negligence for her violation, although her fault was deemed to be high. Ms. Spears was entitled, due to her prompt admission, to her period of ineligibility being back-dated to start on the date on which she was provisionally suspended.

This is Ms. Spears’ first Anti-Doping Rule Violation. The decision determines that:

(1) Ms. Spears has committed a violation of the Programme;
(2) she must serve a period of ineligibility of twenty-two months; and
(3) that period of ineligibility is back-dated to start on 7 November 2019, and so ending at midnight on 6 September 2021.

In accordance with Programme articles 9.1 and 10.8, all ranking points and prize money obtained by Ms. Spears at the Event are disqualified, including the results of her doubles partner at the Event in accordance with Programme Article 9.2.2.

• This media release was published by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on 5 February 2020. Click here for the original, and click here for the Full Decision.

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