Details of Hingis dope tests might never be revealed

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LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) Details of Martina Hingis's positive dope test at Wimbledon this year might never be revealed if an anti-doping tribunal rules in her favour, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said today.

Yesterday former world number one Hingis announced her retirement from professional tennis after saying she had tested positive for cocaine, though she denied taking the drug.

The London-based ITF is in charge of administering dope tests in tennis and a spokesman explained today that the organisation's rules prohibited comment on or publication of a positive test until any subsequent appeals had run their course.

Unlike in athletics, where officials release a name as soon A and B samples have been analysed even if the athlete maintains his or her innocence, the ITF publishes details only after a player has been to an anti-doping tribunal and lost the case.

If the tribunal finds in the player's favour then details of the positive tests are never revealed.

Hingis jumped the gun on that process yesterday after she said her lawyers advised her that the fight to prove her innocence could go on for years.

In a statement the five-times grand slam champion from Switzerland said: ''I have no desire to spend the next several years of my life reduced to fighting against the doping officials. I am frustrated and angry.'' Hingis said she found the accusation ''so horrendous, so monstrous, that I have decided to confront it head-on by talking to the press''.

The 27-year-old said her legal representative had discovered various inconsistencies with the urine sample taken during Wimbledon and felt that doping officials mishandled the process.

The Hingis case has parallels with that of Briton Greg Rusedski in 2004, who also chose to announce he had failed a test for nandrolone and was later cleared by a tribunal.

REUTERS AB RAI1932

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