MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Men’s doubles world number one Robert Farah said on Tuesday that he tested positive for a banned substance, hours after the Colombian pulled out of the Australian Open citing personal reasons.
Farah, 32, said the International Tennis Federation (ITF) informed him that he had tested positive for Boldenona — an anabolic steroid — which he said was the result of eating Colombian meat.
"I will not be able to play at the Australian Open, an event for which I had been preparing since December," Farah, who won last year's men's doubles titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, wrote on Twitter here.
“A few hours ago the ITF informed me of the presence of Boldenona in a test that I did on Oct. 17, 2019 in Cali.
“Two weeks before the test mentioned... I did an anti-doping test in Shanghai which had a negative result. And I was also tested at least 15 other times randomly in the international circuit throughout the year with the same negative result.
“As stated by the Colombian Olympic Committee in 2018, this substance is found frequently in Colombian meat and may affect athletes’ test results.”
Farah said he would consult his group of advisors and consider the next steps to prove he did not deliberately consume the banned substance.
“I am calm and confident in the results of this process since I have always acted correctly and honestly in my life,” he added. “I will work harder than ever to return to the courts in the shortest time possible.”
Canada-born Farah, who along with long-time partner and fellow Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal were the ATP’s doubles team of the year in 2019, had already pulled out of this week’s Adelaide International warmup event.
A Tennis Australia spokeswoman told Reuters that Cabal, 33, was expected to remain in Melbourne and play in the doubles with another partner.
The Australian Open starts on Monday.
Reporting by Ian Ransom, additional reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis