Throughout my career, I have always been open and honest with you.
I have been accused by an outsource testing company of taking cocaine during the Championships at Wimbledon. I find this accusation so horrendous, so monstrous, that I have decided to confront it head-on by talking to the press.
My weapon on the tennis court is and always was one single thing: the game, the ingenuity on court. And for this style of tennis, there is only one performance enhancer – the love of the game.
They say that cocaine increases self-confidence and creates a type of euphoria. I don’t know. I only know that if I were to try to hit the ball while in any state of euphoria, it simply wouldn’t work. I would think that it would be impossible for anyone to maintain the coordination required to play top class tennis while under the influence of drugs. And I know one other thing – I would personally be terrified of taking drugs.
When I was informed that the A Test I took following my defeat at Wimbledon apparently came back positive for a cocaine metabolite, I was shocked and appalled.
Acting upon the advice of my family and my management, I immediately took the hair test which can prove whether or not someone has taken cocaine. This test of course produced a negative result, the same negative result as all the countless doping tests that I have taken over the last twelve years.
However, the B Test from Wimbledon once again produced the opposite result – positive for a metabolite that apparently stays in the system for some time following cocaine use.
I immediately retained an attorney. Anybody who even attempts to take on this doping machinery alone has no chance.
The attorney and his experts discovered various inconsistencies with the urine sample that was taken during Wimbledon. He is also convinced that the doping officials mishandled the process and would not be able to prove that the urine that was tested for cocaine actually came from me.
However, this attorney and others have also pointed out to me that a case like this one can sometimes take years to resolve, especially if both sides repeatedly appeal the case and take it to the next level.
And this is the reason for my announcement. 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. I believe that I am absolutely, one hundred percent innocent. The fact is that it is more and more difficult for me, physically, to keep playing at the top of the game. And frankly, accusations such as these don’t exactly provide me with motivation to even make another attempt to do so. I attempted a comeback after a three-year break and succeeded in winning three tournaments, bringing my ranking to 6 in the world. But in the meantime, I’m now 27 years old, and realistically too old to play top class tennis.
So now I’m standing before you, confronting the situation. Today I also informed my sponsors.
And so, considering this situation, my age, and the problems I have been having with my hip, I have decided to no longer play tennis on the Tour.
Upon advice from my attorneys, I’m afraid I am unable to answer any questions. My answers could insult someone and create even more problems for me. Therefore, there is only one more thing for me to do - to thank all of you for many years of goodwill, and also to assure you:
I have never taken drugs.