The Spanish tennis player Fernando Verdasco39 years old, 7th in the world in 2009 and currently 125th, is one of the most popular athletes to have confessed that he suffers Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The problem did not prevent him from becoming an elite player and, with the corresponding medication, he has it under control. However, an oversight caused him headaches: he received a two-month provisional suspension because he forgot to renew the TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) for his ADHD medication and failed a doping control (the substance found in a sample of urine was methylphenidate).
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) accepted that the player (one of the Spanish champions of the 2008 Davis Cup against Argentina, in the controversial series played in Mar del Plata) “did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional,” and that you are not significantly at fault or negligence therein. That is why he decided not to apply a greater sanction (it could have been two years) and the punishment will end on January 8 (it will give him time to act in the Australian Open qualifying, which will begin a day later, on 9/1).
“ADHD is a mental disorder that comprises a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. ADHD in adults can lead to unstable relationships, poor performance at work or school, low self-esteem and other problems (…) Symptoms begin in early childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until the person is an adult. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease, but problems with impulsivity, restlessness, and difficulty paying attention may continue,” describes the Mayo Clinic in the United States.
Verdasco, one of the most outstanding Spanish tennis players of the last 15 years, was tested at the Challenger in Rio de Janeiro in February of this year and found to have the prohibited substance. The left-handed player, winner of seven titles, “admitted an anti-doping rule violation and explained that he had been medically diagnosed with ADHD and legitimately used methylphenidate as a medication prescribed by his physician to treat the condition pursuant to a Therapeutic Use Exemption, but forgot to renew the document when it expired.” Since that finding, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has granted Verdasco a new TUE so that his medication can continue.
Verdasco has not yet publicly referred to the fact, but the case did generate many repercussions in the tennis circuit. The Australian Nick Kyrgios (currently 22nd in the ranking), for example, published an acid tweet: “I can’t say I’m surprised by this”.
The dissemination of the suspension to Verdasco raised concerns that he is not the only player who uses an “aid” to improve concentration during matches. The American tennis player Pam Shriver and the current number 38 in the ranking, Reilly Opelka, expressed concern that the use of this drug is more widespread than is officially recognized.
“Through professional tennis rumors, I’ve heard that many players take ADHD medication to help sharpen focus and concentration in a way that raises integrity issues,” Shriver, 3rd in the world in 1984, posted on his account. Twitter.
Opelka also tweeted about the matter: “One of the biggest problems in tennis. Why are men taking Adderall (ADHD medication) for the first time in their lives as adults? legal doping”.
Since they took the urine sample that would finally determine doping, Verdasco was able to play 26 tournaments. His brief suspension coincides with the offseason and he will be able to reappear in Australia. Surely the case will continue to have debates and peripheral chapters.
Penalty for promoting bets on the networks
The International Tennis Integrity Agency also sanctioned Americans Bob Bryan and Mardy Fish, current drivers of the North American Davis Cup team, with a four-month suspension and a $10,000 fine “for violating tennis betting sponsorship rules.” . Suspensions will not take effect unless a new violation occurs during the four month period.
Bryan and Fish were penalized after acknowledging a betting operator’s promotion on social media. Both “cooperated fully with ITIA’s investigation and removed the messages immediately.”
“Bob and I did a DraftKings promotion during the US Open that we didn’t know we couldn’t do. As soon as we found out, I deleted the posts and cooperated with ITIA,” Fish told The Associated Press.