Sydney: World number one doubles star Robert Farah has been forced to pull out of next week's Australian Open Grand Slam on Wednesday, after testing positive for a banned steroid.
Originally citing personal reason for his withdrawal from the tournament, hours later the Canadian-born Colombian admitted he had been flagged for a doping violation.
But despite the adverse findings, the 32-year-old Wimbledon and U.S. Open doubles winner explained on social media that his failed drug test is the result of eating contaminated meat from his home country.
"A few hours ago the International Tennis Federation (ITF) informed me of the presence of Boldenona in a test that I did on October 17, 2019 in Cali," he said.
"As stated by the Colombian Olympic Committee in 2018, this substance is found frequently in Colombian meat and may affect athletes' test results."
"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 on the international circuit throughout the year with the same negative result."
Seeking to fight the charge, Farah said he will now consult a group of legal advisors in order to clear his name.
"I am calm and confident in the results of this process since I have always acted correctly and honestly in my life," he said.
"I will work harder than ever to return to the courts in the shortest time possible."
Meanwhile, a second South American tennis player has also fallen on the wrong side of drug testers, with Chile's Nicolas Jarry provisionally suspended by the ITF yesterday.
The 24-year-old hitter who recently took part in Australia's ATP Cup tournament last week, was found by the World Anti-Doping Agency to have the banned substances Ligandrol and Stanozolol in his system after submitting a urine sample following a Davis Cup match in November.
Able to mimic the effects of anabolic steroids, Jarry said the low levels of the drugs in his system are likely the result of contaminated multi-vitamin supplements prescribed by his doctor.
"I would like to let you know that I have never deliberately or intentionally taken any banned substance in my career as a tennis player and in fact, I am completely opposed to doping," Jarry said.
"The levels of these substances are so incredibly low that they are equivalent to trillionths of a gram, levels so low that neither substance could have provided me any performance enhancing benefit."
"My legal team and I will be working very strongly to prove my innocence and for this I have offered my full cooperation to the International Tennis Federation."