Top-ranked doubles player Robert Farah says he tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid.
Farah made the announcement on social media hours hours after he pulled out of the Australian Open for what he initially said were personal reasons. Farah said the International Tennis Federation had informed him of the finding.
The 32-year-old Colombian said he tested positive for Boldenona, which he claimed was the result of eating meat in his home country.
“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 in remarks translated from Spanish on Twitter.
“A few hours ago the ITF informed me of the presence of Boldenona in a test that I did on October 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.”
The Canadian-born Farah and fellow Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal, his long-time partner, were the ATP’s doubles team of the year in 2019. They had already pulled out of this week’s Adelaide International.
Farah was still listed on Wednesday morning atop the ATP doubles rankings list, tied with Cabal with 8,170 points each.
Cabal was expected to remain in Melbourne and play doubles with another partner.
The Australian Open starts on Monday.