American tennis player Jenson Brooksby was given an 18-month suspension after an independent tribunal determined he missed three drug tests within the span of a year.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency said Tuesday that Brooksby accepted that his “whereabouts failures” for two of the missed tests “were valid” and the tribunal found his degree of fault for the other test “was high.”
Under antidoping rules, athletes can be penalized without a positive test if they have three “whereabout failures” within 12 months.
“I have never taken a banned substance in my life, and I was open and honest with the ITIA throughout my case. I understand that it is my responsibility and will learn and grow,” Brooksby wrote Tuesday in a post on social media. “I accepted that 2 of my missed tests were my fault, but I continue to maintain that my June 4, 2022 missed test should be set aside.”
He said he did not know a doping control officer was trying to find him that morning; his cell phone was on silent when there was a call to it; his hotel room was never called.
“I was awake and had nothing to hide,” Brooksby wrote, adding that he intends to appeal the ruling.
He accepted a provisional suspension in July, so his ban will be backdated to then and end on Jan. 4, 2025. He has a three-week window in which to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, something Brooksby’s advisor, Amrit Narasimhan, confirmed to The Associated Press they plan to do.
“Jenson is very disappointed,” Narasimhan said. “We’re focused on our efforts moving forward and appealing with CAS.”
Brooksby, a Californian who turns 23 on Thursday, has been ranked as high as No. 33. He is currently at No. 301 after going most of the season without competing because he needed two operations for dislocated wrist tendons: on his left arm in March, and on his right in May.
His last match on tour came in January, when he beat three-time Grand Slam finalist Casper Ruud at the Australian Open before losing to eventual semifinalist Tommy Paul.
Brooksby’s best result at a major tournament was reaching the fourth round at the 2021 U.S. Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in four sets.
“I will be back,” Brooksby wrote Tuesday, “and I hope it will be soon.”