Nuria Llagostera Vives suspended

LONDON -- Spanish tennis player Nuria Llagostera Vives was suspended for two years on Monday after testing positive for methamphetamine last summer at a California tournament.

Her ban expires Sept. 7, 2015, the International Tennis Federation said. The 33-year-old Llagostera Vives now plays only doubles; her singles ranking reached No. 35 in 2005.

She was to have played doubles with Francesca Schiavone at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif., in July, but withdrew because the Italian was not well, the ITF said.

Llagostera Vives was still randomly selected for testing and could not explain how the drug entered her system, according to a ruling by the ITF's independent tribunal that the governing body published.

The day before the doping control, Llagostera Vives visited San Francisco but said she had "only consumed a bottle of water" while there, the ruling stated.

ITF expert witness Christiane Ayotte said the banned substance "was and is available only as a street drug (crystal meth or meth) or as a stimulant or as a party drug," except when prescribed for some behavioral disorders.

The ruling stated that Llagostera Vives did not claim a medical exemption, which would explain why the substance was present, and only later said she took some supplements and over-the-counter medications in the days before the doping control.

The tribunal expressed concern about how the ITF educated players in completing paperwork when asked to give samples.

Llagostera Vives retains prize money and ranking points in tournaments since July, including reaching the round of 16 at the U.S. Open while paired with Liezel Huber.

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