US tennis player Jenson Brooksby has been banned for 18 months after missing three drug tests in a 12-month window, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old from California, who reached a career high world ranking of 33rd in 2022, will be eligible to return to competition in January 2025.
The ITIA said in a statement Brooksby’s suspension had been confirmed following a meeting on October 10 involving the player and witnesses including a doping control officer.
Brooksby admitted missing the first and third drug tests, but had challenged the validity of the second test he was judged to have missed.
However the tribunal dismissed his arguments and imposed an 18-month sanction.
“Having considered the evidence, the tribunal found that Brooksby’s degree of fault for the missed test was high,” the ITIA said in a statement.
The panel said a doping control officer who attempted to carry out the second test had taken “all reasonable steps” to locate Brooksby at the time.
“The whereabouts programme is a vital tool in maintaining a clean sport and no-one wants players to fall foul of the rules in this way,” ITIA chief executive Karen Moorhouse said in a statement.
“We urge all players to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are meticulous with their whereabouts filings.”
Brooksby indicated he planned to appeal the suspension, vowing to “keep fighting” in a post on Instagram after his punishment was announced.
“I have never taken a banned substance in my life, and I was open and honest with the ITIA throughout my case,” Brooksby said.
“I accepted that two of my missed tests were my fault, but I continue to maintain that my June 4, 2022 missed test should be set aside.”
Brooksby said the doping control officer had arrived at his hotel on June 4 to be told that he had not checked in.
In fact, Brooksby’s room had been booked in the name of his physio at that time.
He said that while asked his hotel to add his name to the reservation several days before June 4, staff told the doping control officer he had not checked in.
Brooksby said that the doping officer called his cellphone at 6.56am – but he had not heard the call because it was switched to silent.
“Had the doping control officer called my hotel room even once, I would have for sure been tested because I was awake and had nothing to hide,” he wrote.