2023 Wimbledon Girls' Finalist Provisionally Suspended For Doping

2023 Wimbledon Girls' Finalist Provisionally Suspended For Doping

by Nurein Ahmed

One of the Czech Republic's rising young talents, Nikola Bartunkova, has been provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA).

In a press release on Thursday, May 9th, the ITIA noted that Bartunkova tested positive for trimetazidine twice, which is a prohibited substance under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP).

In its statement, the ITIA also confirmed that the samples were taken while Bartunkova was competing at two ITF tournaments: the W50 event in Trnava, Slovakia, in February 2024 and the W75 event in Maribor, Slovenia, in March 2024.

Bartunkova, who turned 18 in February, has a career-high singles ranking of No. 226 on the WTA Tour. She hails from the same tennis club that nurtured her more accomplished peers, such as Marketa Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova.

Last year, she competed in the Wimbledon juniors final but lost to Clervie Ngounoue of the USA. She has played three matches at the Tour level, with her most recent tournament being the Transylvania Open at the end of last year.

She scored her one and only main draw win in Cluj-Napoca over Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska. This season, the 18-year-old has played predominantly on the ITF Tour, where she has a 19-11 record.

Her last match was on April 16th in Chiasso, Switzerland. The ITIA issued her a pre-charge notice of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation the same day and placed her on provisional suspension pending a hearing.

The Czech teenager has since released a statement reported by Jaroslav Plasil on X (formerly Twitter) in which she expressed her shock and innocence and said she was complying with the tennis watchdog.

"I am completely shocked by this situation. I feel innocent, I have never knowingly consumed any banned substance and I and my team have always paid the utmost attention to what gets into my body."

"We are now investigating all possibilities of how the banned substance could have entered my body and we will do everything to have the temporary suspension lifted as soon as possible. I believe that the matter will be clarified as soon as possible. I will not comment further on this matter at this time."


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