Colombia's Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion Robert Farah has escaped a doping ban after an ITF investigation accepted his claim that he ingested a banned steroid through contaminated beef cooked by his mother.
The 33-year-old was found in breach of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) after a urine sample provided in October was shown to contain low concentrations of Boldenova - an anabolic steroid banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
An intentional doping violation can carry a four-year ban under TADP Article 2.1 but the ITF said there was no 'fault or negligence' attached to the World No.1, who could continue his career having been provisionally suspended since January 21.
Canadian-born Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal were the ATP's doubles team of the year in 2019 after becoming the first Colombians to win a Grand Slam doubles title.
He pulled out of the Australian Open for personal reasons before announcing the failed anti-doping test.
"Mr Farah's account of how the Boldenone entered his system was accepted and it was determined that he bears no fault or negligence for the violation within the meaning of Programme Article 10.4," the International Tennis Federation said in a statement yesterday.
WADA, who analysed the sample taken from an out-of-competition test, could appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
"Thank you for the belief and support I received," Farah, who in 2018 received a suspended three-month ban for promoting a gambling website on social media, said on Twitter.
Farah accepted that he had committed an anti-doping violation, the first of his career, but successfully argued, through detailed evidence including from cattle ranchers and government officials, it was unintentional.
Meanwhile, Johanna Konta stepped up her return to full fitness with a doubles win at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
The British No.1 (28) and Caroline Garcia of France won 6-3 3-6 10-5 against Germany's Vivian Heisen and Valeriya Strakhova of Ukraine.
It was her first game since losing in the first round of the Australian Open on January 21.