October 23, 2021

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Nicolas Jarry gets 11 months

Nicolas Jarry

Even as the tennis shutdown continues, the anti-doping cases under the ITF’s jurisdiction continue to be adjudicated.

And so, the decision was handed down by the International Tennis Federation on Saturday and announced Monday on Chile’s Nicolas Jarry’s suspension for a positive test during the Davis Cup Finals last November.

The suspension, which could have been a maximum of four years if he bore “significant fault”, has been knocked down to 11 months.

The ban began on Dec. 16, 2019, and will end at midnight on Nov. 15, 2020. Jarry was charged with the Anti-Doping rule violation on Jan. 4, and he was provisionally suspended on Jan. 14.

He made a statement Monday on social media.

Jarry was to have played in the ATP tournament in Adelaide that week. But he was not in the main draw as a lucky loser, even though his ranking would have qualified him. It was only a few days later that the reason became apparent.

Positive for Ligandrol, Stanozolol

Jarry’s test, which came as he represented Chile in the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, was found to contain was found to contain metabolites of SARM LGD-4033 (ligandrol) and stanozolol – which are on the prohibited list under “Anabolic Agents”.

Jarry, seen here on Jan. 6 as Chile took on South Africa in the ATP Cup, found out about his suspension in Jan. 4, when Chile played its first ATP tie against France in Brisbane.

According to the press release, “The ITF accepted Mr. Jarry’s explanation as to how the SARM LGD-4033 and stanozolol entered his system and that he bore No Significant Fault or Negligence for his violation. Mr. Jarry was entitled to have his period of ineligibility back-dated to start on the date of last occurrence of his violation.”  

Two positive tests – one sanction

Here are some of the standout takeaways from the ITF decision, which you can read in full here.

*Jarry took a bespoke combination of prescription supplements from a Brazilian pharmacy – a red flag that he should have been well aware of, since at least a half-dozen players have served, or are serving, doping suspensions following the same process.

*Jarry tested positive a second time in an out-of-competition test on Dec. 16, while he was still taking the same supplements. That’s why the suspension is backdated to that date and not November. However, it’s only considered one violation because he found out about both positive tests at the same time.

*He testified that a sports medicine specialist prescribed four bespoke supplements, created by Orthofarma, a “compound pharmacy” in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His physio, Paulo Santos (a Brazilian) introduced him to the sports medicine physician, who is based in Rio.

Jarry at the 2018 US Open. (Stephanie Myles/OpenCourt.ca)

*After the prescription was filled in Sao Paulo on Oct. 26, it was “thereafter transported via various members of the Player’s support network to the Player in Madrid, Spain, reaching him on 16 November 2019.” It seems … fairly notable that his “support network” would go to all this trouble, considering he only had a few days of play at the Davis Cup finals before wrapping up his 2019 campaign. It certainly could have waited until he got home after the season, no?

Supplements not listed on his form

*Jarry testified that until the summer of 2019, he had faithfully listed all of the supplements he was taking on the form provided for that purpose. But he … stopped, “after he was told by a Doping Control Officer that it was not necessary.” Okay, then.

*After getting word of the suspension, Jarry stopped taking the supplements and personally delivered the remainder to a sports testing lab in Utah. The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory tested one capsule from each of the four bottles. The analysis found stanazolol in out of the capsules, SARM S-22 (in two) and tamoxifen (in one). The latter two are banned substances, but for which Jarry didn’t initially test positive. The lab didn’t find any SARM LGD-4033 in any of the four. Jarry requested the remainder of the capsules be tested (between 50-100 of each of the four prescriptions). They found the SARM LGD-4033 in only three of them.

*The ITF approached the pharmacy that made them, and asked them if any of those four banned substances were on the premises to potentially taint the legitimate supplements. The pharmacy asked the ITF for details on the substances. But they never followed up.

*The upshot is that Jarry established it was “more likely than not” that the presence of the two substances that did show up on the initial tests was because of the tainted supplements.

Other positive tests not on radar

*He said he hadn’t seen the notice issued by the ITF that several players had tested positive after using supplements mixed by South American pharmacies. And that he was “not aware” there was a “significant risk”.

Jarry at the ATP Cup in Brisbane in January.

*Notably, Jarry’s physio had told him – in February 2018 – not to take any more capsules produced by the Rio de Janeiro pharmacy because of positive tests by Brazilian players Thomaz Bellucci and Marcelo Demonliner.

The physio then “sought advice” from the Brazilian Davis Cup team doctor, who visited the Sao Paulo pharmacy to “verify the processes it used to avoid cross contamination, and was satisfied based on what he saw that the Orthofarma pharmacy was a safe place to have supplements produced.”

*Demoliner got three months, Bellucci got five, and Igor Marcondes nine months for similar infractions. On Sept. 12 (six weeks before Jarry’s prescription was sent to the Sao Paulo pharmacy), an Argentine player named Franco Agamenone got a 10-month suspension because of a tainted supplement created … at the same pharmacy. That same day, the ITF put on its website, and also on the ATP Player zone site, a warning. A Spanish version was posted six days later.

*Jarry said he was aware of the Bellucci and Demoliner suspensions, but not the others. He said that’s why he changed pharmacies, from the one in Rio to the one in Sao Paulo. He did this on the basis of the Brazilian Davis Cup doctor’s visit to that lab – which took place nearly two years before.

“More at fault” – only by a month

*The ITF considered that Jarry was “more at fault” than the other players. Because the anecdotal evidence was already growing.

No kidding.

Still, he didn’t receive much of an additional sanction.

And, as you can see from the date at which he can return, the suspension is not frozen during the tennis lockdown. So the clock continues to run, even though the rest of the tennis world can’t continue to play.

Jarry teamed up with Cristian Garin in doubles at the ATP Cup on the very day he was advised of his positive doping test. They beat Mahut and Roger-Vasselin of France. (Stephanie Myles/OpenCourt.ca)

The Chilean will also have to forfeit the big payday earned at the Davis Cup finals (even though he went 0-2 in his singles pool matches). Even though that second positive test came a month later, and the suspension only began on Dec. 16, the ITF confirmed this to Open Court Monday.

So Jarry, who competed for Chile at the ATP Cup in Brisbane in January, will also be out the $45,000 he earned for losing three round-robin matches at the ATP Cup (again, we don’t know about the appearance-fee money), and the $2,665 he earned after losing in the second round of the Adelaide qualifying to Tommy Paul. But the total of ATP Tour ranking points forfeited is only … six.

He did lose the opportunity to earn points and prize money at the Australian Open.

Tennis shutdown a huge help

But in the big picture, he got off easily.

Jarry and Chilean-Canadian Alejandro Tabilo beat Serbia in doubles at the ATP Cup.

As well, Jarry’s ranking currently stands at No. 89, because all ATP and WTA Tour rankings were frozen at March 9.

So unlike most players in his situation, he won’t have to watch all his points fall off as he serves his suspension, and his ranking tumbles down the charts.

To give an approximate idea of what that could look like, Jarry had 405 points (out of 671 total) to defend between Indian Wells and Wimbledon. That included a run from the qualifying to the quarterfinals in Barcelona, and a final at the Geneva clay-court event before the French Open. Failing to defend those – in a normal world – would drop him to about No. 200 in the world. But that won’t happen now.

As well, Jarry won the Bastad tournament on clay after Wimbledon. If that July clay swing (and the US Open) are not held, that’s another 260 points he won’t have to worry about dropping.

And, Jarry didn’t win a match after the US Open. So even if play resumes in the fall, he won’t have any points to defend, even if he would have no opportunity to earn any more.

All in all, the Chilean will come out of this able to pick up almost where he left off. If timing is everything in life, Jarry certainly has good timing.