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Cilic to appeal doping ban

Croatia's Marin Cilic reacts after winning the first set during his men's singles final tennis match against Britain's Andy Murray at the Qu
Croatia's Marin Cilic reacts after winning the first set during his men's singles final tennis match against Britain's Andy Murray at the Qu

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Former world number nine Marin Cilic has said he will be appealing a nine-month doping ban imposed on him after he tested positive for the banned stimulant nikethamide.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on Monday they had imposed the ban on the 24-year-old despite accepting his explanation that he had ingested the substance in glucose tablets and not intended to enhance his performance.

"I will be appealing that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport very shortly," Cilic said in statement through his country's tennis association.

"I wish to emphasize that I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any banned substance in my life and that I am opposed to any use of performance-enhancing substances in sport."

The suspension has been backdated to May 1 to allow Cilic to return to the ATP circuit on January 31 next year.

The ITF said Cilic had tested positive at the BMW Open in Munich in April this year.

"Unbeknownst to me, the glucose tablets contained a substance that is banned in competition although it is allowed out of competition," Cilic added.

Cilic has not played since withdrawing from his second-round match at Wimbledon in June but retains a ranking of 24th in the world.

The tall righthander reached a career-high ranking of ninth in the world in February 2010, spending 11 successive weeks in the top 10.

(Reporting by Igor Ilic, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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