American tennis player Jenson Brooksby is facing an 18-month suspension following an independent tribunal's ruling that he committed three "whereabouts failures" within 12 months. This suspension comes as a significant setback for the 22-year-old athlete, who reached his career-high ranking of No.
33 just last year. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) announced the suspension, revealing that Brooksby acknowledged his responsibility for two of the missed tests. The tribunal also deemed his degree of fault for the third missed test as "high." Brooksby's suspension will be retroactively applied from July 5, 2023, with an end date of January 4, 2025, as per the ITIA.
Brooksby's Hotel Room Controversy
In a statement posted on social media, Brooksby expressed his disappointment and asserted his innocence regarding the June 4, 2022 missed test.
He claimed to have been in his hotel room throughout the one-hour testing window, indicating that the room had been registered in his physio's name until June 4. He asserted that he had requested his name be added days earlier and had even provided his passport to the hotel front desk.
On the morning of June 4, the hotel informed the Doping Control Officer that Brooksby had not checked in, even though his room number was already listed on their computer screen. Despite this information, no attempt was made to contact his hotel room during the testing window, and the Doping Control Officer only called Brooksby's cell phone in the final four minutes, when it was on silent.
Under anti-doping regulations, athletes can face penalties for three "whereabouts failures" within a year, even without a positive drug test.
ITIA CEO Karen Moorhouse emphasized the importance of the "whereabouts program" in maintaining a clean sport, stating that no one wishes for athletes to breach the rules in this manner. Now ranked at No. 301, Brooksby has endured a challenging season, primarily sidelined due to wrist tendon injuries that required surgeries on both arms, first in March and then in May.
He last competed on the tour at the Australian Open in January. As he turns 23, Brooksby has a three-week window to appeal this suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Despite his setbacks, he remains determined to return to the sport he loves and is hopeful for a swift comeback, indicating that he will continue to fight both on and off the court.