Troicki celebrates return with opening Gstaad win
by Agence France-Presse
Viktor made the most of his return to tennis after serving a one-year ban as the Serb defeated Austria's Dominic Thiem 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 on Monday to reach the second round of the Swiss Open.
Troicki took down eighth seed Thiem, tipped as a name of the future, with the win helping to boost the Serb's fragile confidence after being granted a wild card entry after seeing his ranking plummet following his suspension.
Troicki, now 847th in the world, receieved a 12-month ban for delaying a mandatory blood test at Monte Carlo in April 2013 by a day, saying he felt ill.
Despite having blood drawn a day later, he was banned for a year amid protest from Serbian Davis Cup teammate Novak Djokovic.
"It was very emotional, very strange for me," said Troicki. "I want to thank the organisers for this wild card, which means a lot to me."
"This past year was the toughest of my life. It's very emotional to be back and see all of the guys.
"I felt some tightnes in my game and pressure as I played this first match. I'm very happy that I'm through and that I won. I"m hoping to get back to where I was before the suspension."
Despite his defeat by Troicki, 20-year-old Thiem will break into the top 50, becoming the youngest member in that category. The Gstaad debutant secured his best ranking after reaching the third round in Hamburg last week.
"It was a tough first-match draw, Victor was not injured and not sick for a year, so he could train all the time," said Thiem. "I can lose against a player who was once ranked 12th and I'm disappointed.
"I'm here to prepare for Kitzbuehel..it will be home for me and my goal will be to play much better there and Kitzbuehel will feel more normal at 700 metres instead of the 1,050 here.
"To have thought at the start of the year that I would reach 50th (in the world) by July would have been a utopia.
"I just have to set my goals a bit higher now."
Vik's comeback with WC in Gstaad
Viktor Troicki’s exile from tennis has come to an end, as the world No, 842 has received a wildcard into the Gstaad tournament in Switzerland next week, where he will meet Austrian youngster and rising talent Dominic Thiem in the opening round of the tournament.
Viktor gives an interview regarding the verdict of the CAS
You just had the hardest year in your career. How, from a distance, you look at everything that's happened?
Well, everyone has good and bad moments in his life, and this is what life is all about. Face obstacles to become a better person. I have learned a lot from this and I have become stronger and wiser.
Next year could be a year of great returns. Do you have, after all, more motivation to play than before the punishment?
Definitely. When I played every day on the tour, I took everything for granted. Things become a routine. But once I stopped I realized how much I love this sport and how much I love competing.
What is your experience after and during Davis Cup finals, especially the fact that the people in the stands were wearing a mask with your face on it and the whole Arena repeatedly chanting your name?
That was a really tough moment. I watched both matches, semifinal and final on TV at home. I really appreciated the warmth of the Serbian Fans, but had to cry quite a bit as well watching it.
What is more important for you you from the career perspective - return to ATP tennis tournaments or the opportunity to be again part of the Davis cup team?
Both things go hand in hand. If I will be able to win on ATP tour level, then I will be a help for our team. Of course, coming back and play Davis Cup in front of my home crowd will mean the real end of this chapter. Then I will be able to say that it is behind me.
What will satisfy you in the year 2014.? What are your goals?
I don't have a specific ranking goal. I know I want to get back stronger than before, improve all the aspects of my game and improve both my best ranking and my results. I don't know how long it will take, but this is what I will work for.
Do you see yourself and your colleagues as conquerors of the Davis Cup next year?
As you know I won't be able to help the team out in the first two rounds, but in case they make it though, count on me for the semifinals, I will make sure I am ready. Winning the title? Well, we have one of the best Davis Cup players in history in our team. As long as Nole will lead our team, we will definitely have a chance to win each year.
Will the forced tennis break affect negatively or positively on you, your form, your high level of tennis?
Well it is difficult to say now. I can say that I was really down when it all began, and even more when the TAS reduce the sentence to 12 months. But I have been getting better each day, and I have learned to look ahead and not back. How I will perform after a 12 month stop is very difficult to predict. I know I will work and live each day only to come back, then we will see the outcome when competition starts.
Can you continue as if nothing happened? What are your plans for the begining of 2014?
As I said, I am not someone who likes to cry about himself saying he is unlucky or so. Half of the 12 months are already gone, and I am looking only ahead, not back. It is not continuing like nothing happened. It is more making the best out of what happened. In detail it means I will prepare the fitness following Milo's plans and work on my game with Jack. July will be here before we think, so we don't have to waste any time.
How important was for you the support from your teammates, and other players who are not from Serbia, who openly stood on your side?
The support I got from the players was fantastic and very important for me. Novak showed me that he is a true friend and that he has the right character to lead the tour and change the things that don't work. The support of the players already determined the changes in the anti doping rules from the first of january: The doping control officer will not be allowed to release any player who doesn't do a test. He will have to call the tournament supervisor, in order to have an independent witness. I am glad that we achieved it, so nobody will ever have to go through what I went through.
How far does it look July 15th , or the moment when you will officially be able to return to the courts?
July is around the corner. I will work day by day to improve my shots, my game and my overall fitness. The good thing about our sport is that you get new chances every week.
What is your wish for Serbia and our people in the New Year?
I wish all my fellow Serbians a healthy and successful 2014. The economic situation in Serbia is tougher then ever, but I hope everyone will remain optimistic and fight their matches every day with the good spirit.
Viktors statement regarding the TAS decision
The Tribunal of Sports Arbitration has decided that Viktor Troicki will be sanctioned with a 12 months ban.
He will be able to start competing again on July 15th 2014, without any ATP ranking.
I hoped that the most difficult period of my career and of my life would be over, and I really trusted the
judges I met in Lausanne. I had the feeling that they were really looking for the truth and that they had
found it during the hearing. Now this decision puts an end to my dreams of being a top player, of reaching the ATP finals and fighting
against the best in the world. I worked my entire life for it, and it has been taken away from me in one
afternoon by a doctor I didn’t know. Regarding the TAS I can only say that they are humans, and they probably didn’t have the courage to go
against the ITF releasing me and putting ITF in a bad situation. I am sure they feel bad about it, but in the
end they will all go back to their jobs tomorrow, including Doctor Gorodilova, and I won’t. This is what
remains from this case. I thank everyone who has supported me so far, Novak, Janko, my family, my team and everyone who truly
believes I am innocent. I won’t forget it. Thank you also to the press. I was not expecting so much support and good press as I received. It is very easy to talk bad and make titles about a banned player. You did not. I have no idea about what to do now or where to go. I hope somehow I will be able to fight back.
Contact: Corrado Tschabuschnig +39 3355 284890
Official Statement after Viktors hearing in Lausanne
Today my lawyers, my manager and I have attended the appeal at the Tribunal for Sports Arbitration.
We are now bound to confidentiality regarding the hearing. I kindly ask all our friends at the media to respect this and to wait with us the decision of the panel.
Excuse us in advance for not answering your requests.
Viktor gets CAS date to appeal 18 month ban
The Sports Arbitration Tribunal (TAS) in Lausanne has set 9th October as day for Viktor Troicki’s appeal, the Serbian tennis star who has been suspended for 18 months for skipping a blood test last April, during the Rolex Masters in Monte Carlo.
Viktor Troicki has been accused by the Doping Control Officer to have refused to provide a blood sample. However, Viktor and his coach Jack Reader declare that the Doping Control Officer checked him and assured him that he could skip the test without any consequences.
Miro Bratoev, Tour Manager at the ATP World Tour, declared in writing he saw both Viktor and his coach separately right after the test, and was told the same version of the story by both. Nevertheless, the independent tribunal organized by ITF condemned Viktor to a career-endangering suspension till the beginning of 2015, and to try and restart his career with no ATP singles ranking left. This is understood to be one of the toughest first offence bans ever handed to a tennis player.
We interviewed Viktor about the upcoming trial.
First of all, how are you feeling Viktor?
I am really relieved that we finally have a date and that it is already next week. It has been a very long waiting period, in which I tried to stay focused and continued training.
Did your team, Jack and your trainer Milos Jelisavic stay with you during this period?
Yes, they stayed by my side and it has been very important for me. They tried to keep working with me as usual and kept me in good spirit. But we are now really tired of waiting in the tunnel. Practicing without any goal wears you out, especially when you see your ATP points falling off and your ranking dropping each week. I can’t describe it, it eats you up.
You were in Belgrade during the Semi-finals of the Davis Cup, but you were not allowed to enter the stadium. You said in an interview that you watched the matches on TV. How did you feel when Janko won the decisive singles?
I was really happy for them, for us. I know they all want me back in the team and I love to play with them. They are all great persons first, and then great players. When Janko dedicated the tie to me and Novak took the microphone and got the stadium to shout “Viktore” I had a breakdown and started crying like never before in my life.
How do you feel about the trial in Lausanne? Will you attend in person?
Yes, I will attend in person for sure. I am fighting for the truth and I will do it as hard as I can. I feel confident. Reading all the papers of the previous trial in London I can’t understand why I have been sanctioned, especially this hard.
Will you have the same lawyers from Studio Chiusano in Turin to represent you?
Yes, it will be the same team. I think they worked really well in London and I trust them. They have a lot of experience in sports, as they represented Juventus FC for decades. And they really trust me and they are convinced that I am 100% innocent.
What do you expect from the TAS?
I really hope that they will turn around the decision of the ITF. I have done nothing wrong, apart from following the instructions of the Doping Control Officer. I even asked for a doctor to be called to the room, but she said she was in charge and showed me her diplomas. She kept saying “don’t worry” to me, so I relied on her. And so did Jack, who was with me during half of the time I spent with her.
I really put all my hopes in the judges that will decide in Lausanne. I hope they take their time and that they really find the truth. I don’t even want to think about anything else.
There have been talks about a document signed by several top 50 players demanding new rules in the doping control station. Is it true?
Yes it is true. Novak is the first one who signed it. The players demand that the Tournament Supervisor or the ATP Tour Manager must be called to the doping control station if there are problems. No one should leave the room without providing samples if one of them has not been called. The players are worried: what happened to me could have happened to anyone of them.