LONDON (AP) — After being suspended for doping, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova came close to quitting tennis. Having finally put the perceived injustice behind her, the Czech player reached her first quarterfinal at a Grand Slam tournament on Monday.
The 28-year-old Zahlavova Strycova was banned for six months by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine in October 2012. She claimed she had inadvertently taken the drug through a supplement but was still suspended for the doping violation.
"I felt like everything is unfair and everything is like it happened," she said after beating former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5 in the fourth round at Wimbledon. "I was like, 'I don't want to be here and see the same people every week.' I was empty."
Another doping offender, Marin Cilic, will be playing in the quarterfinals at the All England Club. The big-serving Croat, who defeated Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (8), 6-4, 6-4 Monday, also tested positive for a banned stimulant and served a four-month ban last year. He claimed he didn't intend to ingest the substance, which was in a glucose tablet bought at a pharmacy.
Zahlavova Strycova's ban ultimately motivated her. A former junior world champion, she was 124th in the WTA rankings when she was suspended. She returned on the tour in April 2013 and managed to revive her career, coming back into the Top 50. She is now 43rd, close to the career-best ranking of No. 39 she reached four years ago.
The Czech right-handed player said the first month of her suspension was the hardest to take. That was when she thought about ending her career, but she quickly realized that life without tennis would not be fun.
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