By James Crook

strycovaFebruary 14 - Czech tennis player Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova has been given a six-month ban after testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine in October last year at the the BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.

The 26-year-old from Plzen is ranked world number 124, with her best Grand Slam performances coming at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010 when she reached the third round on both occasions.

Strycova receives a six-month ban under Article 2.1 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme; presence of a prohibited substance in a player's sample.

Sibutramine is a banned drug under section S6 of the 2012 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances and prohibited methods, and is also prohibited under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

Strycova denies knowingly taking the banned substance, claiming it had become present in her system through her ingestion of the supplement "ACAI Berry Thin", which is marketed as a "metabolism booster"

She also denies that she took the supplement in an attempt to enhance her performance.

Strycova will be banned until April  16 this year, as her ban has been put back to start on the date of the offence. 

126602770Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova has been banned from tennis for six months after testing positive for a banned substance

Her perfomances at the Luxembourg Open and the 2012 Büschl Open in Germany, have been wiped out, meaning she will lose any ranking points or prize money gained at these tournaments. 

The news comes as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) plan to increase doping measures in the sport following calls from top players, such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

After it emerged that the ITF carried out just 21 out-of-competition blood tests in 2011, the tennis governing body have been under increasing pressure to implement a new system, with the 'biological passport' method cited as the popular choice.

"We're looking very, very closely at it [biological passport method] and I think there's a reasonably good chance that will be operational probably towards the end of 2013," said Dr Stuart Miller, head of the ITF science and technical department. 

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