Alize Cornet of France seeks medical treatment during play against Elise Mertens of Belgium during round three on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 19 January 2018.
PARIS - Frenchwoman Alize Cornet was placed under a disciplinary investigation on Wednesday after missing three random drug tests, the French tennis federation (FFT) announced.
The FFT said they had been informed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that 27-year-old Cornet, ranked at 42 in the world, had missed the tests in a 12-month period and will not be considered for Fed Cup duty while the inquiry is ongoing.
However, she insisted that the ITF "didn&39;t want to hear" her reasons for the missed tests.
"The French Tennis Federation, after being informed by the International Tennis Federation on January 11, takes note of the opening, against Alize Cornet, of a disciplinary procedure for a breach of the rules governing the anti-doping fight, in this case three non-appearances during random checks in the last twelve months," said a FFT statement.
Cornet could be banned from the sport as World Anti-Doping Agency rules allow for a suspension of up to two years.
However, that could be halved depending on the degree of fault. Cornet will now have to prove that she had a legitimate reason for missing one of the tests.
Alize Cornet right now. pic.twitter.com/omS6jLjUQt— Steven Mills (@StevenMtennis) January 24, 2018
Cornet was last in action at the Australian Open where she was knocked out in the third round by Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens.
The Frenchwoman needed a medical timeout in that clash, complaining of the effects of 40-degree heat. She went on to lambast tournament officials for treating players like "robots".
"Among the 20 anti-doping controls that I had in the 2017 season, which were all negative of course, I missed three unannounced controls at home because of valuable reasons that the ITF didn&39;t want to hear," Cornet wrote in a Twitter statement on Wednesday.
"My case will be presented in a hearing in March. I promise you to stay strong during this tough time."
Cornet, who reached a career high of 11 in the world in 2009 and has won five singles titles, will not be considered for the French Fed Cup team&39;s World Group tie against Belgium on February 10 and 11.
"Pending the decision of the international disciplinary bodies, Pierre Cherret, the interim national technical director, in full agreement with Yannick Noah, the captain of the France team, decided to allow Alize Cornet prepare her defence and, therefore, not to name her in the team to be named next week," added the FFT.
"The French Tennis Federation, despite the consequences that the absence of Alize Cornet is likely to cause for the France team on a sporting level, wishes to reaffirm its firm determination to see the anti-doping program of the ITF be fully implemented."