Zagreb - Croatia's Marin Cilic on Wednesday denied allegations that he had pulled out of this year's Wimbledon Championships by faking a knee injury to disguise a failed drug test.
Cilic was banned for nine months last week for testing positive for a banned supplement while the International Tennis Federations' (ITF) independent anti-doping tribunal on Tuesday published the full findings of his case.
Cilic said in a statement that although he cannot discuss his case until it has concluded at the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) he wanted to "address certain media reports which have suggested that I feigned an injury at Wimbledon."
The 24-year-old did not mention the tribunal's findings that stated that he "withdrew from Wimbledon, citing a knee injury to avoid adverse publicity" from a failed drugs test.
Cilic said that he had "already developed a signficant knee injury before Wimbledon and aggravated it during my first round match."
Stressing that he was "nonetheless very keen to continue playing" at the tournament he was then "advised that there was a possibility that my results at Wimbledon could be wiped out depending on the result of my case."
"It no longer made any sense for me to risk causing my knee a more serious injury and to deprive someone else the opportunity of playing deeper into the tournament.
"I therefore took the painful decision to pull out of Wimbledon and to accept a voluntary suspension pending the determination of my case."
The No 10 seed at Wimbledon, having lost in the final of the Queen's grasscourt warm-up tournament in London to Britain's Andy Murray, pulled out of his Grand Slam match against France's Kenny de Schepper on June 26 having accepted a provisional suspension for a positive test.
However, he cited a knee injury as the reason and with seven players in all withdrawing there was speculation the hardness of Wimbledon's courts was behind the unusual number of injury-enforced pull-outs.
Cilic tested positive for banned supplement nikethamide after taking Coramine glucose tablets purchased at a pharmacy in Monte Carlo.
While the tribunal said the offence was "not at the most serious end of the scale" it still deserved a nine-month ban.