Marin Cilic says he did not fake a knee injury at Wimbledon in order to disguise a failed drug test.
Cilic was banned by the ITF for nine months last week for testing positive for the banned stimulant nikethamide, which is used by mountain climbers to increase endurance.
The ITF's anti-doping tribunal said Cilic "withdrew from Wimbledon, citing a knee injury to avoid adverse publicity.''
Cilic will challenge the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. And while Cilic said he cannot discuss most aspects of the case, in a statement he released to AFP, he said he wanted to "address certain media reports which have suggested that I feigned an injury at Wimbledon."
"[I had] already developed a significant knee injury before Wimbledon and aggravated it during my first round match," Cilic said in the statement. "[I was] 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."