Varvara Lepchenko has declined to comment on rumors that she tested positive for a small amount of meldonium, the same substance for which Maria Sharapova is being investigated.
According to the Daily Mail, Lepchenko was asked about her alleged positive test eight times but declined to answer.
"At the moment I have no comment on any of this,” she said. “I'm here just to answer tennis questions. If you have any questions about my match, I would gladly answer them, but otherwise, I just have no comments.”
Lepchenko lost to 27th seed Ekaterina Makarova, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, in the first round of the French Open.
Russian trainer Anatoly Glebov told Sport-Express that, according to her father, the Uzbekistan-born American tested positive for the substance, and no public announcement was made after her case was decided.
"Again, I just—like I said, no comments," Lepchenko said in response to a question about the trainer's comments, according to USA Today.
She later reiterated that she has “no comments."
Lepchenko did not play from the tournament in Doha in February to the tournament in Rome in May. She said that she was out of action because she was nursing a right knee injury, according to USA Today.
Athletes, including tennis players, who test positive for a substance in meldonium’s category are supposed to receive a temporary suspension pending a hearing of their case. (Sharapova is currently under such a suspension.) Those suspensions are not publicly announced, unless they’re acknowledged by the athlete.
Sharapova’s hearing reportedly took place a week ago. She said in a public statement that she had taken the blood circulation drug for years for medical reasons, and did not know it became banned at the beginning of the season.
In April, however, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said that athletes who tested positive for small amounts of the substance during the start of the year could receive reduced bans—or even no bans—because the agency had not established the length of time that it takes to leave an athlete's system.
An ATP player tested positive for meldonium, but received no ban because a tribunal decided it had likely been taken during the previous year when it was not yet banned, the International Tennis Federation announced a month ago. There haven’t been any other announcements about tennis players testing positive for the substance.
More than 250 athletes have tested positive for the substance since it became banned at the start of the season.