US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer and her Belgian compatriot Xavier Malisse were on Thursday handed one-year bans for falling foul of doping regulations, the Belga news agency reported.
Wickmayer, the world number 18, was suspended by the Flemish Doping Tribunal (VDT) for failing to fulfil [sic] the controversial "whereabouts rule" while Malisse was also punished for missing a drugs test.
Both players can appeal their suspensions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The suspension was announced despite 20-year-old Wickmayer currently playing in the Tournament of Champions event in Bali where on Friday she would be attempting to reach the semi-finals.
Wickmayer was accused of failing on three occasions to fulfil [sic] the ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) under which athletes are obliged to tell national anti-doping authorities where they will be at a chosen hour each day for a three-month period.
The sanctions came as a surprise - only last month, it was expected that the two players would escape with just a reprimand.
Malisse, 29, is currently 95 in the world, having been at 19 in 2002. He has won three titles in his career.
Color me curious that two Belgian players who haven't even tested positive for anything are banned for a year by a Flemish Doping Tribunal from the sport simply for not reporting whereabouts or missing a test mere weeks before another controversial Belgian player returns to the tour.
Can't say I'm a fan of either player -- didn't even know Malisse was still playing -- but this seems like overkill.
Actually, I think it's outrageous.
Wickmayer, who's contesting that other event that has no business on the WTA calendar, said she would immediately appeal.