"Tennis: Marin Cilic says that after serving a four-month doping ban, he was thrilled to be back on court for his first-round match at the Paris Masters.
"I felt like a kid playing for the first time," Cilic told reporters after he beat Igor Sijsling. "The feeling was amazing just to be back on the court, to be competing and I enjoyed every moment. My thoughts were just on how much I am enjoying it and how I am happy to be back on the court."
The Court of Arbitration of Sport decided to reduce Cilic’s original ban of nine months to four months after he appealed his suspension following a positive test for the banned stimulant nikethamide. The Croatian said that he had tested positive for the metabolite of nikethamide.
"It shows that nikethamide was in the system some time before and it's completely inactive and doesn't have any effect on the body," he said. “I'm definitely waiting for the CAS' decision in writing and waiting what the ITF will say with all these things.”
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"But behind the smiles was dismay at what the Cilic camp believes to be a basic error which could have cost their player much more than the four-month suspension he eventually served.
Cilic said he only learned in September that he had not actually tested positive for the banned stimulant nikethamide, but for its marker (metabolite) N-ethylnicotinamide.
"By letter dated June 10, the ITF wrote to Marin informing him inaccurately that the urine sample he provided (in Munich) on May 1 had tested positive for nikethamide," said his management.
"The only things detected in his sample were traces of the metabolite (which is) not a prohibited substance."
Cilic added: "Until September 13, I haven't realised or my lawyers that there was no nikethamide in my system at all ... and that was not even a part of my conversation at the first hearing.
"The tribunal over there hasn't realised that because nobody talked about it. And plus, the doctor that was making the analysis hasn't been called as a witness."
France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said: "... we don't even know what's true, what's not true. It is quite a delicate subject.
"I just don't know who I have to believe anymore. Everybody is lying, even the institutions. I don't know if it's true, but this is the feeling I have."
A decision last week from the Court for Arbitration in Sport set aside an anti-doping tribunal decision, replacing it with time served (four months).
Settling back into tennis, Cilic confirmed the appointment of former Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic as his coach,
"I'm just extremely satisfied. I can feel that things I worked in this time that I haven't been playing are working really well. They are fitting into my game, especially the serve, for which I'm extremely grateful to Goran in some ways," he said.