Meet Sesil Karatantcheva, the Bulgarian tennis player who was banned for two years in 2006 after testing positive for steroids. She is now back on the tennis circuit in full force. See photos, video and a biography of Sesil Karatantcheva below.
Sesil Karatantcheva won her first WTA tour match in over 2 1/2 years after she beat Elena Baltacha of Britain, 7-5, 6-2 yesterday at the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Fez, Morocco. When Sesil Karatantcheva was 15 years old, she reached the French Open quarterfinals in 2005, and had tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. She claimed that the positive results were because of a pregnancy, but that claim was disputed. She spoke to the Palm Beach Post about the ban:
“I think every bad thing that happens in people’s life is a good lesson. I learned mine. It made me stronger, so I feel better prepared for life, really.”
As a biography, Sesil Karatantcheva was born on August 8, 1989 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is 18 years old. Sesil burst on the tennis scene in September 2003 when she was only 14 years old. She had competed in her first professional tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. That year, she won three ITF titles.
In 2004, she competed in a WTA tournament in Indian Wells, California and defeated Alexandra Stevenson in the first round and beat out 17th seed Magui Serna in the second round. She played against then 16th seed Maria Sharapova, but was beat out in three sets.
Sesil made it to the quarterfinals of a tournament in Gold Coast, Australia in 2005. She qualified for the Australian Open, but lost to Sharapova yet again, this time in the first round. During the French Open in 2005, she beat out #19 seed Shinobu Asagoe in the second round and gained worldwide attention when she beat out Venus Williams in the third round. She beat Emanuelle Gagliardi in the fourth round but lost to Lkhovtseva in the quarterfinals.
It was reported on December 20, 2005 that Sesil had failed a drug test earlier in the year at the French Open. In January 2006, The ITF issued a two year ban on Sesil after two tests came back positive for nandrolone.
She is now back on the tennis circuit, ranked 243 and hoping to clear her name.
More photos and video of Sesil Karatantcheva below.