Roddick calls for Odesnik ban

MIAMI: America''s Andy Roddick was outspoken in his condemnation of Wayne Odesnik on Friday after Odesnik pleaded guilty in Australia to importing performance-enhancing human growth hormone.

"There''s nothing worse than that," Roddick said at the Masters 1000 event in Miami.

"That''s just plain cheating, and they should throw him out of tennis. There''s just no room for it."

Odesnik, 24, who is ranked 98th, was stopped by customs officers at Brisbane airport on January 2 as he arrived to play in the Brisbane International and Australian Open tournaments.

A search of his luggage revealed eight vials, each containing six milligrams of the banned HGH drug, reports said.

Odesnik pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday to importing the hormone and was fined 8,000 dollars (7,290 US) and ordered to pay 1,142 dollars (1,040 US) in costs.

Odesnik, who was born in South Africa and moved to the United States as a small child, spends part of the year training in Miami, where has been coached by former top-10 player Guillermo Canas of Argentina.

Canas, who served a 15-month ban in 2005-06 after failing a doping test, said Friday in Miami that he didn''t know the details of Odesnik''s case.

"I heard this morning, but really I don''t know anything," Canas said. "It''s tough for me to speak because I don''t know anything."

Roddick said he doesn''t believe men''s tennis has a significant doping problem.

"We have the most stringent drug-testing policies in sports," Roddick said. "We''re up there with the Olympics. We can''t take Sudafed."

American James Blake, who played World Team Cup with Odesnik, said he didn''t get to know Odesnik well, although he liked him.

"It''s the same thing you hear about the criminal next door - he seemed like a nice guy until they found something going on," Blake said. "People look for a way to get ahead, and that''s unfortunate.

"It''s something that''s frustrating. You want to feel like you''re playing on a fair playing field. I''m glad they caught him."

Odesnik''s case is expected to be referred to the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Under the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) code, to which the ITF is a signatory, the penalty for possession of a prohibited substance is a two-year ban from the sport.