Federer be­lieves more can be done about dop­ing in ten­nis

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

ROGER FEDERER be­lieves that ten­nis play­ers should un­dergo more anti-dop­ing tests to en­sure the sport does not suf­fer the same prob­lems that has plunged ath­let­ics into cri­sis.

The Swiss 17-times grand slam cham­pion said he was still sur­prised when he walks off the court and is not rou­tinely asked to pro­vide a dop­ing sam­ple.

He has also called for more out-of-com­pe­ti­tion tests.

Speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence at Lon­don’s O2 Arena where the ATP World Tour Fi­nals be­gin tomorrow, the 34year-old said: “I think they are try­ing their most but we can do more.

“When­ever you make the quar­ter-fi­nals of a tour­na­ment, when the points are greater (and) the money is greater, you should know that you will be tested.

“I think that would be very clear and sim­ple. And if they keep the tests for longer, I’m all for that, not just weeks and months, (but) years I’m talk­ing about. That’s when you scare peo­ple.”

Federer was talk­ing fol­low­ing a World Anti- Dop­ing Agency (WADA) re­port, pub­lished on Mon­day, which said there was a state- spon­sored dop­ing cul­ture in Rus­sian ath­let­ics and that other sports could also be af­fected by the is­sue.

The Ten­nis Anti- Dop­ing Pro­gramme, in­tro­duced in 1993, is ad­min­is­tered by the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion (ITF) along with the ATP Tour and WTA Tour.

Since 2013, it has in­cluded the Ath­lete Bi­o­log­i­cal Pass­port.

Ac­cord­ing to ITF fig­ures there were 1439 out-of-com­pe­ti­tion blood and urine tests in 2014, out of a to­tal 3529.

A break­down of sam­ples shows the ma­jor­ity of pro­fes­sional play­ers were tested be­tween one and three times in com­pe­ti­tion, while many un­der­went no out-of-com­pe­ti­tion tests in 2014.

Typ­i­cally, top play­ers in­clud­ing Federer, No­vak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Mur­ray, Ser­ena Wil­liams and Maria Shara­pova, had at least seven out-of-com­pe­ti­tion tests last year.

“There needs to be more re­sources,” Federer said. “It’s very im­por­tant. Play­ers need to feel that they’re go­ing to be tests.

“So they will shy away from any silly thought they might have.

“I’m al­ways sur­prised when I walk off court af­ter a fi­nal and I’m like ‘where is anti-dop­ing?’”

While the sport’s big names earn mil­lion of dol­lars in prize money, the Ten­nis Anti-Dop­ing Pro­gramme is funded by the ITF, ATP, WTA and the four grand slams.

Whether or not some of their win­ners’ cheques should be taken to bol­ster the dop­ing pro­gramme is a bone of con­tention.

“Ten­nis is a rich sport and peo­ple who run the sport need to make sure the sport is com­pletely and 100 per­cent clean,” Nadal said yes­ter­day.

“It’s not the play­ers’ re­spon­si­bil­ity; it’s the man­age­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

World No 1 Djokovic said that the in­tro­duc­tion of the bi­o­log­i­cal pass­port had been a wel­come step.

“From the point of view of ten­nis, we’ve been very good that we’ve hadn’t had many dop­ing scan­dals,” the Ser­bian said. “It’s very solid.” – Reuters

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