SBD/November 5, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Federer Echoes Murray's Sentiments, Calls For Increased Drug Testing In Tennis

Federer was drug tested between five and nine times in '11, but feels that isn't enough
Concerns over tennis' "lack of doping safeguards deepened on Sunday when Roger Federer, president of the Association of Tennis Professionals' player council, revealed that he was not being drug tested as much now as he was in the mid-2000s," according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. Federer's comments "came on the heels of Andy Murray's calls for more testing to be carried out, and they reflect the lack of rigour" in the sport's defenses. Federer said, "I feel I am being tested less now than six or seven years ago." Briggs wrote Federer "did not have the exact statistics of his own tests to hand, but ITF documents show that he was tested between five and nine times" in '11. The equivalent figure from '10 was "more than eight." Federer: "Whatever number it is, I do not think it is enough. I think they should up it a little bit, or a lot. It is vital that the sport stays clean. We have had a good history in terms of that and we want to ensure it stays that way." Tennis player Novak Djokovic said, "I agree. We are trying to make this sport as clean as possible, as fair as possible, and I have nothing against testing. Why not? We should do it more" (London TELEGRAPH, 11/5).

LED BY FED: USA TODAY's Douglas Robson wrote after "leading the ATP Tour Players Council as president the last three years, Federer has become a savvy student of the laws of political governance." Much of Federer's "behind-the-scenes work this year has focused on persuading the four majors to share a larger piece of the revenue pie with players." He also has "lobbied that a larger percentage of prize money go to earlier rounds to rectify a growing income distribution gap." That work has "increasingly fallen on his shoulders" as both Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, once Player Council members, "left their leadership positions." At the Masters event last month in Shanghai, Federer arrived on a Friday and "discussed strategy" with ATP player and board reps "till about 1 a.m." He practiced the next morning, "spent about 7 hours in meetings with various representatives of the Grand Slams and still attended the player party Saturday night." On Sunday evening, he "hosted three hours of meetings in his hotel room with the Player Council, ATP executive staff and U.S. Open executives -- all before he struck a match ball" (, 11/4).

NEED TO LET UP? Former tennis player Pat Cash in a special to the LONDON TIMES writes players are feeling fatigued as the "tennis season has extended into an 11th successive month of competition." At the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, a "small matter of 262,000 paying customers and millions of television viewers will expect the eight men who contest this week's big event, worth a potential [US$1.75M] to the winner, to be at their peak." Decisions made by the ATP "are contributing heavily to the fatigue felt by these players." Cash: "I'm not the first and won't be the last to say these players are expected to play too many tournaments." The decision to shorten the tour "is a good one." But "continuing to make playing surfaces slow, therefore extending most rallies and in turn causing the matches to last way longer, is taking a heavy toll and is the main cause of weariness" (LONDON TIMES, 11/4).
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