SBD/March 8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Int'l Tennis Federation Announces Stiffer, Increased Drug Testing

The Int'l Tennis Federation on Thursday announced that it would “stiffen the sport’s drug testing this year by adopting the biological passport program, which tracks an athlete’s blood profile over time, and increasing the number of blood tests and out-of-competition tests,” according to Lynn Zinser of the N.Y. TIMES. The move followed increased pressure on the ITF “from some of its players, most notably Roger Federer and Andy Murray, to improve its antidoping program.” The system will “go into effect this year on the men’s and women’s tours.” Tennis has been criticized for “its paucity of blood testing and scarcity of out-of-competition tests.” The World Anti-Doping Agency said that it conducted “only 21 tests outside of tournaments in 2011, out of 2,150 tests over all.” It added that “only 131 of those were blood tests that checked for human growth hormone, the performance-enhancing drug EPO or other blood doping substances.” Although more blood testing “was promised in the announcement, the federation did not say how many tests would be performed under the new program.” ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti’s announcement came “after a meeting of antidoping officials" from the ITF, the WTA, the ATP and the Grand Slam tournaments (N.Y. TIMES, 3/8). NBC Sports Network’s Michelle Beadle said drug use in tennis “might be worse than we are aware of and we don’t even know” (“The Crossover,” NBCSN, 3/7).
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