TENNIS is looking at whether it can adopt measures pioneered by cycling to weed out drug cheats.
ITF anti-doping manager Stuart Miller said that tennis’ governing federation is working hard to do more blood and out-of-competition tests on players. In the wake of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s life ban from sports for doping, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have called for more out-of-competition and blood testing in tennis.
Murray called the Armstrong case “pretty shocking”.
“You would hate for anything like that to happen to your own sport,” Murray said before the season-ending ATP finals.
Federer said: “We don’t do a lot of blood testing during the year. I’m okay having more of that.”
The ITF’s Miller said: “We’re working hard to try to increase the proportion of out-of-competition testing, and particularly blood testing, and we’ve been working on that for a while.
“I’m hopeful that, by the end of the year, we’ll have made some inroads into improving that. Like any anti-doping programme, we’re subject to resource constraints,” he said.
Cycling, followed by track and field, also runs so-called “biological passport” programmes that monitor athletes’ blood readings over time for possible tell-tale indications of doping. The federations for those sports, the UCI and the IAAF, have used evidence of doping gathered from their passport programmes to ban athletes and to target others for more testing.
Without giving a fixed timeframe, Miller said “it would be nice” if tennis can establish a similar system in 2013.