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Monday 24, Jun 2013

  Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

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Tennis Is Behind In Anti-Doping, Says USADA Report

The USADA report on testing numbers by sport in 2013 has revealed that whole track and field conducted 496 tests (392 out of competition, 104 in competition) while tennis only had 19 (all out of competition). The report also disclosed that out of all the sports that the USDA listed, tennis comprised just 19 of the 1,919 tests, while curling had 35 tests and the luge 25.

Don Catlin, president and chief executive officer of Anti-Doping Research, remarked if you’re only taking two steps when 100 are needed, it’s not going to work and also added that if you started with the top 100 male players, that would be a good representation and then if you test them five times a year but [tennis] probably doesn’t want to and if you don’t start with something of that magnitude, you’re not going to get far. Catlin, who ran the respected UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, in March 2013 issued a damning indictment of the sport’s attempts to step up its drug-testing program and questioned whether it has the money or the desire to make it work. He remarked the theory (of the passport) is you get the right person at the right times and test them four to five times and then they’ll move toward a mean (in their levels) and then if they depart from that mean in the future you can nab them.

These revelations may not appease tennis authorities after the International Tennis Federation’s anti-doping program budget in March this year was given a boost by the Grand Slams and the two tours, going from about $2 million annually to $3.6 million, to allow for more testing. The funding partners in the program, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Association of Tennis Professionals, Women’s Tennis Association, and four grand slam events, agreed to increase their contributions, lifting the overall budget to an estimated $3.5m. This year, the ITF will be introducing biological passports for players wherein test results would be collated over a period of time to assist anti-doping authorities to track any changes, which may indicate doping. But the proposed anti-doping measure has not gone well with Catlin, one of the world’s most eminent anti-doping experts, who said tennis is wasting its time adopting a biological passport program and added tennis is better off to increase the number of tests they do rather than spend it all on the passport as doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in and you need data over four or five years.

Meanwhile, the ITF has defended its stance and policies and remarked the Anti-Doping Working Group has identified the introduction of biological passports as a key enhancement of the detection and deterrence of doping under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, said program chief Dr. Stuart Miller and added the implementation of the passport in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency recommendations, including the required budget, is now being discussed by the four parties in the program.

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Sunday 17, Mar 2013

  Federer And Murray Welcome Biological Passports

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Federer and murray welcome biological passports

Roger Federer and Andy Murray, two tennis stars who have been outspoken in recent times to make a call for more stringent anti-doping measures in tennis, have welcomed the introduction of biological passports for players.

A few days back, the International Tennis Federation announced the move in London after a meeting of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program working group that includes representatives from the ITF, ATP, WTA, and grand slam tournaments. There was unanimous support for the introduction of the passport, which is used to detect variances in biological make-up that might indicate doping and has been introduced in cycling, the ITF said.

As Federer prepared to launch his defense of the Indian Wells ATP Masters title, he said that is a good news and added we have to do everything to ensure our tour is as clean as it possibly can be so that the cheaters think twice, that they get caught if they do cheat. The former world no. 1 added he believed the players were prepared to accept the measures, even though increased testing means more intrusion into the lives of players. He noted one reason was the long-delayed admission by cyclist Lance Armstrong that he used banned drugs in all seven of his Tour de France victories. The disgraced cyclist recently made a confession on a talk show after being stripped of the titles and given a lifetime ban from cycling for his role in systematic doping on his US Postal Service team.

The cycling issue has been around for quite some time, but what happened this year was obviously super-extreme and I think that really gets you sort of thinking, said the Swiss professional tennis player who, as of March 2013, is ranked world No. 2 by the ATP.

ATP executive chairman and president Brad Drewett said the men’s circuit was behind the move and the players are clear that they support increased investment in anti-doping and we feel that this is the most effective way to show the world that tennis is a clean sport.

US Open champion Andy Murray of Scotland also welcomed the move by the ITF and said it is one of the best ways to ensure your sport stays as clean as possible and it’s good tennis has made that jump.

The biological profiling system is considered as one of the most effective methods of detecting the use of performance enhancing drugs and blood boosters like EPO. The The Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) is an electronic record of an athlete’s biological values, which is developed over time from multiple collections of blood samples.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said the implementation of the Athlete Biological Passport is an important step in the evolution of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program as it provides us with a great tool in the fight against doping in our sport and added we also hope to have increased support from the national anti-doping agencies around the world who need to do their part if we are to win this battle and make our program more effective.

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