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Sunday 24, Nov 2013

  Anti-Doping Policy’s Criticism Unfair, Says ITF

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Anti-Doping Policy’s Criticism Unfair, Says ITF

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has labeled recent criticisms of anti-doping programs of tennis by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as unfair. The world governing body of tennis said it is confident that its anti-doping programs are working effectively.

ITF’s anti-doping manager Stuart Miller remarked he thinks tennis is doing a good job in the programs it has and we’ve had two fairly high-profile cases recently with Marin Cilic and Viktor Troicki and let’s not forget both of those cases resulted in violations for the athletes concerned. Speaking at the World Conference on Doping in Sport, Miller said to him that shows that the program is successful in catching the people it is supposed to be catching so he doesn’t think it’s necessarily fair criticism.

Miller added that anti-doping programs of tennis includes in-competition and out-of-competition testing, with both urine and bloods samples taken and the recent introduction of the athlete’s biological passport, another tool in the fight against doping. He also remarked the game of tennis has also been increasing proportion of out-of-competition testing.

Recently, Serbia’s world number two Novak Djokovic said he had lost all trust in tennis’ anti-doping program after a ban of 12 months was imposed on his compatriot Troicki for failing to provide a blood sample at the Monte Carlo Masters in April after he complained of feeling unwell. The now-banned player said he believed he could be excused from the test if he provided a reason to the International Tennis Federation.

Djokovic, the 17-times grand slam winner, said he feels like he used to get tested more and said he believes he was tested 25 times in 2003, 2004 and he thinks it’s been clearly going down this season. However, Miller remarked there had been no real change in the number of times the ITF had tested the Swiss and added we have got the exact number of tests on Roger Federer and our information does not match what he says and added the number of tests completed have remained remarkably constant as far as we are concerned.

Miller also added that isn’t to say that there aren’t other organizations that were testing him to some extent previously and now doing so less and we just don’t know about those figures, but as far as we are concerned the number of tests remains pretty constant for 10 years or so. The ITF’s anti-doping manager said he is confident the tennis anti-doping program is using all the tools available to it to maximize its efficiency but we must remember, you also need a deterrent effect and prevention effect and education as well.

Meanwhile, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey has remarked that he doesn’t think Novak Djokovic has the faintest idea what his organization does. Fahey dismissed the comments of the former world No. 1 that he had lost faith in the system and said the six-time grand slam winner’s comments are unhelpful and it was up to the sport to do more to fight against doping.

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Sunday 14, Jul 2013

  Murray Calls Spanish Verdict Biggest Cover-Up In Sports History

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Murray Calls Spanish Verdict Biggest Cover-Up In Sports History

Andy Murray has hit out at a Spanish judge who ordered destruction of evidence related to one of the biggest doping rings in history.

Britain’s No. 1 tennis player termed the decision as ‘the biggest cover-up in sports history’ and said it was a ‘joke’. This was after Madrid judge Julia Santamaria ruled that the 211 blood bags from 35 people taken as part of the Operation Puerto investigation into Dr Eufemiano Fuentes could not be analyzed by  anti-doping authorities but must be discarded.

Murray tweeted: ‘operacion puerto case is beyond a joke… biggest cover up in sports history? why would court order blood bags to be destroyed? #coverup’.

The judge’s decision was also criticized by Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, who said we are disappointed and Dr Fuentes has admitted to having been involved in multiple prohibited doping activities, and linked with multiple unnamed athletes. Parkinson added that it therefore cannot be right that these names will remain unknown and no immediate action can be taken.

Murray, the recently crowned Wimbledon champion, won his first Wimbledon title and ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion with a hard-fought victory over world number one Novak Djokovic. The 26-year-old Scot converted his fourth championship point in a dramatic final game to win 6-4 7-5 6-4 and claim his second major title. Murray, after a grueling three hours 10 minutes in searing temperatures, finally followed in the footsteps of Fred Perry’s 1936 win at the All England Club.

The win is the 36th time a British man has won the Wimbledon singles title – more than any other nation and Murray is the most successful British man in terms of Grand Slam match wins with 113, ahead of Fred Perry’s 106.

BBC commentator and four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman said he was privileged enough to go into the locker room straight after the match and Andy Murray was basically in a state of shock. Henman added Murray is such a student of the game that he can remember all of his results from the juniors, he remembers all the matches he has played, the shots he has made, but he had no recollection whatsoever about that final game today. He went on to add that it’s an amazing day for Andy, an amazing day for tennis and an amazing day for British sport and Murray has to be BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Murray’s Route To The Final

First round: Bt Benjamin Becker 6-4 6-3 6-2

Second round: Bt Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3 6-3 7-5

Third round: Bt Tommy Robredo 6-2 6-4 7-5

Fourth round: Bt Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 7-6 6-1

QF: Bt Fernando Verdasco 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5

SF: Bt Jerzy Janowicz 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3

Final: Bt Novak Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-4

Murray at the 2012 US Open became the first British player since 1977, and the first British man since 1936, to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, when he defeated Novak Djokovic in five sets. At the 2012 Olympic Games, Murray defeated Roger Federer in straight sets to win the gold medal in men’s singles, becoming the first British champion in over 100 years and also won a silver medal in mixed doubles, playing with Laura Robson.

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Saturday 02, Mar 2013

  Anti-Doping Program Funding Increased By Tennis

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Anti-Doping Program Funding Increased By Tennis

Tennis authorities will meet next week to plug a hole in the anti-doping efforts of the sport in the wake of concerns inside and outside of tennis of its relatively small budget for preventing doping in tennis.

According to an official of the United States Tennis Association,  the U.S. Open and the other majors would roughly double their current financial contribution from about $150,000 to $300,000 every year. Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation will also be increasing its contribution to the fund, but it is unclear if the WTA and ATP Tour, which also help pay for the anti-doping program of the sport, will increase funding. The ITF, which runs the anti-doping program of tennis, has a budget of roughly $1.6 million, according to previously published reports and it is not known how much it spends on anti-doping.

In the year 2011, the International Tennis Federation had conducted just 21 out-of-competition blood tests, which are the latest figures available. A founder and former chairman of the World Anti-doping Agency, Dick Pound, called the 2011 figure “very small” in an interview last fall.

Many top tennis players such as Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic have called for increased testing, especially out-of-competition blood testing, which is more costly but can better detect banned substances such as the blood-booster erythropoietin, or EPO, in the light of Lance Armstrong’s admission of systemized doping. Top players expressed fears that tennis authorities are not keeping up with those seeking an unfair advantage, especially those using these drugs to increase strength and stamina to new levels.

In 2011, the majority of the 2,150 tests conducted were urine tests and only about 10% were done outside of tournament competition. New funds will beef up tennis’s anti-doping program to tackle problems such as blood tests, out-of-competition tests in general and promote the need and importance of a biological passport program. Stuart Miller, who heads up the anti-doping program for the ITF, said that he expects those areas to be targeted, “subject to receiving the increased contributions.”

ATP spokesman Simon Higson, said we fully support a rigorous program, and if that means more or different ways of testing, then we will be happy to support it and also remarked that we remain fully committed to ensuring a level playing field and a clean sport for our players, tournaments and fans, and will continue to evolve our program as necessary. Andrew Walker, a WTA spokesman, said the women’s tour has been an “aggressive in advocating” for the ITF to explore and implement any changes to strengthen the anti-doping program and added that the WTA is fully committed to a strong anti-doping program and we have been aggressive in advocating within the governing body group that oversees the program to explore and implement effective changes as required to strengthen the program.

“If they do take blood samples throughout the year I think that’s OK,” 18th-ranked Milos Raonic of Canada said this month while winning the SAP Open in San Jose, California “I just want the sport to be clean.”

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Saturday 26, Jan 2013

  Tennis Stars Slam Disgraced Cyclist For Cheating

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Tennis Stars Slam Disgraced Cyclist For Cheating

Tennis world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has remarked that disgraced and banned cyclist Lance Armstrong, who admitting to making use of banned substances to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles, should be made to “suffer” for his lies and cheating his sport.

The comments of Djokovic came on the day the 41-year-old Texan rider finally confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The cyclist admitted that he doped throughout the height of his illustrious career to which the world’s top male tennis player said the actions of the fallen American star had shamed cycling. He went on to remark that all the titles of Lance Armstrong should be taken away as it is not fair towards any athlete and sportsman and the ways followed by the disgraced cyclist are not the ways to be successful.

Slamming the long-delayed doping admissions of Armstrong, Novak Djokovic said the seven-time Tour de France winner is a disgrace to cycling and it would be ridiculous for him to decline and refuse all the charges because it has been proven. He added that the cyclist cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story.

Djokovic further remarked that Armstrong should suffer for his lies all these years and said he was confident in the drug testing system in tennis and had faith that the sport was clean. The defending Australian Open champion said he believes tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world in one of the most competitive sports and he has no complaints about testing as long as all can keep it that way.

Maria Sharapova, on the other hand, said Armstrong revelations are “just a really sad story, sad for that sport.” Frenchman Julien Benneteau said the cyclist was a liar and a cheat for years and he has to pay. Roger Federer said the confession of Lance Armstrong that he cheated throughout his career by using performance enhancing drugs has affected all of sport and the world’s athletes. A 17-time major winner, Federer, said he watched the first portion of the interview that Armstrong had with Oprah Winfrey. Serena Williams remarked that the cyclist has let all athletes down by doping and lying about it for so long. Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka said no one can cheat as everybody works so hard to be the best, and you have to respect that and Armstrong “deserves everything he gets.”

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) submitted its reasoned decision against the cyclist in which it accused him and the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team of running the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen. USADA included direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data, and laboratory test results along with testimony from many of the cyclist’s ex-teammates (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie) that revealed systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy at the USPS Team.

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