More drug testing in Tennis needed: Roger

Focus on doping in the sport has intensified since former women's world No. 1 Maria Sharapova was given a two-year suspension in March.
Focus on doping in the sport has intensified since former women's world No. 1 Maria Sharapova was given a two-year suspension in March.PHOTO: EPA

Federer says more money should be spent on anti-doping, suggests testing at q-final stage

LONDON • Roger Federer has urged tennis authorities to come up with more funding for anti-doping and believes that testing should be conducted at the quarter-final stage of every tournament.

The Times of London had revealed on Thursday that drug testing did not take place at some of the biggest tournaments this year.

The anti-doping programme, which is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), operates on an annual budget of US$4 million (S$5.8 million).

Focus on doping in the sport has intensified since former women's world No. 1 Maria Sharapova was given a two-year suspension in March - later reduced to 15 months on appeal - for taking the banned substance meldonium.

In a week when a record prize-money pot of US$36 million was announced for next month's Australian Open, Federer has called for more to be invested in the efforts to combat the threat of performance-enhancing substances.

"With all the money that we have in the sport, you would think that there would be more funding for the anti-doping programme," the 17-time Grand Slam champion said.

RIGHT TIME TO DO THE RIGHT THING

I would like to see more funding (for testing), no doubt about it, especially in the off-season. This is when the players work the hardest.

ROGER FEDERER, saying that there should be more investment into combatting the threat of performance-enhancing drugs.

"I would like to see more funding (for testing), no doubt about it, especially in the off-season. This is when the players work the hardest.

"The best way is that you get tested every quarter-final that you play in a tournament.

"You know there will be testers there when the prize money and the points go up, you know you will be tested.

"I think for the players' minds and for the fans, it would be a good thing to have."

Federer is in Dubai preparing for his long-awaited comeback in Australia at the beginning of next month.

The 35-year-old will return at the Hopman Cup team event in Perth after a six-month absence because of problems with his left knee, and with a ranking of No. 16, his lowest since 2001.

During his time away from the tour, Federer kept track of the year-end battle for the world No. 1 ranking between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

The efforts of the Briton have actually given Federer belief that an 18th Grand Slam title is still achievable.

"Novak did have an incredible run these last few years and it was hard to break through him for anybody," Federer said. "It's up to us to reinvent ourselves, to come up with a plan how you can beat Novak.

"Andy has shown that a little bit and given bigger belief for more players that maybe there is a bigger chance again to win Grand Slams. Personally I still believe in it. Time will tell if it's going to be possible or not."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 25, 2016, with the headline 'More drug testing in Tennis needed: Roger'. Print Edition | Subscribe