Tennis boss urges end to secrecy on doping results

LONDON • Players who fail a drug test and receive a provisional ban - such as Maria Sharapova in March - should be named, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) president, David Haggerty, has told The Guardian.

This would help eradicate suspicions about players who mysteriously disappear from the Tour while a suspension is played out before an official decision on their guilt or innocence is announced.

"We've discussed the possibility of announcing provisional suspensions, as a way to be transparent as to what's going on," Haggerty said.

"I think that you'll see after Wimbledon some announcements because each of seven bodies has to go back to their stakeholders and have formal approval of things.

"But we understand the importance of transparency. We're also doing that with the integrity unit; they've begun to publish a quarterly report."


We want to protect the clean athletes, and the majority of them are.

DAVID HAGGERTY, ITF president, on doing more to nab drug-taking tennis players.

So secretive has the federation had to be to comply with out-of-date protocols that Haggerty could not even confirm that Sharapova's hearing into the ban began in London two weeks ago, and a decision was expected soon.

He said: "I really can't tell you what (the date of a decision) would be but what I can tell you is, generally, it's about a three-week process from when the hearing occurs until something is published."

In response to the criticism that administrators are not doing enough to fight drug-taking and match-fixing, Haggerty admits the ITF has had to move quickly to save the game's reputation.

"We want to continue to put rigour into the system, to do more biological passports, to do more out-of-competition testing. We want to protect the clean athletes, and the majority of them are."

Match-fixing remains the game's other irritant. Haggerty concedes: "We need to do more with officials, with the players at the pro-circuit levels, as well as what we're doing at the Challengers and the grand slam events.

"We maybe need to invest more funding. We've added another investigator, we've added another analyst, to try to make it more robust."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2016, with the headline 'Tennis boss urges end to secrecy on doping results'. Print Edition | Subscribe