Exclusive: Wimbledon to focus on out-of-competition drug tests

Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:21pm EDT
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By Simon Cambers

LONDON (Reuters) - Players competing at Wimbledon are set to be drug-tested more than ever before in the build-up to this year's championships as organizers focus resources on out-of-competition testing.

Scarred by a string of recent scandals, Wimbledon had announced on Tuesday that it was stepping up the fight against anti-doping, without revealing any details.

But in an email, the International Tennis Federation, which administers and part-funds the Tennis Anti-Doping Program (TADP), said Wimbledon had discussed its plans with the ITF and will focus its attention on out-of-competition testing.

The additional tests, which will be funded by Wimbledon, will be carried out by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), the ITF said.

As a result, players competing at this year’s championships could be tested out-of-competition in the run up to the grand slam event by UK Anti-Doping on behalf of Wimbledon, as well as being tested in and/or out-of-competition by the ITF.

Wimbledon said in a statement on Wednesday: “In addition to the TADP In-Competition testing, the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club) will be implementing additional anti-doping measures for The Championships 2016, the details of which are required to remain confidential.

“As all anti-doping testing is carried out independently of the tournament organizers, we are not able to comment on the level of testing which will take place other than to say that we are fully supportive of a comprehensive In-Competition and Out-of-Competition testing program.”

Out-of-competition testing -- which can be conducted at any time when a player is not actively involved in an event -- is considered to be the best way to catch dopers, while blood testing has also become more prevalent in recent times.   Continued...

Tennis - Wimbledon Spring Press Conference 2016 - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 26/4/16
General view in the grounds of Wimbledon
Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers