Roger Federer backs tennis anti-doping procedures
‘When you are requested for a sample, you have to give the sample. It doesn’t matter how bad you feel. I’m sorry’
Roger Federer of Switzerland beat Richard Gasquet of France at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
Roger Federer has faith in tennis’ anti-doping system but believes there is still not enough testing being done.
The issue has been a hot topic at the ATP World Tour Finals this week after Serbia’s Viktor Troicki was ordered to serve a 12-month ban for missing a blood test by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That was a reduction of six months on the original suspension given out by an International Tennis Federation anti-doping tribunal but Troicki had been optimistic he would be cleared.
His countryman Novak Djokovic greeted the verdict on Tuesday with a passionate defence of Troicki in which he said he had lost all trust in the programme and labelled the doping control officer (DCO) in the case negligent and unprofessional.
Troicki’s argument was that he had been told by the DCO that he would be okay not to do the test because he was feeling unwell and has a phobia of needles. Along with Andy Murray, Federer has led the calls for more testing in tennis, saying: “Overall I trust the system. I think they’re all very professional.”
Troicki took the blood test the next day but Federer believes it is crucial to the integrity of the system that such issues are black and white.
Speaking after beating Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-3 to stay on course for the semi-finals at the season-ending tournament, he said: “I do believe that when you are requested for a sample, you have to give the sample. It doesn’t matter how bad you feel. I’m sorry. Like the test the next day for me is not a test any more because of what could have happened overnight.”
The data shows Federer was tested between five and nine times last season, as he was in 2011, while in 2010 he was tested at least eight times.
The 32-year-old said: “I just feel like we’re not getting maybe tested enough. I didn’t get tested in Basle, I didn’t get tested in Paris (his two previous tournaments). I got tested here after the first match. I feel like I used to get tested more. I think I was tested 25 times in 2003, 2004. I think it’s been clearly going down this season.
“Also last year when I won Dubai, Rotterdam and Indian Wells, and the year before that, I didn’t get tested in one of those three events that I won. For me, that’s not okay. You show up and test a guy that’s winning everything. That’s sometimes what I struggle with.”