The governing bodies of tennis have approved enhanced measures for the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the “Programme”) for 2017, including an increase in the volume of testing and a strengthening of the sample storage policy. These enhancements to the Programme, which is a joint initiative between the ATP, Grand Slam Board, ITF and WTA, come into effect on 1 May.
The changes will see a significant increase in the volume of testing up to an annual total of 8,000 samples (from 4,899 in 2016). This will include the collection of more urine and blood samples both in-competition and out-of-competition across more events, thus providing greater coverage of professional tennis.
The number of players included in the International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) will increase to approximately 250, with all players subject to testing under the Athlete Biological Passport programme.
More samples (up to 50 per cent for top-ranked players) will be placed into long-term storage, allowing reanalysis of those samples, such as when new or more sensitive detection methods become available.
To fund these changes, the annual budget for the Programme will be increased by over 50 per cent to approximately $4.5 million in 2017 (excluding administration costs).
ITF President David Haggerty said: “On behalf of the partners in the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme, we welcome this strengthening of the sport’s anti-doping efforts. Protecting the integrity of tennis is an ongoing priority of the governing bodies of tennis to ensure that tennis is and remains a clean sport, and these enhancements will make a positive contribution to achieving that priority”.
The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme applies to all players competing at Grand Slam tournaments and events sanctioned by the ITF, ATP, and WTA. Players are tested for substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and, upon a finding that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed, sanctions are imposed under the Programme in compliance with the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code.