Tennis

ITF boss slams Fed, Murray

2012-11-20 13:28
Roger Federer (AP)
Paris - Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), has criticised Roger Federer and Andy Murray for their doubts on the organisation's anti-doping programme.

But the ITF boss also said that he is evaluating doing more tests next year, particularly out-of-competition blood tests.

"You know the players, they like to talk. A few years ago, the same players were complaining because they were being tested," Ricci Bitti told dpa in an interview.

Federer and Murray have expressed doubts about tennis's anti-doping programme in the wake of the Lance Armstrong case that has shaken cycling and sport in general.

"I feel I am being tested less now than six or seven years ago," Federer said in London earlier this month.

"I agree with Andy, we don't do a lot of blood testing during the year," Federer said.

Ricci Bitti, a veteran Italian sports official who is also a member of the executive committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), said in Prague during the Davis Cup final in which the Czech Republic beat Spain this weekend that what Federer said "could be" true of him, since testing is allocated by drawing lots.

"But I don't think they are right," he said.

"Still, they help us by saying that, because it allows us to move in the direction in which we want to move. But it's a bit strange. They change their minds a lot," Ricci Bitti said.

He admitted that the ITF is evaluating increasing the number of doping tests in the sport and even implementing a biological passport programme.

"Yes, that's true," he told dpa. "Over these few weeks we have been working on creating a programme that retains the same quality and has a few more tests, especially out of competition.

"Defining 'out of competition' in tennis is harder, because 'out' is rather before or after competition. But anyway we'll try to increase the percentage of tests done out of competition, blood tests and the number of tests in general," he said.

"These are the three areas on which we are working with our partners (the Grand Slams, the ATP and the WTA). But we need consensus, because increasing the programme means a lot of money," Ricci Bitti warned.

According to the ITF's latest statistics, 2 150 tests were carried out in the sport in 2011, of which only 131 were blood tests. Of the latter, only 21 were done out of competition.

"We think our programme is absolutely good. In terms of quality, our work is highly appreciated," Ricci Bitti said.

However, he was willing to accept some criticism, saying "I think we are a little bit exposed in terms of quantity."

Ricci Bitti thinks some changes would be good, but they would not solve all problems.

"I am not as pretentious as to think that we can catch all cheats," he said.

"But I am confident that tennis is a clean sport. We need to improve our programme, but knowing other sports I am reasonably confident that we cannot have an Armstrong case. That was a highly organised and scientific system. That is not the case with tennis," Ricci Bitti stressed.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the ruling cycling body UCI after the United States Anti-Doping Agency said in a report he was involved in the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Read more on:    roger federer  |  andy murray  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Federer races past Muller

2014-10-22 21:11

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.