The International Tennis Foundation (ITF) finally listened to the advice of the big hitters in the game this week, by announcing that an Athlete Biological Passport programme will to be introduced later this year, in an attempt to increase the fight against doping cheats in the sport.
Big name pressure has surely been the overriding factor in the ITF’s swift decision to implement the programme that has been so successful in the mercurial world of cycling. Superstars such as Federer, Murray and Djokovic have all been rather vocal in their support of the programme as they believe the doping control system currently in place isn’t doing enough to unearth any of the games’ miscreants.
The main area for concern is the doping control outside of scheduled competitions. Staggeringly, in the season of 2012, there were only 187 blood tests carried out on players and of those tests; a mere 63 took place away from competition.
…an electronic document that tracks the biological history and make-up of an individual…
The Athlete Biological Passport itself is an electronic document that tracks the biological history and make-up of an individual and should the biomarkers of a player change dramatically, the passport alerts the officials of the possibility that the athlete may be doping.
The theory behind the programme is logical and will surely herald a new era of evolution within doping control in professional tennis. However, introducing the Athlete Biological Passport programme is unlikely to have too big an impact at the top end of the game.
…a thousand players in the world all harbouring dreams of playing in the biggest tournaments…
The results however, could be damaging to players outside of the world’s top 100.
Being a professional tennis player is a tough existence. Money is a hard to come by and there are currently around a thousand players in the world all harbouring dreams of playing in the biggest tournaments, yet they are scrapping away in futures and challenger tournaments all over the globe.
…under suspension from the ITF for breaching drug regulations…
The three players currently under suspension from the ITF for breaching drug regulations are Filippo Calorosi, Dimitar Kutrovsky and Ryan Newport. Relative nobody’s in the game of tennis but a further example of the temptations these cash-strapped players face in order to live their dreams.
What is it that may help take them to the next level and allow them to compete against the world’s best?
Performance enhancing drugs must be an overwhelming temptation….