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By Pawan Atri
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TennisEarth gets a sneak peek into what the top stars of the game think about whether their sport is dirt free or not?
Dr. Stuart Miller, the head of the International Tennis Federation (ITF)'s anti-doping programme stated: “We are looking with our partners at the ATP, WTA and grand slams to identify areas we think we can improve.We think we need to increase the proportion of blood testing we do under the programme and we think we could also do with tending to increase the proportion of tests we do out of competition.”
Former top-tenner Guy Forget and the current director of the Paris Masters claimed: “I don't think our sport is clean, I'm sure some guys are cheating. I think it's a minority, probably, but that's why Roger and Andy are right to say we should put more money into blood tests and have more controls because we should fight this any way we can. I lost matches probably to guys who beat me with an unfair advantage because they were taking drugs. For sure it has happened. I can look in the mirror knowing I have never taken anything. But some guys might have done it. First of all some guys have tested positive, even if it's only a few, some have.”
Maria Sharapova: “I do feel tennis is clean. For the amount of times that we get tested throughout the year and as random as they are, definitely. They (drug test teams) did show up on my birthday and I was very disappointed. They did it a couple of years ago. I said, if you bring flowers, I’m okay with it. But they came empty-handed. But so as long as we’re getting tested, whatever it takes, urine, blood, we’re all here to make the sport as clean as it can be.”
Roger Federer: "I'm all for transparency, aggressive tests. I've always been like that, so for me it's important to make sure the integrity of the game is kept where it is supposed to be and that the tour and the players have to agree to do that. I think there is a big sense of urgency to make sure the sport stays as clean as possible."
Andy Murray: "I don’t know any more how you judge whether a sport is clean. If one in 100 players is doping, in my eyes that isn’t a clean sport. We need to do everything we can to ensure we have everyone competing at the highest level and below clean. I know from my side I’m clean. I would hope that’s the same for the rest of the tennis players.”
Serena Williams: "I get drug tested all the time. I don't know about anybody else on the Tour, maybe put all their money into drug testing me. I get blood tests, so I don't understand - maybe they should branch out a little bit. They are always at my house. It doesn't matter if I am in Paris or [the United States]. I was literally in Mauritius and they were there - and, you know, Mauritius is really far, let me tell you. So, I guess they spend all the money on tickets to come where I travel."
Novak Djokovic: "I believe tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world and one of the most competitive sports. In tennis, at least from my perspective, it's really good. Anti-doping regulations a little bit maybe more strict in sense that you have to fill the whereabouts documents and you have to basically give an hour or two in every day of your life in a whole year, where you are. As long as it's fair, it's clean, we're trying to protect the identity of this sport. So as long as we keep it that way, I have no complaints about testing."
Rafael Nadal: "Not everyone has to pay for some sinners. If I go through a lot - or very few doping controls - people should know. Though I went for seven months without competing, I went through a lot of tests. The important thing is that those who are cheating, pay for their cheating. With Armstrong the image of sport has been damaged, especially in the case of cycling. The important thing is for sport to clean up its image, that the controls are made public. They should do the tests they need to do, but they should be done respecting the athlete. From my point of view, this has not always happened."
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