Tennis News Wire -
International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci Bitti, has confirmed his body, working in partnership with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), is formulating new drug testing measures and is planning to introduce a biological passport program for all professional players.
Ricci Bitti was responding to criticism from both Roger Federer and Andy Murray who, in the light of the Lance Armstrong revelations in professional cycling, questioned whether current drug testing measures in tennis are sufficiently stringent.
He admitted: “I am not as pretentious as to think that we can catch all cheats. But I am confident that tennis is a clean sport.
“We need to improve our program, but knowing other sports I am reasonably confident that we cannot have an Armstrong case. That was a highly organized and scientific system. That is not the case with tennis."
Ricci Bitti, also a member of WADA’s executive committee, revealed: “We have been working on creating a program that retains the same quality and has a few more tests, especially out of competition.”
The ITF will be
working alongside the Grand Slam committee, the ATP World Tour and the
WTA in a bid to keep tennis clean from drugs. “We will try to increase
the percentage of tests done out of competition, both blood tests and
the number of tests in general,”
vowed Ricci Bitti.
However he warned there will be financial ramifications and added: “We need consensus, because increasing the program means a lot of money.”
Recently issued figures from the ITF show, 2,150 tests were carried out in tennis during 2011. Of these only 131 were blood tests and only 21 were done out of competition.
Ricci Bitti admitted this was not enough and said: “Our program is absolutely good and in terms of quality, our work is highly appreciated. However I think we are a little bit exposed in terms of quantity.”