- The International Tennis Integrity (ITIA) has spoken following the controversy over Novak Djokovic doping test
- It happened at the Davis Cup Finals
- ITIA clarified that Djokovic did not refuse a doping test
The International Tennis Integrity (ITIA) has spoken following the controversy over Novak Djokovic doping test at the Davis Cup Finals.
ITIA clarified that Djokovic did not refuse a doping test as word had it but rather raised concerns about the timing of the test.
The tennis integrity body confirmed that Djokovic did not violate any rules during the Davis Cup Finals. It emphasized that players have the option to be tested before or after matches, particularly in team competitions like the Davis Cup.
Novak Djokovic Doping Test
The incident occurred just before Djokovic’s singles match against Cameron Norrie in Serbia’s quarter-final tie with Great Britain.
According to reports, Djokovic, upon being informed about the need for a drug test, provided the sample after defeating Norrie.
However, he expressed his opposition to anti-doping officials asking players to undergo tests while preparing for matches.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion mentioned that he was given only an hour and a half’s notice, disrupting his pre-match routines.
Those who know the Serbian, are aware that he is a stickler and doesn’t let anything get in the way of his matches.
He said it beats logic for him that ITIA officials wanted him to take the test just 90 minutes after notifying him , yet he had a match to play.
The father of two questioned why it was hard for the officials to get a sample after his match.
“It’s the first time it’s happened to me. It doesn’t make sense to do it when I’ll be there after the match. They gave me an hour and a half’s notice. I have my pre-match routines, and I don’t have to think at that point about donating blood or urine,” he lamented.
He said that an ITIA personnel followed him around for 90 minutes after notifying him about the test and it pissed him off.
“I argued with him because that hasn’t happened to me in my 20-year career. He sat in a corner and followed me for hours. It was outrageous. I’ve always defended controls, but not before matches. There’s nothing to hide, but there have to be certain limits.”
In response to the situation the ITIA clarified that Djokovic’s actions were within the allowed rules. Players have the flexibility to submit their samples either before or after their matches, regardless of when they are notified about the test.
The organization highlighted that, especially in team competitions like the Davis Cup, players may be informed before a match, offering them the choice to undergo testing before or after the match.
“The first thing to say is that Djokovic did not refuse the test. The rules state that when a player is notified, they must provide a sample as soon as they can,” explained the ITIA to L’Equipe.
“In Davis Cup, teams are notified before the start of the match. This allows players to choose if they prefer to do it before their match; otherwise, it will be after.”
This incident has sparked a broader conversation about the importance and timing of doping tests in professional tennis.
Some tennis stakeholders lashed out at Djokovic over the alleged refusal to take the doping test. Doping tests are an integral part of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme, overseen by the ITIA.
These tests are designed to ensure a level playing field and maintain the integrity of the sport by preventing the use of prohibited substances that could enhance performance.
The ITIA, responsible for both the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, plays a crucial role in safeguarding the sport’s integrity.
Doping tests serve as a deterrent against unfair advantages and uphold the principles of fair play and competition.
Just recently, the ITIA handed former world No. 1 tennis player Simona Halep a four-year ban from playing tennis over doping. She vowed to appeal this ruling.
According to a 2022 report by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), there have been over 160 cases of doping in professional tennis since 2005.