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Can tennis learn from drug cheats?
10:46am Tuesday 5th February 2013 in Sport
ANDY Murray has called for tennis to learn from the Lance Armstrong scandal and introduce tighter doping controls after the doctor at the centre of the Operacion Puerto case in Spain admitted to working with players.
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is on trial in Madrid and has admitted providing athletes with banned substances in sport’s latest doping inquiry, which follows disgraced cyclist Armstrong’s belated admission that he cheated to win all seven of his Tour de France wins.
‘‘I think it’s essential that the names and whoever was involved within it, it’s essential for tennis that that comes out,’’ said Murray, who was speaking at The Queen’s Club in London as he announced his participation in June’s AEGON Championships.
‘‘Not just tennis, all sports just now need to look very closely at this stuff.
‘‘A lot’s been learned from what happened with the Lance Armstrong situation.
‘‘You don’t want that happening ever again. I don’t want that happening for my sport, because it would be terrible.
‘‘I’ve been asked a lot lately if tennis is clean or not. I don’t know any more how you judge whether your sport is clean.
‘‘If one in 100 players is doping, then, in my eyes, that isn’t a clean sport. We need to do everything we can to ensure that everyone that’s competing at the highest level and below is clean.
‘‘I think that comes with biological passports and more blood testing.
‘‘I know the training that I do, I know what goes in and out of my body. I know from my side that I’m clean, that’s all I can comment on.
‘‘I’d hope that’s the same for the rest of tennis players.’’ Murray believes tennis’ lack of blood testing is simply due to finance.
The 25-year-old would be happy for funds players receive to be reduced, if it meant more stringent controls.
‘‘It’s down to our governing bodies and the ATP to invest some of our own money into WADA and making sure we get more testing done,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s the only way you can improve your testing procedures, by having more of them. More blood testing. And you need money to do that.’’ Murray was speaking after returning to London following the Australian Open, where he reached a sixth grand slam final only to taste defeat for the fifth time as Novak Djokovic triumphed.
Along with Roger Federer, Djokovic and Murray have dominated in recent months.
It is a long way from his first ATP Tour win, which came at Queen’s eight years ago as an 18-year-old when he beat Santiago Ventura before he lost to Thomas Johansson.
He has since won the tournament twice, in 2009 to become the first British winner since 1938 and again in 2011.
Challenging for victory in the French Open is the next major goal for the Olympic and US Open champion.
He will start hitting balls in Miami next week after a break – pilates sessions his only activity since returning from Melbourne – and his season features a number of lengthy periods off the competition courts.
‘‘A lot’s changed since then,’’ added Murray, when asked to recall his first Queen’s tournament. ‘‘After Wimbledon that year I went on to play ten consecutive weeks. Now I’m taking five weeks off after a tournament to prepare for two events.’’ Murray’s initial focus is the Masters events at Indian Wells and Miami in March, before attention turns to Roland Garros.
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