ITF to Manage Tennis Anti-Doping Programme at ATP-sanctioned Events
The ITF will be responsible for testing at the ATP Masters Series events, ATP International Series Gold and International Series events, Challenger Events and the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup, co-owned by the ATP, Grand Slams and the ITF. The ITF currently tests at the Grand Slams, Davis Cup and Fed Cup, ITF Men's Circuit and Women's Circuit Events and at junior and wheelchair tennis events under its aegis.
The agreement between the ATP and the ITF extends through 2010 and includes at least 600 tests at ATP events annually in addition to the 500 tests on male players at events under ITF jurisdiction. The cases will be managed by the ITF from the beginning of the process (sample collection) to the finish including any appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Tests will be distributed by player ranking, event type and geographical location.
The ATP will continue to play a major role in the Programme over the period of the agreement. ATP rules will require that players agree that the ITF Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is binding and that the players will submit to ITF jurisdiction. The agreement also calls for the ATP to consult with the ITF regarding any implementation issues and changes in rules, to liaise with its tournaments on requirements of testing, and implement any penalties and sanctions imposed.
ATP's primary involvement will be to work with the ITF to increase and enhance educational activities including but not limited to a dedicated website, seminars and materials directed at the players to create a clear and precise understanding of the Programme.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "The ITF has been in discussions with the ATP for an extended period about the best way to manage the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme for the future. While we have worked together very successfully in the past, it became evident that the Programme would work more efficiently and effectively if it was centralised under one authority, avoiding the duplication of effort and structure that has existed for some time as well as any confusion in the minds of the players or the public. Both the ITF and the ATP, with the endorsement of the Grand Slam tournaments, came to the conclusion that one Programme under ITF management was in the best interests of the sport. We thank the ATP for the excellent Programme that they have managed up to now and we are delighted that we will continue to work closely with them on educational Programmes directed at the players and on other matters related to the Programme. We are all committed to a drug-free environment in our sport."
ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers said: "I'm delighted that outgoing ATP CEO Mark Miles and ATP senior management worked closely with the ITF to consolidate the administration of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme under one roof to help it maintain its status as a model Programme for all sports. We are proud of the success of the Programme that was grown and run by the ATP but felt it was the right time to hand it on to the ITF. We maintain our rigorous position against doping in the sport, as our players and tournaments insist. We will do everything possible to support the operation of a strong, fair and effective anti-doping Programme in tennis, and know that the ITF will do an excellent job."
The ATP will continue to work with the Lucozade Sports Science Academy, a division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that offers a range of sports nutrition products specifically for ATP players produced under stringent quality control and testing procedures in conjunction with a WADA-affiliated laboratory.
The ITF also hopes to enter into discussions with the WTA Tour about the possibility of also managing their anti-doping Programme. The ITF currently tests women players at the Grand Slams, Fed Cup, ITF Women's Circuit Events, and junior and wheelchair tennis tournaments.
Ricci Bitti added: "We believe that a unified Programme under one management is in the best interests of tennis, and we hope that the WTA Tour will soon join with us and the ATP to achieve this goal."
About the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme
The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is a comprehensive and internationally recognized drug-testing Programme that applies to all players competing at tournaments sanctioned by the ITF, ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Players are tested for substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Background on the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme, penalties, statistics and testing procedure information can be found at www.ITFtennis.com/abouttheitf/rulesregs and www.ATPtennis.com/en/antidoping/.
History of the Programme
· Drug testing conducted by the Men's Tennis Council began in the late 1980s and focused on recreational drugs
· When the ATP Tour was formed in 1990, the governing body of the men's professional tennis circuit extended the testing to include performance-enhancing drugs
· The ITF and WTA Tour also had comprehensive anti-doping Programmes, and in 1993 the three bodies created a joint anti-doping Programme that covered the whole of tennis.
· In-competition testing was conducted at 36 professional tennis events sanctioned by the ITF, ATP and WTA Tour in 2004. More than 1,000 tests were conducted on male players, with a total of 474 different players tested. The top 10 players were tested an average of 6.3 times during the year.
· The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme will conduct more than 1,500 doping control tests in 2005 both in-competition and out-of-competition.
ITF: Barbara Travers, Head of Communications, email@example.com, +44 (0)20 8392 4632
ATP: Graeme Agars, VP, Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 904 285 8000.