Novak Djokovic creates controversy over anti-doping procedures in tennis

The more he earns, the less he has his tongue in his pocket. The Serbian Novak Djokovic, world number 1, winner in particular of three Grand Slam and Masters tournaments in 2023, deplored, Thursday, having had to submit to an anti-doping control shortly before a Davis Cup match, in Malaga (Spain ). This Saturday, two days after the controversy initiated by the Serbian, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) defended its procedures.

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“I was notified that I was chosen for doping control when I was getting ready to go onto the field an hour and a half later”, denounced the Serbian, Thursday evening, after his decisive victory in the second singles against the Briton Cameron Norrie (6-4, 6-4), during the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup. Djokovic at the same time designated an ITIA official in the room who was following him, according to him, “for several hours already”.

“They informed me after the warm-up. But I have a routine, I just have to prepare to go into a match, and I don’t need that distraction.”added the 36-year-old, denouncing a situation “completely illogical” which he had never been confronted with. “I don’t need anyone to come and take my blood, take my urine, or think about whether I will be able to donate my urine at this moment or not. »

“I have always supported controls”

On Saturday, shortly before Serbia began its Davis Cup semi-final against Italy, the International Tennis Integrity Agency defended its anti-doping procedures to AFP.

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“Due to the format of team competitions, including the Davis Cup, teams can be notified that they have been selected for doping control before matches begin and provide their samples when readyexplained an ITIA spokesperson. Between notification and delivery of the sample, they are monitored by a member of the anti-doping team. »

Djokovic also reaffirmed, Thursday evening, the need for the fight against doping. “I have always supported controls, for myself or for everyone else. If you have to do it a hundred times, you do it a hundred times, no problem, but never before a match,” the Serb had implored.

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