Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Nadal urges tighter drugs control

March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
  • Rafael Nadal wants stricter drug controls in tennis
  • Sport has been hit by several drug scandals in recent months
  • ITF has introduced a biological passport program to battle the problem
  • Czech tennis player banned for six months after positive test for sibutramine

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal has called for stricter doping controls and more transparency to help eradicate drug cheating in tennis.

Nadal wants to ensure tennis is not plagued by the doping problems which have affected so many other sports, notably cycling, following the Lance Armstrong saga.

Read: Federer: 'Naive to think tennis is clean'

"It's something even I don't like to talk about because it has damaged the image of sport, and sport doesn't deserve this kind of thing in my opinion," the 11-time grand slam champion told CNN's Open Court show before his weekend triumph at Indian Wells.

"When somebody like Armstrong was an idol for most of the people who loved sport, at the end, you see that was not true.

Federer: Do more drug testing
Rafael Nadal's injury heartache
Tommy Haas: My daughter motivates me

"It's a big disappointment, so I think we need to work together in the same direction to change the situation. It cannot continue like this.

"We need to be stricter on a few things. We need to have all the controls made public."

Read: Nadal battles back for Indian Wells triumph

Nadal, who made his return to action in February following a seven-month absence with a knee injury, said tennis needs an all-encompassing approach to drug testing in order to maintain the sport's image.

"We have to work together, we have to be working together with the administrators and hopefully we can change that terrible situation," he said.

"We are lucky that in tennis, it has happened in just very exceptional cases but at the end, tennis is in sport, so if that happens in other sports, it affects tennis too."

In recent months sport has been hit by several high-profile doping scandals.

Cyclist Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, while Australian sport was given a wake-up call after a government report alleged athletes were using illegal substances supplied by organized criminal groups.

Cheating in sport: What are banned substances?

Football's governing body FIFA has already stated its intention to introduce biological passports, while the outcome of the Operation Puerto trial in Spain into the relationship between sport and doctor Eufemiano Fuentes' doping network is ongoing.

Biological passport

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) recently confirmed that it will introduce a biological passport program, a system similar to the one used in cycling, where players' drug test results are kept over a long period of time so that the use of illegal substances is more easily detected.

Chris Evert: Grooming future champions
Sloane Stephens hoping for patience
Federer targets more grand slam titles

"The implementation of the athlete biological passport is an important step in the evolution of the tennis anti-doping program as it provides us with a great tool in the fight against doping in our sport," said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.

In 2011 the ITF and the World Anti-Doping Agency conducted just 21 out-of-competition blood tests in a bid to detect illegal products such as human growth hormone (HGH), EPO, transfusions and other blood-doping substances.

According to the latest figures, the vast majority of tests in tennis in 2011 -- 2,019 of a total of 2,150 -- were urine.

Read: Fish furious as Odesnik prepares to return from drug ban

In February, the ITF banned Czech Republic player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova for six months after she tested positive for the stimulant sibutramine at a tournament in October.

She insisted the drug had made it into her system through a supplement and denied taking it to enhance her performance.

In 2010, former top 100 player Wayne Odesnik, was suspended by the ITF after Australian customs officials found eight vials containing HGH in his luggage.

He denied using HGH and never tested positive for it.

His two-year ban was cut in half because the ITF said Odesnik cooperated with its anti-doping program.

Earlier this month, 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer told CNN that it was "naïve" to think tennis is clean, while world No. 1 Novak Djokovic recently queried the declining number of blood tests he had undergone.

"I wasn't tested with blood for the last six or seven months," he told reporters. "It was more regularly in the last two, three years ago. I don't know the reason why they stopped it."

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.