Skip to main content

Nadal urges tighter drugs control

March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Li Na outperformed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, but can she now surpass the Russian as the world's richest female athlete?
Roger Federer may have lost again to Rafael Nadal in the business end of a grand slam, but he can take some heart from yet another record says CNN's Will Edmonds.
January 21, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg, Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker -- today's tennis stars are teaming up with past legends of the game.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
Can't stand the heat of the first tennis grand slam of 2014? Then you clearly haven't been doing enough Bikram yoga.
After nearly a decade without any real change at the top of men's tennis, CNN's Will Edmonds looks at next generation of future stars.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Ana Ivanovic is still seeking to rediscover the form that took her to the top of the rankings -- but she has found a new lease of life.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
As a teen sensation, Bernard Tomic had the tennis world at his feet -- but he's in danger of blowing it, says Australian great Pat Rafter.
ADVERTISEMENT