5th of February 2013 Author: Glo Wood
Andy Murray wants tennis to learn from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and introduce tighter controls. The British number one believes that prize funds should be reduced and the money should be used to fund more regular blood testing and protect the sport's image.
"It's down to our governing bodies and the ATP to invest some of our own money and make sure we get more testing done," Murray said. "If it means taking some of the money out of the players' earnings then that's what we have to do."
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is currently on trial in Madrid after admitting providing athletes with banned substances in sport's latest drug inquiry. The World Anti-Doping Agency was initially told that tennis players were amongst the athletes supplied by Fuentes when his operation was uncovered by Spanish police in 2006. However Fuentes is only being tried over doping in one sport as cyclists were the only athletes that could be identified.
"I think it's essential that the names and whoever was involved with it, it's essential for tennis that that comes out," said Murray. "If one in 100 is doping then, in my eyes, that isn't a clean sport and we need to to everything we can to ensure we have everyone that's competing at the highest level and below is clean. I know what goes in my body and I know from my side that I'm clean, so that's all I can comment on."
Lance Armstrong recently admitted cheating his way to all seven Tour de France titles, and US Open champion Murray believes that the damage done to cycling could extend to other sports. "I don't want that happening for my sport because it would be terrible," he said. "Every single week right now there's something different and it's bad for sport."
Murray insists that more blood tests, combined with biological passports that monitor for the effects of doping, would be the best tactic to ensure a clean sport. "The only way you can improve your testing procedures is by having more of them and you need money to do that - it's a cost thing," he added. "But in the long term I think you save money because I think more people would come to watch sports, rather than reading all the time about these doping scandals."
The International Tennis Federation carried out a total of 131 blood tests in 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, alongside 2,019 urine tests. World number one Novak Djokovic recently said the number of blood tests he has undergone was a lot lower in the last year.
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