With the recent suspensions of Belgian players Yanina Wickmayer and Xaiver Malisse, and the controversy surrounding their rather quick decisions in the light of Andre Agassi’s admitting to the use of Crystal Meth back in 1997…what other tour players have been the victim of this outrageous policy?
Quoted from a BBC article online:
"The official who came to my home wanted me to produce identification to prove who I was. He insisted on watching me provide a sample, literally with my trousers round my ankles, and then insisted that I wrote down my own address, even though he was at my private home at 7am."
This is one of Andy Murray’s experiences with the ATP drug testing policy for out of competition testing. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this picture? Murray had just returned home from the Australian Open earlier that morning, and in his jet lagged state was greeted by an official who made these outrageous demands to a jetlagged Murray. But Murray is not alone.
"I am the first who wants a clean sport but the way things are being done is, in my opinion, not right," world #2 Rafael Nadal says, "It's too much to have to say where you are every day of your life, even my mother doesn’t know where I am everyday.”
Under the new rules the ATP signed up for with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) players must be available for officials one hour each day, between the hours of 6 am and 11pm, and all must be entered online three months in advance. Three months in advance? I think the only people who know where’re they’re going to be three months ahead of time… well I don’t think anyone does, unless you’re in prison. Especially with the almost nomadic lifestyle tennis players live, traveling around the world every week, being constantly jetlagged, and the only time they have to relax is six weeks out of the year from the beginning of December to mid January when the Australian Open begins (unless of course players choose to play in the warm up tournaments prior, the two most notable being the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, and the Medibank International in Sydney.)
Although officials admit that the nomadic nature of a player’s life makes it difficult to predict where they will be at any time. Yet they still enforce these outrageous rules even though they admit it themselves that, “They are unique in that they don’t know when they will leave a tournament, how long a match will last, when they have to appear at a tournament or where they will be headed next,” an ATP spokesperson said. Sort of contradicting isn’t it?
Even Wickmayer, who’s the latest victim of the new rules, had this to say:
"The people who made the rules are not really conscious of what this means for my future," Wickmayer said. "I am No. 16 in the world. They are taking my work of 10 years away. Just like that! Just because I didn't fill in my whereabouts," "They should inform us better on how this system works," she said. "I am being punished for something that was not in my hands that I had no control over."
Wickmayer corresponded with anti-doping officials to have registered mail sent to her residence in Belgium where she lives with her father who is also her coach. But several months out of the year the two of them travel to tournaments around the world and that registered mail that gets sent to their home goes unanswered…how hard is it to e-mail or call Wickmayer as I’m sure that the WTA and WADA have her information on file.
So what happens to these guys if they miss a flight or a flight gets delayed and they’re not where they’re going to be when they said they were three months ago when they entered the information into the online data? They get a strike? Absurd, I’m on the side of the players, something needs to be done…and soon.
Hate it, love it, let me hear your thoughts.