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By Adrianna Outlaw | Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 
Novak Djokovic, Boris Becker

"Rumors are not reality. Tennis is an Olympic sport. All the top guys, I know for a fact, get tested a lot. Everybody is clean and so we can't spread rumors," says Boris Becker.

Photo credit: AP Photo

Andy Murray suspects doping exists on the ATP Tour. Boris Becker believes the world No. 2 is "totally out of order" for his claims and adamantly maintains "tennis is clean."

"I have played against players and thought, 'They don't seem to be getting tired.' " Murray told the Sunday Daily Mail. "Have I ever been suspicious of someone? Yeah. You hear things."

More: Djokovic, Serena Sweep Top Laureus Awards

Becker, who is coach of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and regards Murray "as a friend", shot down the Scot's suspicions and reiterated his belief the game is clean.

'It's a very dangerous subject. I can only repeat that tennis is clean," Becker told the media at the Laureus Sports Awards in Berlin. "I believe 100 percent Andy is clean. Roger is clean, Rafa (Nadal) is clean, Stan (Wawrinka) is clean, all these guys are clean...

"Rumors are not reality. Tennis is an Olympic sport. All the top guys, I know for a fact, get tested a lot. Everybody is clean and so we can't spread rumors. If Murray feels that he lost a match because the other guy was running longer than him it's because of the fitness, otherwise we would have known. [Murray] is one of the fittest players on the tour, he is very dedicated, puts a lot of effort into his training and so are the others."

Murray told the Daily Mail he views Maria Sharapova's provisional suspension for testing positive for the banned drug meldonium as a positive step for the sport, suggesting tennis may have been "covering up for the big stars" in the past.

"When someone like Sharapova is banned, I see that as being a positive," Murray told the Daily Mail. "If that stuff is happening and you don’t hear about it, I have a big issue because it’s like the sport is covering up for the big stars.

"If someone is going through that process, the tennis world should let people know and, as far as I’m aware, they are changing that rule now. If someone is serving that suspension period or the period where they are arguing it or trying to come to conclusions what the sentence is going to be, that is going to become public knowledge."

A vocal proponent of more drug testing, Murray says tennis needs more transparency when it comes to drug testing to protect the integrity of the sport.

"So you’re not going to have silent bans or someone saying they were injured," Murray told the Daily Mail. "That happened with Croatia’s Marin Cilic, where he pulled out of Wimbledon injured. People started talking and then it came out that he had failed a drugs test. And that looks terrible."

Becker counters that raising doping allegations against some stars—including Djokovic and nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal as some have done in the past—without evidence is reckless and "incredibly disrespectful to both players."

"There's been rumors about Rafa [Nadal] over the years, there have been to a lesser extent about Novak," Becker told the media. "I find that incredibly disrespectful to both players. They are legends, they are super athletes, they live and breathe tennis.

"I would find it equally disrespectful to Andy if somebody claimed he only won Wimbledon because he took a pill. I think that's wrong and that shouldn't be allowed. So that was my comment and I stand with it because it's about the integrity of tennis. I felt that I needed to defend it a little bit."

At Indian Wells, Nadal vowed to sue a former French minister of sport for alleging he tested positive and served a silent ban, as well as pursue legal action against anyone who makes unfounded doping allegations against him.

Some Hall of Fame players, including Chris Evert, say it's naive to believe doping doesn't occur in tennis and all sports.

"I think you'd have to have your head in the sand if you didn't at least assume in every professional sport there might be some sort of PED being used," Evert told the media in an ESPN conference call last month. "Honestly, in every professional sport I think this goes on to a certain extent. In tennis it doesn't worry me as much. This went on when I was playing. "I know players on the women's tour who were using PEDs (during my career) and we didn't even have drug testing. I think it happens in every professional sport."

 

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