Former world number one tennis player Rafael Nadal previously used to criticise anti-doping officials for treating players like criminals but now he does not have any issue if they are even tested every week.
Nadal, who is in Chile these days to play his first tournament in the last seven months, said in a recent interview, "If we have to go through a test every week, I don't see a problem with that if it's useful to fight what happened in other sports. I hope tennis can continue being a clean sport as it has been for almost all of its history."
The reason behind this sudden change in Nadal’s stance is the Lance Armstrong incident. Armstrong, who used to be known as the best cyclist in history, admitted last month that he used performance enhancing drugs to win his all seven Tour de France titles.
The 11-time Grand Slam winner has been himself a subject of accusations of taking banned drugs from some corners. Last year, a French newspaper said that Spanish athletes use performance enhancing drugs, making a cartoon of drug injecting Nadal.
When the Spaniard went on a long layoff due to his recurring knee injury, some of his critics even said that he was caught for doping and was serving ban.
When Armstrong incident happened last month, Belgium’s former player Christopher Rochus accused top tennis players of taking performance enhancing drugs.
Rochus stated, "The guys can't play five or six hours and then come back the next day and run around like a rabbit."
He was referring to Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray’s last year’s semi-final, which lasted for nearly five hours; and Djokvoic and Nadal’s final, which was almost six hours long.
Tennis players are drug tested on a routine basis and none of the top tennis players has ever failed any test. They have to even inform the anti-doping officials of their whereabouts consistently and are tested without any prior warning.
That was the very season which tempted Nadal in 2009 to say that tennis players are treated like criminals by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
WADA and ITF are trying to be even stricter on doping now and they are playing to conduct dope tests more often.
Tennis World Magazine - issue 27
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