Let’s try to better understand some of the mechanisms behind the controls on athletes. Why the two Williams were never tested in 2010-2011? The case-Garcia del Moral - Errani. Stuart Miller: "enormous costs".
Over the past seven years, there have been 63 cases of doping in tennis. These emerged from the checks carried out periodically by international agencies (WADA in all sports and the ITF to the alleged tennis, and even the IOC during the Olympic games), and even national, who can test their athletes and those competing nations themselves. Understanding that it’s impossible to control every athlete every day, how they happen controls? The British site The Tennis Space interviewed Dr. Stuart Miller, head of the Science and Technology of the ITF.
In summary, emerge a few highlights. The top player, it is easy to understand, are tested more often than others, but in testing of ITF (available to all on their website) there aren’t some big names, such as the Williams sisters, never tested away from racing in 2010 and 2011 . This could be due simply to the fact that they have been tested by different agencies, or that attempts to take samples are unsuccessful.
This can happen for several reasons: all the players are obliged to declare where they can be found for at least an hour a day, but then it isn’t said that the tests are done during this time, as one of their important feature should be the unpredictability. It 's just more likely to occur in that time frame, that works as a little "anchor" to know where a player even before and after; but if one is not available outside of this period can’t be said I've avoided the control (and after three controls avoided in 18 months takes the disqualification). Officially, however, all can be tested at any place and at any time. Even at night, if there were credible reports that someone uses the night to take drugs, but usually the hours between 23 and 6 are not used.
Cases in which a person is disqualified for doping, as Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, do not extend automatically to those who have worked with them, as was Sara Errani who immediately dissociated from that doctor. It is obvious, however, that if continue the employment relationship will arise suspicion. There is a proposal for the next WADA code for the prosecution of a breach in the event of continued relations with a person disqualified, but for now there is no infringement.
On more specific details, however, the answers are more smoky. In 2011 there were only 21 samples of blood away from the tournament on 18 men and 3 women. Miller does not explain why, he just says that there were some limitations of this type of control, but now have been overcome, and rising blood tests, both during and outside of racing competitions. The main problem, however, is the cost, which can reach $ 1,000 per sample, and logistical problems, in fact, often the kit for the detection of prohibited substances are made to analyze several samples simultaneously, and if used instead of one, there’s a lost of several money.
Urine samples are, however, more significant, given that detect a greater number of illegal substances, but WADA hopes to achieve 15-20% of blood samples on the total number of samples, compared to about 10% current. The blood is in fact fundamental to flush out any growth hormone and substances that help the transport of oxygen, while the EPO is detected from the urine. The new code of WADA will be definitively established in November 2013 and will soon begin in January 2015. It’s probably that many things will be finished, including rules for the period of availability required, since the anti-doping bodies are always open to suggestions to improve constantly.
But how is widespread doping in tennis? 63 cases in seven years is not much, but not to be underestimated. Surely there is a risk, given the many money distributed in the circuit, but we can’t test all the players every day. In any case, the evidence found so far do not indicate a widespread and systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Some players then complain about the invasiveness of this program, but the anti-doping agencies are working to protect them from unfair opponents, substances that can damage their health, and protect all sports. Also, when an athlete is more or less openly accused of doping, can always show the negative results of the test.
The work of the ITF Anti-Doping Agency, however, is not only in control, but also in the prevention, distributing info for players, coaches and doctors in doping control rooms and in the locker room, with a website and a dedicated phone line that works 24 hours of 24. All tools are often used by players and their team. Then there's always someone who turns away, but the anti-doping makes good sense his presence and does the best to make known its program.