Drugs rife in tennis (C/P)
Drugs rife in tennis - report
Posted on Friday, July 12, 2002 - 06:10
The use of illegal steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs has become widespread in professional tennis, Australia's top doping official said on Friday.
The Australian Sports Drug Agency chief executive John Mendoza said also that the game's authorities were not doing enough to prevent the problem.
"Tennis is heavily under the influence of doping and they are in denial if they don't accept that," Mendoza was quoted as saying in The Australian newspaper.
Mendoza's explosive comments come at a time when tennis is under pressure to take a tougher stance against drug cheats after two, as yet unnamed players, failed tests at the recent French Open.
Mendoza, whose agency was in charge of drug testing at the Sydney Olympics, said the doping culture in tennis was worse in the women's game.
He warned that the use of performance-enhancing drugs, especially steroids, was now so commonplace in women's tennis that the sport was heading towards a similar crisis that swimming faced at the 1994 Rome world championships and cycling encountered before the Tour de France drug busts in 1997.
"It is now self-evident that doping in the sport is out of control," he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
"Like the 1994 swimming in Rome where there were grotesque physiques, it is obvious that tennis has a problem it needs to deal with."
Mendoza said the drug culture had been encouraged by the lax testing procedures used in tennis and he urged the game's controlling body to do more.
Tennis, along with soccer and handball, is one of just three sports that refuses to subject their players to random, unannounced drug tests.
Players are tested at the four grand slams but that system was open to abuse, Mendoza said.
"Players can use short-acting steroids in combination with human growth hormone which will produce muscle mass and enormous power," he said.
"And while they can stop just before a competition and test clean, they still get the performance benefit of the drugs."
I completely disagree. What is so "self-evident." Apparently that just means he has no evidence beyond his own opinions. Tennis (ATP) does do unannounced testing.