x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Tennis chiefs should use players' prize funds to pay for more doping tests, says Murray

The Olympic champion believes the sport must do more to avoid a potential doping scandal - including increasing the amount spent on testing players during the season.

Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray.
Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray.

Andy Murray insists tennis must conduct more blood testing to avoid being hit by the kind of doping scandals that have plagued cycling.

World number three, runner-up at last month's Australian Open to Novak Djokovic, feels the sport's authorities need to invest more heavily in antidoping programmes - even if it means siphoning funds from players' prize money.

"I've been asked a lot lately if tennis is clean or not but I don't know how you judge if a sport is clean," he said.

"If one in 100 players is doping, in my eyes that isn't a clean sport. We need to do everything we can to ensure that everyone competing at the highest level and below is clean.

"That comes with biological passports and more blood testing. I know the training that I do and I know what goes in and out of my body and I know from my side that I'm clean and I hope that's the same for all tennis players."

Murray's comments come Roger Federer warned that the number of out of competition blood tests carried out in tennis had declined.

The International Tennis Federation runs the doping programme in the sport but the 2013 budget of $2 million, paid for by the four grand slams, the ITF and the men's and women's Tours, is dwarfed by the prize money available to top players.

"There needs to be more blood testing," Murray said.

"Last year I got tested a lot especially during the French Open and Wimbledon and through to the US. Open but I think a lot of that was due to the Olympics.

"The only way we can improve the testing procedures is to have more blood testing. We need to spend money to do that but in the long term I think it would be worth it because more would come to watch sport, rather than just reading about doping scandals or match fixing every week.

"I don'ty know how much the ITF and ATP put money into drug testing but if it comes down to cost, if it means taking some from the players' earnings then that's what we have to do.

"Tennis needs to look closely after what happened with the Lance Armstrong situation. We don't want that happening. For my sport that would be terrible."

Murray's concerns come after the latest statistics for antidoping in tennis, for the 2011 season, found that of the 2,150 tests undertaken, only 131 were blood tests and only 21 were out of competition.

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