|Notice a pattern? Does this look like random testing?|
As the table makes obvious, players were only tested IF they LOST(with the exception of champions). You'd have to play in more than one draw (e.g., singles and doubles) just to have a chance of getting tested twice. Is it any wonder that so few players are caught doping in tennis? This testing protocol means that a player could potentially micro-dose (e.g., fast-acting synthetic testosterone) all the way to a championship by boosting after each win and on off-days since they would know in advance that they wouldn't be tested. By dosing in such a manner, any traces would clear before the next round and the player would test clean if they lost. And if a player was really cocky, and convinced that they were going to beat their opponent, they could boost the same day as the match (or even during a match), knowing that by winning, they wouldn't be tested (except for the finals).
Why would anyone have such an ineffective (and clearly non-random) testing protocol? I asked the ITF to confirm that this was the testing protocol for Grand Slam events in 2009 and whether this testing practice continues. Their response: "We do not comment on testing protocol at the Grand Slam tournaments or any other tennis events where testing takes place."
I should note that the exception for 2009 was the French Open, where supplemental "random and targeted" testing was carried out by the French anti-doping authority (AFLD): Nadal, Federer, Tsonga, and others were tested following early round wins.
Given the testing data, how can it be claimed that the anti-doping programme conducted by the ITF is adequate? How many years has this been going on? Was the same testing plan carried out in 2010 and 2011? Unfortunately, we don't know becuase the ITF didn't published detailed information for 2010. Is this the testing plan for 2012?
How should the testing be conducted? Well, here's what happened at the 2010 Tour de France: "8 Post-Finish tests per day with the Stage winner and the holder of the Yellow Jersey automatic selections and 6 further tests either drawn randomly or targeted using intelligence from the UCI. In addition on selected days unannounced testing was conducted in the evening and the morning for the purposes of target testing."
Why can't tennis test the top 2 or 4 seeds after every round with further tests either drawn randomly and/or targeted? Tennis was clearly not using these methods in 2009. Is it using them now? They won't say. Without random and/or targeted testing of all players (winners and losers), the testing isn't going to catch much. And it hasn't.
It is clear that not only is the out-of-competition testing in tennis deficient, but even in-competition testing is weak. This presents a significant credibility problem.
The WADA should send an Independent Observer Team over to the Australian Open ASAP.
How the list was compiled:
Players tested and test dates: ITF's 2009 Anti-Doping Programme Statistics
Win/loss and Round Info: ITF Archives
Supplemental Round Info and Dates: Archived Day Schedules
If you find an error, let me know.