Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ITF's 2013 Testing Summary

Update: Simon Cambers has posted a new interview with ITF anti-doping manager Stuart Miller on freezing and retesting samples, testing on slam off-days, and the biological passport.

Original Post:

2013 Testing Summary
A summary of testing conducted under the 2013 ITF Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is now available.

My thoughts:

The 2013 statistics (below) show both improvement (the increase in blood tests) and a big cause for concern (the decrease in out-of-competition urine tests).

1. Overall, 2013's 2752 total samples was a 26% increase from 2012 (2185 total).

2. The good news is that blood tests were way up in 2013. The 362 in-competition blood tests were a 194% increase over 2012 (124). The 449 out-of-competition blood tests were a 613% increase over 2012 (63). However, we don't know how many blood samples were for testing versus biological passport samples.

3. The troubling aspect of 2013 is the significant decrease in out-of-competition urine testing. There were 144 samples collected in 2013, representing a 47% decrease from 2012 (271). Urine sample are needed to test for EPO and synthetic testosterone. The only rational I can see for this decrease is that the ITF is betting the farm on the biological passport. I don't consider this a prudent course of action and neither does anti-doping expert Don Catlin, who last year stated that ITF would be better off  "Doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in. You need data over four or five years."

Maybe Don Catlin and Stuart Miller need to talk.

In-Competition testing - (Urine)

Total specimensMale specimensFemale specimens

In-Competition testing - (Blood)

Total specimensMale specimensFemale specimens

Out-of-Competition testing - (Urine)

Total specimensMale specimensFemale specimens

Out-of-Competition testing - (Blood)

Total specimensMale specimensFemale specimens

Total testing (in and out of competition, for urine and blood)

Total specimensMale specimensFemale specimens

Notes: figures do not include samples collected by other Anti-Doping Organisations.
Tests per player will be posted below in due course.


  1. The fact that a blood test is performed does not mean that any doping substance was tested for in the sample... The increase in blood tests could (and probably does) mean that the ITF are collecting physiologic data for the athletes blood passport (what happens to hematocrit etc over time). It does not mean that the myriad of novel growth factors and stimulants of erythocytosis are being measured.

    This interview with Dr Miller was exasperating for me...... and probably deserves a post of it's own on the blog.


    In several instances, he was asked a specific question with a clear intended meaning, and fudged. When asked about retesting frozen samples, he said that, yes, they do.. They retest the B sample after the A sample.. LOL. After that stunning revelation, he gave us obfuscation.

    And LOL @ Athletes being asked about "recent exercise", in case it could explain a change in hematologic parameters in their blood passport.. we're talking about professional athletes in a sport with basically no off season. As if the are not going to answer the questions in a way that would give them an out if they were doping.

    I was also interested in the philosophy behind his response to retro testing samples for newly discovered and recently banned substances.... Yes, legally, you might not be able to sanction an athlete, but testing and announcing the result would allow the fans (who pay the bills!!!) the judge the validity of an athlete's achievements for themselves.

  2. Sorry any testing doesn't matter now that there is stem cell therapy available. It is being used at the leading edge of all sports now. There's no test for this and even if it were illegal it is biologically identical and thus untraceable.

    1. All we need is this kind of wise defeatist's comment, beginning with "Sorry...". Well done, mate: "worldly-wise [you] realise that everybody's crazy". Way to go, "at the leading edge of" ...what? Well, let's say: the defeatist's complacency - wise as it may be.