• ATP Tour

Federer backs 'aggressive' drug tests

ESPN staff
February 26, 2013
Roger Federer all for tougher tests © AP

Roger Federer has given his full backing to more "aggressive" drug tests being introduced to tennis.

After managing to avoid a shock opening-round defeat to Malek Jaziri on Monday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where the Swiss star came from a set down to overcome the Tunisian wildcard, the 31-year-old supports the need for the game to bring in tougher drug tests in order to maintain its integrity.

Speaking after his 5-7 6-0 6-2 victory, the record 17-time grand slam champion said: "I'm all for transparency, aggressive tests. I've always been like that, so for me it's important to make sure the integrity of the game is kept where it is supposed to be and that the tour and the players have to agree to do that. I think there is a big sense of urgency to make sure the sport stays as clean as possible."

With doping in sport making the headlines over the last few months, in particular Lance Armstrong in the world of cycling, Federer feels that tennis must adopt similar tests having been highly critical of the current system in place, and he is not the only player to feel this way, with reigning US Open champion and Britain's No. 1 Andy Murray also expressing similar wishes.

"I don't think people care about tests. Nothing came up [after my tests], it's a relief. I think we only care about that one test when I wasn't fine," Federer jokingly added.

It was an almighty struggle for Federer early on in his encounter against Jaziri, but having dropped the opening set he was able to find his groove, and much to the organisers' delight seal a place in the next round after a sluggish start.

"At times it doesn't matter how good you play, it's all in the hands of the guy who's serving. It was windy out there a little bit so the more you try to play safe the worst it gets. So it's almost better to start out hitting the ball and going for it," said the defending champion here in Dubai.

"You want to play consistent, aggressive. He did well and played some good stuff," commented Federer on his opponent ranked 128 in the world.

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