• ATP World Tour Finals

Djokovic blasts ATP and WADA for Troicki suspension

Ismail Vedat at the O2
November 6, 2013
Djokovic defends Troicki

Novak Djokovic has slammed anti-doping agency WADA for the way they have handled the case of Viktor Troicki, saying the "negligence and unprofessionalism" of the doping control officer (DCO) is to blame.

Troicki had his ban reduced from 18 months to 12 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided that neither the Serb or the anti-doping agencies were at fault for Troicki refusing to give a blood sample on the requested day.

Troicki was told by the DCO that he could return the following day to provide blood after initially giving a urine sample, saying he felt ill at the time it was requested and feared he may have fainted if he gave a blood sample.

But Djokovic, who has known Troicki since he was eight years old, pointed the finger at the anti-doping agencies for the ban.

'"We're clean" comments perpetuate the narrative that cycling is bad apple'

Mark Cavendish wants tennis to be put under the same scrutiny as cycling © AP
  • Mark Cavendish has singled out tennis as an example of a sport that does not take doping as seriously as cycling, describing it as a "persistent frustration." Writing in his new autobiography At Speed, the former road race world champion pointed to the gulf in the number of blood tests carried out in the two sports.
  • "Five years after the UCI [International Cycling Union], the International Tennis Federation finally got its biological passport up and running in 2013," Cavendish writes. "In 2011 a grand total of 21 out-of competition blood tests were carried out in tennis, as against the 4,613 in cycling.
  • "You consider this, then you hear Andre Agassi saying that 'tennis has always led the way in anti-doping' or Marion Bartoli insisting that 'doping doesn't exist in tennis'….How can she be so confident when, over more than a decade, Lance [Armstrong] alone sailed through hundreds of tests?
  • "The problem with statements like Agassi's and Bartoli's is that they perpetuate the narrative that the public has been hearing for years - that cycling is riddled with doping and other sports are clean."

"It proves again that this system of WADA and anti-doping agencies does not work. Why am I saying that? Because, first of all, as a tennis pro, our job is to play and to respect all the rules and know all the rules of our sport," an angry Djokovic said, who had arrived at the conference prepared with notes on the subject.

"But when you are randomly selected to go and provide the test, blood test or urine test, the representatives of WADA and the anti-doping agency who are there at the tournament are supposed to give you clear indications and explain the rules and regulations and what the severe consequences or penalties you might undertake or might have if you fail to provide the test. The representative, she did not do that in his [Troicki's] case."

And Djokovic laid the blame on the DCO, saying: "She clearly did not present him the severe consequences that he will have if he avoids the test. She told him that he needs to write a report and that he will be just fine.

"And because of her negligence and unprofessionalism, he is now off the tour for one year, and it makes me nervous as a player. I don't have trust in them any more. I don't have trust for what's going on.

"This DCO is going to come back tomorrow for the job. Nobody is going to answer for that."

Djokovic stressed that Troicki has been let down by the ATP, and called for the governing bodies to step in.

"ATP is supposed to be an association of the players, are not going to answer on this, and are not going to do anything for Viktor, so he's there by himself. This is a total injustice. It's just incredible," Djokovic said.

"This is just another big reason, another example, that there are some things that have to be changed."

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