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Drug Program Changes OKd

September 04, 2002|Lisa Dillman

NEW YORK — The ATP's Board of Directors and its Player Council have approved changes designed to strengthen its anti-doping program, which is organized in conjunction with the WTA and ITF.

Revisions will include reworked language regarding blood testing. Only urine specimens are currently used in the testing procedure. The second issue deals with out-of-competition testing, which is random, not targeted.

"We've done a lot of work on the out-of-competition testing to bring it up to speed," said Richard Ings, the ATP's executive vice president of Rules and Competition. "Now we need to do more. We've targeted out-of-competition testing. It is random--there's a pool of players. Testing was more for recreational drugs [in the beginning]."

The new language could, for example, allow for targeted testing of players who have achieved a certain ranking; testing of players who have missed a period of time because of injury; or testing a player who withdraws late from a tournament.

Ings said Tuesday that the goal is to have the revisions in place no later than the start of the 2003 season, pending approval from the other two governing bodies of tennis. The ATP's Board and Player Council approved the changes in separate meetings at the U.S. Open last weekend.

"One of the good things is the players want as much done as possible," said Ings of the vote in favor of changes.

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