Anti-doping programme defended
International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci Bitti has defended the sport's approach to anti-doping.
In the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal in cycling, Andy Murray and Roger Federer have led the campaign from within the game to ensure tennis never has to deal with such a scenario.
In particular, they have criticised the lack of blood testing, but talks have been going on between the ITF, ATP, WTA and the four grand slams, and Ricci Bitti is confident biological passports will be introduced soon.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "I can compare the Tennis Federation with others because I am on the International Olympic Committee. And I say we can only be proud, because we started very early in anti-doping, and we believe we have a quality programme.
"People forget that the money we spend on anti-doping is taken away from grass-roots development, so we have always to balance.
"But our review of our programme should be completed in the next week and hopefully the outcome will be more blood tests, more out-of-competition tests, and the biological passport."
The ITF administers tennis' anti-doping programme, which is funded to the tune of £1.2million a year by the federation, the ATP, WTA and the grand slams.
This figure is expected to significantly increase as tennis comes under pressure to up its blood testing. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, fewer than 200 in-competition tests were carried out and only 39 out of competition.
Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of Spain's Operation Puerto doping scandal, said at his trial recently that he had worked with tennis players, and Ricci Bitti acknowledged his sport will have cheats to catch.
He said: "I am sure there is doping. I am sure there is doping in each sport, obviously more in the sports where the performance is impacted directly, like cycling.
"We are a skill sport, but we still have to be very vigilant because tennis is becoming more physical and recovery is much easier if you take some substance."
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