Andy Murray, who won $US 5.7 million last year and has already amassed $US 1.39m in 2013, is adamant he would be prepared to take a reduction in prize money to help finance a state-of-the-art anti-doping program that will determine tennis doesn’t fall into the same trap as cycling and is clean from of banned performance enhancing drugs.
The world no.3 is insistent prize funds on offer to players at all leading events should be cut in order to boost tennis’ anti-doping budget, which last year amounted to little more than $US 1.8 million. Last month’s Australian Open offered a record prize fund of $ Aus 30 million ($US 31.25m).
Murray believes the he and his fellow leading players such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, should exert more pressure on the International Tennis Federation, that adheres to the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code to invest more into drug detection.
“Maybe it’s down to our governing bodies, the ATP World Tour, to invest some of our own money into WADA and into making sure we get more testing done,” said Murray. “That’s the only way you can improve your testing procedures; by having more of them, more blood testing.
“In the long term I think you would save a lot of money because more people would come to watch sports rather than reading all the time about doping or match-fixing scandals. Every single week right now there’s something different. It’s bad for sport.”
Murray is more than aware of the ongoing Operación Puerto in Spain, in which Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, a former cycling team doctor, have been raided and copious amounts of blood-doping material have been found.
There is a suspicion that Dr. Fuentes was supplying tennis players as well as cyclists, for he claims to have offered his services to athletes from many sports. Fuentes ‘ criminal trial has just opened in Madrid.
Murray, who a year ago regularly complained that drug testing was too intrusive and early morning knocks on the door compromised players’ privacy, continued: “I don’t know exactly who puts what into the drug-testing. This is where we have the problem with the ATP and the ITF.
“The players have been complaining about the prize money in the grand slams [where recent rises have been significant] and whoever is putting that money in, if it means taking some of the money off the players’ earnings, that’s what we have to do.
“A lot has been learnt from the Lance Armstrong situation. You don’t want that happening ever again. I don’t want that happening for my sport. That would be terrible.
“Personally, I wouldn’t say I’ve been tested less. I would just say there needs to be more blood testing. Last year I got tested a lot, especially from the French Open right through to the Olympics.”
©Daily Tennis News Wire