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November 10, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

WTA to push for changes in dope rule

THE governing body of women's tennis would like to see the World Anti-Doping Agency revise its 'whereabouts rule' to give players more flexibility when they are competing.

Last week, Belgian players Yanina Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse were both handed one-year suspensions for failing to notify their national doping agency where they could be reached, under a ruling the WTA believes is a little too stringent.

"Basically each quarter, they (the players) go in to the computer system and have to give at least one hour a day where they're going to be," WTA Tour chairman Stacey Allaster said.

"There's no doubt that this anti-doping program is rigorous and I think everyone in sport who is part of the WADA code are all united that we want to have a clean sport.

"This rigorous testing for out of competition, which is really what the whereabouts rule is about, is meant to ensure the integrity of the testing system and the integrity of the sport.

"But I think together with the (men's tour) ATP, we do believe that the procedures for reporting during competition could be modified. I think when the athletes are in competition it's easy for WADA to see where the athletes are."

Allastar sympathizes with players at an event who find it difficult to inform authorities where they are going to be on a daily basis.

"If I'm at a tournament I don't know when my match is, I don't know when I'm practising. That does become challenging for the athletes in competition," she added.

"So together with the ATP we have been advocating through the International Tennis Federation, to WADA, to make procedural changes to the reporting structure of the whereabouts programme in competition."


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