Put tennis way ahead of baseball when it comes to dealing with performanceenhancing supplements.
Early this week, the APT — the governing body of the men’s international tennis circuit — announced it was forming a task force to help steer players away from the wrong supplements.
APT president Chris Clouser said Wednesday at the Franklin Templeton Classic in Scottsdale that the move was a natural for a sport that has been on the forefront of drug and substance testing. The APT already routinely tests players for performance enhancers. Roger Federer was tested 22 times last year.
"For the last two years, this whole issue of supplements has become a concern to everybody, to players, to the public, to the press," Clouser said. "Then, with the coming of the Olympics, I think really focused attention on supplements and the whole issue of the integrity of sports."
Clouser insisted the APT does not have any steroid issues. He is concerned, though, that players could take something for fatigue or dehydration during a match that could be construed as performance enhancing.
"Part of the role of the APT is to work with the players who deal with the game of tennis with things like heat exhaustion, cramping and other things in 3- and 4- and 5-hour matches," said Clouser.
Clouser said the task force, which includes some active players, will consult doctors, pharmaceutical companies and government regulators.
American Andy Roddick, the No. 1 seed in the Franklin Templeton, said the APT is headed in the right direction on this issue. "The tennis world has the strictest drug testing policy of any sport in the world," Roddick said. "People have gotten banned for taking sleeping pills. I’d say if you compare it to any other sports — we all know what sport we’re thinking of — it far surpasses the majority of sports."
American James Blake celebrated his 24th birthday last month by shearing off his signature dreadlocks. He hopes it will be part of a turnaround after he slumped in the second half of last year.
Blake auctioned his dreadlocks on eBay and raised more than $2,300 for charity in the process.
He did say some of his fans are disappointed the dreadlocks are gone. "People who are pro are being nice to me," Blake said.