ITF 2017 Per Player Testing Statistics (Update)

The official player-by-player testing summary for 2017 has been released: 2017 per player testing summary

Here’s a summary of who was tested 7+ times both in and out of competition: 2017 per player testing summary, 7+ tests

As already known, the number of IC tests far outweighs the number of OOC tests (see here).

Some notable points:

  1. Novak Djokovic has been tested 4-6 times IC and 7+ times OOC despite missing large parts of the 2017 season.
  2. Serena Williams has been tested 1-3 times both IC and OOC despite only playing two tournaments and one exhibition match.
  3. There are some odd cases where players were tested 7+ times either exclusively IC or exclusively OOC.

This gives rise to further questions:

  1. What’s the criteria upon which increased testing of a given player is based? Is it merely based on the number of matches played or are other factors taken into consideration as well (e.g. oddities shown in urine tests or the Athlete Biological Passport)? (see the points 1 and 2 above and players such as Errani or Ferrer)
  2. What’s the criteria upon which the decision to test a given player more frequently either IC or OOC is based? (see point 3 above and a player such as Sharapova)
  3. If we’d know the then-current minimum testing rates for EPO and HGH as imposed by the WADA and also know that the TADP at least confirms to those, we could roughly estimate how often a given player may have been tested for those substances in 2017 (given that we also know the share of blood tests in the overall sample quantity).

I’ve contacted the WADA about the third question and will contact the ITF about the first two questions. I’ll keep you updated about any findings.

Update 05/03/2018: Two weeks have passed since I contacted the WADA and I’ve yet to receive an answer. The ITF replied almost immediately with their usual ‘confidential’ line. Apparently everything that isn’t already publicised on the TADP site is deemed confidential by the ITF. You’d only want to keep those details away from the public if it’d make the ITF appear in a bad light.


ITF 2017 Anti-Doping Statistics

The official TADP (Tennis Anti-Doping Programme) testing summary for 2017 has now been released. The per-player statistics are either still pending or no longer (publically) released.

These numbers include all players who hold an ATP or WTA ranking, or who enter or compete in events organised, sanctioned or recognised by the ITF. This includes Grand Slam tournaments, Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties, Olympic and Paralympic Tennis Events, ATP and WTA tournaments, ATP Challenger Tour tournaments, ITF Pro Circuit tournaments, ITF Junior events, ITF Seniors events, ITF Wheelchair events and ITF Beach Tennis Tour events. A total of 255 players are part of the testing pool for out-of-competition (OOC) testing. See here for the full list.

The discrepancy between the numbers of samples collected from men and women is mainly accounted for by samples collected from Challenger events, which are for men only. The statistics in the tables below do not include samples collected by National Anti- Doping Organisations (NADOs); ‘ABP’ refers to blood samples collected under the Athlete Biological Passport programme.


2017 Total samples Men Women
IC (urine) 3,081 1,854 1,227
IC (blood) 415 205 210
IC (ABP) 313 158 155
OOC (urine) 841 432 409
OOC (blood) 819 419 400
OOC (ABP) 824 420 404
Totals 6,293 3,488 2,805

If we compare these numbers to the ones from 2016, we see an increase in total number of samples collected by 28,5%. Specific increases can be found for in-competition urine testing (55%), IC ABP testing (86%), OOC urine testing (33%) and OOC ABP testing (24%). The numbers of samples collected specifically for blood testing, however, have gone down by 39% (IC) and 32% (OOC). The total number of blood samples collected (both regular and as part of the ABP) has increased by 72% (IC) and decreased by 12% (OOC).

In summary, the overall numbers have improved compared to 2016 in every possible regard except for out-of-competition blood testing (albeit not significantly). It should be noted, however, that blood testing is widely regarded as the only kind of regular testing by which it is possible to detect more advanced types of PEDs; therefore the increase in urine testing (both IC and OOC) should not be equated with a correspondingly increased effectiveness of the programme. Furthermore, it is up to debate whether blood samples collected as part of the Athlete Biological Programme may have the same merit as regularly collected samples.

The summary also includes a paragraph about TUEs which I’ll quote directly:

A total of 120 applications for a TUE were received under the Programme in 2017. Of these, 64 (53%) were granted, 14 (12%) were denied, and 29 (24%) were for substances and/or routes of administration that were not prohibited.
The remaining 13 (11%) were either cancelled (e.g. for a failure to provide further information on request) or withdrawn by the applicant. The average time from receipt of a fully-completed application to its grant or denial in 2017 was 4.6 days.

Here’s the full report:

TADP 2017 Quarterly Report Q4/17

Australian Open 2018 Discussion Thread

With strange absences, curious comebacks and a 36 year old being favourite for winning the tournament this year’s AO are shaping up to be even more ridiculous than last year’s.

As always, please remember to keep the discussion civil.

For those wondering when meaningful content will be published on this blog: As soon as the data is available, I’ll be doing a blog post about the 2017 ITF doping statistics.

Welcome to Tennis Has A Doping Problem

Since the previous blog got deleted I decided to make a new one. In principal, just like its predecessors this blogs aims to provide both a platform for discussing doping matters in tennis and professional sports in general as well as a platform for collecting knowledge and data on the case against tennis. Unlike the previous one though this blog will be more strictly moderated in order to ensure that discussions are productive rather than destructive (please refer to the ‘about’ section for further details). In spite of that this blog will also be open to contributions by readers. If you happen to have any data or possibly even a piece you want to share please feel free to use the contact form. Upon review sent in contributions will be made public and open for discussion.

If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to comment below.