Novak Djokovic’s rejection of pre-match doping test before Davis Cup semi-finals prompt calls for suspension

In 2019, tennis was deemed to be a sport riddled with corruption due to the highly frequent cases of match-fixing and doping. Such activities by numerous top players had completely tarnished the reputation of tennis, as it was called the ‘dirtiest sport in the world’. Following such brutal allegations, there was suspicion of every single player and match. 

To tackle this unfortunate image in the sport, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) was formed, which makes sure that top players are tested randomly at any time and any place, at least once a month.

Marc Madiot calls for Novak Djokovic’s suspension

Ahead of the Novak Djokovic clash against Cameron Norrie, the world No. 1 was asked to do a drug test, but he refused. Djokovic later admitted that he refused to get tested because the request came through only 30 minutes before the match was due to get underway and he felt it would disrupt his routine.

However, Marc Madiot, the director of UCI WorldTeam Groupama and a two-time Paris-Roubaix winner, didn’t share the same opinion with Djokovic. Marc said that for Djokovic to take the pre-match test, he should be automatically suspended.

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Speaking on Les Grandes Gueules du Sport on RMC, he said: “There are rules of testing before and after competition. If the anti-doping body is doing its job, Mr Novak Djokovic must be suspended. He refused a test before the match and did it after. In cycling, you are subjected to a test and if you refuse, you are automatically positive. If that is the case, you are sanctioned. You don’t have the right to refuse testing, that’s the rule.”

He added: “In the assortment of doping products there are those that can be detected for a very limited period of time. If you don’t test yourself before the start, during the match, their traces can be erased in the body. That is why testing was introduced before the competition. The fact that he was only warned is unreal.”

In recent years, doping tests have grown from a serious issue to a must for every player and Marc believes that if Djokovic says no to one, other young players will say no on many occasions, which will bring the value of the institution to shreds.

Novak Djokovic angry after doping control request before Davis Cup game

Novak Djokovic joined the Serbian team in Malaga after his illustrious display in Turin that earned his seventh Nitto ATP Finals of his career. The 36-year-old star began the first game at the knockout stage against British Cameron Norrie and he made sure he finely defeated the Brits to make sure Serbia took a place in the semifinals of the Davis Cup.

However, after the game, Novak Djokovic revealed that he was supposed to have a doping test by the Anti-Doping Agency but he objected to taking part in it because it came a few minutes before his game against Cameron Norrie was about to begin.

“It’s the first time it’s happened to me. It makes no sense to do it before when I’m going to be after the match,” Djokovic told reporters. “I was told an hour and a half before the start and I have my pre-match routines and I don’t have to think at that time about giving blood or urine. He has sat in one of the corners and followed me for hours. It’s outrageous. There’s nothing to hide, but there are also some limits”

Although Novak Djokovic revealed that he had a reason for missing the test, critics have launched an attack against him, claiming that he went against the tennis law and that he is supposed to be suspended for his actions.

Do you think Novak Djokovic has taken banned substances? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Victor Okechukwu

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