Novak Djokovic fumes over behaviour of anti-doping agent – ‘He followed me for hours. It was outrageous’
Novak Djokovic was left unimpressed by a late request for a pre-match drugs test ahead of Serbia’s Davis Cup clash against Great Britain earlier this week while he also accused the doping agent of overstepping “certain limits”.
The 24-time Grand Slam winner took on Cameron Norrie in the second rubber of Serbia’s quarter-final clash on Thursday evening, but there was a late request for a doping test with the announcement coming only 30 minutes before the match was due to get underway at the Martin Carpena Arena in Malaga.
Djokovic refused to provide a sample as he felt it would have disrupted his usual routine ahead of a match, insisting that he was more than happy to oblige after the encounter.
“It’s the first time it’s happened to me. It doesn’t make sense to do it when I’ll be there after the match,” he is quoted as saying by Tennis Majors.
“They gave me an hour and a half’s notice. I have my pre-match routines and I don’t have to think at that point about donating blood or urine.”
The world No 1, who defeated Norrie in straight sets to help Serbia to set up a semi-final clash against Italy, was also far from happy with the conduct of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s official as he was “followed around” by the agent.
The Serbian added: “I argued with him because that hasn’t happened to me in my 20-year career. He sat in a corner and followed me for hours. It was outrageous. I’ve always defended controls, but not before matches.
“There’s nothing to hide, but there have to be certain limits.”
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) insisted it was normal protocol for players to be tested before matches.
A spokesperson told the AFP news agency: “Due to the format of team competitions, including the Davis Cup, teams may be notified that they have been selected for testing before matches begin and then provide samples when they are ready.
“Between notification and providing the sample, they are chaperoned by a member of the anti-doping team.”
The International Tennis Federation also revealed that they held meetings with the eight Davis Cup captains ahead of the start of the quarter-final matches to inform them that World Anti-Doping Agency staff will conduct doping tests before and after matches during the event in Spain.
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