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Novak Djokovic fumes over request to undergo doping test prior to Davis Cup tie

Published at :November 26, 2023 at 12:57 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 01:16 AM
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(Courtesy : Hindustan Times)

Ajay Gandhar

Serbia finished their campaign after losing to Italy in the semis.

In a recent turn of events, tennis star Novak Djokovic found himself at the center of controversy. The Serbian player expressed his displeasure at being asked to undergo a doping test just 90 minutes before his Davis Cup match against Britain’s Cameron Norrie.

Despite the distraction, Djokovic managed to defeat Norrie 6-4, 6-4 in quarterfinals clash. However, he didn’t shy away from expressing his frustration, stating that he was willing to be tested “a hundred times”, but preferred it to be after the match.

“They made a decision I never expected. In over 20 years, never before an hour and a half pre-match had I faced a sudden doping control,” he expressed to AFP.

Adding to the issue, Djokovic had previously accused British fans of intentionally disrupting his rhythm during the quarterfinal tie. He claimed their behavior was disrespectful and had a negative impact on his performance.

“That’s disrespect but that’s something you have to be prepared for in a Davis Cup,” he had said after the tie. “I mean, they can do whatever they want but I’m going to respond to that. They were trying to annoy me the entire match, so yeah, we had a little bit of a chat in the end.”

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), however, defended the timing of the test. They clarified that Djokovic was not singled out as subject to testing as per regular protocol.

According to the International Tennis Integrity Agency’s (ITIA) website, there are no specific rules stating that doping controls must occur only after a match. The testing procedure, as outlined on the site, emphasizes that athletes can be tested at any time and any place.

This includes during competitions, at training venues, or even at an athlete’s home. The flexibility of this policy ensures that testing can be conducted in a variety of contexts, reinforcing the commitment to maintaining integrity in the sport.

Novak Djokovic who recently surpassed Nenad Zimonjic to register the most number of wins for Serbia in Davis Cup couldn’t replicate his form against Italy in the semifinals as he lost to Jannik Sinner in a crucial singles encounter. Later, he combined with Kecmanovic in the deciding encounter but couldn’t produce a positive result thereby losing the tie (1-2).

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