The ITF Reacts With Caution To Russian Doping Ban - UBITENNIS
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The ITF Reacts With Caution To Russian Doping Ban

Ubitennis contacted a member of the governing body following the decision to suspend the nation from all major sporting events.

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The International Tennis Federation has said it will wait until an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from Russia is made before pondering any potential implications it may have on tennis.

 

On Monday the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) slammed the country with a four-year ban from hosting or attending ‘major sporting events.’ Including the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup. Russia was issued with the penalty for continuous breaches of anti-doping rules. The most recent being evidence that they deliberately tampered with laboratory data by planting fake evidence to cover up failed drugs tests.

The decision to ban Russia was unanimously made, according to a spokesman from WADA. In 2015 an extensive report revealed a state-sponsored doping programme on a mass scale. Resulting in Russia being suspended from international athletics events, including the 2016 Olympics, but they were still allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada’s reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered.” WADA chief Sir Craig Reedie said.
“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

Following the announcement, Ubitennis contacted the ITF to establish their stance on the decision. The governing body is recognised by WADA. Heather Bowler, who is the ITF’s executive director of communications, points out that throughout the investigation, none of the doping violations have been linked to tennis.

“According to the WADA decision issued earlier today (Monday), Russian athletes will only be eligible to compete in major competitions subject to satisfying certain conditions listed by the WADA Compliance Review Committee.“ Bowler said in a statement.
“The ITF is not currently aware of any Russian tennis player having been mentioned in incriminating circumstances in the McLaren Report (2016) nor has any evidence been provided to the ITF at this time in relation to the manipulation, alteration or deletion of anti-doping data in the Moscow anti-doping laboratory’s database.” She added.

Unless there is a successful appeal made, Russian tennis players will only be allowed to participate in the upcoming Olympics under a neutral status. Meaning they are not allowed to fly their own flag. Furthermore if somebody such as Daniil Medvedev wins a gold medal, the Russian national anthem will not be played during the medal ceremony.

Bowler states that all Russian players have been tested under the sport’s own anti-doping controls and not just that of the controversial RUSDA. Indicating that it is unlikely that they will be banned from ITF events such as the Davis Cup unless a new significant discovery arises. The WADA’s definition of a ‘major sporting event’ is confusing at best. They are still allowed to host football matches during the 2020 European Championships because Uefa isn’t classed as a ‘major event organisation.’

“Tennis has a zero tolerance anti-doping policy. All players competing at Grand Slams and ITF, WTA and ATP sanctioned events are subject to the WADA-compliant Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP); a comprehensive programme which includes athlete biological passports, in-competition and out-of-competition testing and the year-round whereabouts programme. Russian players will have been tested under the TADP, outside of Russia.” Bowler outlines.
“WADA’s decision is subject to appeal by RUSADA. For that reason, we will not comment further until that process has reached its final conclusion and we have had the opportunity to review its outcome.”

Kafelnikov – ‘There was a doping system’

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Following the verdict, former world No.1 and 2000 Olympic champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov spoke out. The 45-year-old is now the deputy head of the Russian Tennis Federation. Talking with national media, he blamed those directly involved in the doping programme for not admitting their guilt. Saying that it has resulted in athletes getting unfairly punished. Whilst some officials have doubted the allegation of a state doping system, Kafelnikov has stated the opposite.

“There was a doping system in Russia, I have no doubt about it. Someone must be punished for this.” sport-express.ru quoted him as saying.
“Russian sports could have a reputation if those people, a group of people who started all this, just went out and said: “Yes, I’ve messed up, please forgive me.” I am sure that then in this case there could be some relief for Russian athletes. But no one wants to take responsibility for this. As a result, everything is shifted to poor athletes.”

As for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Kafelnikov has urged his fellow compatriot to still attend the event under a neutral flag if the appeal fails. Saying the event is a priority for ‘every self-respecting athlete.’ During his career, he only participated in the four-year sporting event once.

“If I faced such a dilemma: to go to the Olympics under a neutral flag or to refuse to play for the national team, I would go under a neutral flag,” said Kafelnikov.
“For any self-respecting athlete, the Olympic Games are a priority.”

As of this week, there are 11 Russian tennis players in the top 100. Three on the men’s tour and eight of the women.

Davis Cup

Spain to face Russia and Ecuador in Davis Cup Finals next November

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The draw of the 2020 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid took place at the ITF offices in London on 12th March. The Davis Cup Finals will begin in Madrid on 23rd November 2020.

 

Defending champions Spain has been drawn in the Group A against Russia and Ecuador. Last year Rafael Nadal guided the Spanish team to the triumph in the final against Canada at the Caja Magica.

This year’s ATP Cup champions Serbia will face Germany and Austria in a Group A, which features three top 10 players Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic beat Thiem in this year’s final of the Australian Open.

In the Group E the USA will take on Italy in a re-match of last year’s late round-robin match. These two teams were drawn against Colombia.Last year’s finalists Canada will meet Sweden and Kazakhstan.

Three former Davis Cup champions France, Great Britain and Czech Republic have been drawn in Group C.

 

Croatia will clash against Australia and Hungary in Group D.

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Davis Cup

John Millman Praises ‘Special’ Atmosphere After Australia’s Davis Cup Triumph

John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide after their 3-1 win over Brazil.

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John Millman and Lleyton Hewitt (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide this weekend after Australia booked their spot in the Davis Cup Finals. 

 

As Australia headed into the second day with a 2-0 advantage, many people expected a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts but that turned out not to be the case.

Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligini Rodrigues Alves gave Brazil hope after an epic 2 hour and 54 minute win over James Duckworth and John Peers.

A 5-7 7-5 7-6(6) victory for the Brazilians saw the tie taken into a fourth rubber as John Millman knew he had to step up to seal victory for the Aussies.

Another sensational match as Millman battled past Thiago Monteiro 6-7(6) 7-6(3) 7-6(3) to secure a thrilling win and Australia’s place in November’s Davis Cup Finals.

After sealing the win, Millman praised the special atmosphere in Adelaide over the two days, “To have an experience like this, that’s better than just about any experience I’ve had,” Millman told Tennis Australia.

“It was something pretty special this weekend. I enjoyed every second of it. It was so much fun. It was an emotional rollercoaster and we’re so happy to get through. To do it with these boys, it’s been a really special week.”

As for captain Lleyton Hewitt, this win typified what he loves about the home and away format that the Davis Cup Qualifiers shows, “There were ebbs and flows in all the matches. It could have gone either way,” Hewitt said.

“That is what Davis Cup is about and that’s why I love the home and away format. To have the atmosphere and the crowd involvement, it was a lot of fun for us to be out there.

“For these guys to play in front of their home fans again, they don’t get to do it throughout the year that often. I’m just thrilled for them that they get to enjoy it and be part of it. It is something really special.”

Next for Hewitt and his Australian team will be the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, where they will join last year’s semi-finalists Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia as well as wildcards Serbia and France.

Also qualifying for November’s showpiece were Ecuador and Kazakhstan after their respective wins over Japan and the Netherlands.

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Davis Cup

Kei Nishikori Out Of Davis Cup In Latest Blow To Japan

More bad news for fans of the injury-stricken player.

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Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has hinted that he may not be able to return to the tour until the clay season after withdrawing from his country’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against Ecuador.

 

Nishikori, who is currently ranked 31st in the world, had been in Miki training ahead of his country’s clash in the team competition. Raising hopes that he will be making a return this weekend. However, he has now confirmed that he is not fully at the level he needs to be to play. The 30-year-old hasn’t played a competitive match since September after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.

“Physically I’m not at my max.” AFP news quoted Nishikori as saying on Thursday.
“I want to return to competition after I improve my strength and become fully confident.
“It might be after Miami or during the clay season,” he added.

Japan will now enter their tie without their two top ranked players on the tour. Another notable absentee is world No.48 Yoshihito Nishioka, who has pulled out of the competition over coronavirus concerns. Yesterday the country recorded it’s 1000th infection of the illness, which is also known as Covid-19. The outbreak has affected many public events in Japan, but officials are confident that this year’s Olympic Games will go ahead as planned.

As a result of the outbreak, the Davis Cup clash will take place behind closed doors. The decision was jointly made between the ITF, Japanese Tennis Association and the country’s government. Baseball matches in the country have also been played without a crowd and the football J-League has been postponed.

“I am grateful just to be held while many sports are being cancelled.” Yasutaka Uchiyama told reporters.
“I want to get results firmly for the fans who support me in front of the TV. ”

Uchiyama and Go Soeda will be the two players who are playing singles in the tie against Ecuador instead of Nishikori and Nishioka.

Another Davis Cup tie affected by the Coronavirus is Italy’s home tie with South Korea. The government announced on Wednesday that all sporting fixtures will be played behind closed doors until April 3rd. Italy is the worst affected country in Europe with more than 3000 cases.

During a recent interview with Ubitennis, the ITF has said that are monitoring the threat posed by Covid-19 to their tournaments on a ‘case by case’ basis and are liaising with the relevant authorities. The ITF is the body which runs the Davis Cup.

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