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

Russia And Canada Complete ATP Cup Semi-Final Line-Up

Russia and Canada will meet in the ATP Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

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Daniil Medvedev (@TENNIS - Twitter)

Russia and Canada booked their spots in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup on Thursday.

 

Russia completed their group stage campaign with a 2-1 victory over Italy in Group B.

The match was a winners take all clash with the Italians making the perfect start as Jannik Sinner defeated Roman Safiullin 7-6(8) 6-3.

However world number two Daniil Medvedev levelled the tie in a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.

Medvedev needed 2 hours and 40 minutes to edge out Berrettini 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 to put Russia level with Italy.

Then all four singles players returned for the doubles which the Russians won 5-7 6-4 10-5 in a tense contest.

This saw Russia book a place in the last four and after the match Medvedev spoke about the importance of his win over Berrettini, “The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev told the ATP Cup website.

“I made some bad decisions in the second set so I tried to learn from that in the third. I served well throughout the match and that helped me.”

Russia will now face Canada in the last four on Saturday after Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both secured singles wins over Germany.

Shapovalov edged out Struff in three sets to give Canada the lead and then Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a huge victory over Olympic champion Alexander Zverev 6-4 4-6 6-3.

This meant that Canada denied Great Britain a place in the semis after the Brits beat USA 2-1 earlier in the day. The other result saw Australia beat France 2-1.

Russia and Canada will meet in Sydney on Saturday while tomorrow Poland will face Spain.

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Davis Cup

Canada gets first win at ATP Cup after comeback victory over Great Britain

Felix Auger-Aliassime inspired Canada to victory against Great Britain at the ATP Cup.

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(@DerechayReves - Twitter)

Team Canada got its first win of the tournament when they beat Team Great Britain 2-1 and it all came down to the doubles match.

 

Evans eases by Shapovalov

Dan Evans got the first point of the tie as he had no issues getting by Denis Shapovalov beating him in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes serving four aces and winning 88% of his first-serve points.

The first six games of the opening set stayed on serve and it was the Brit who earned the first breakpoint of the match and broke the Canadian and that one break of serve proved crucial as he took the first set,

Evans carried the momentum into the second set and it looked like the Canadian was still easing his way into his game and he broke him early in the set to take an early 2-1 lead.

Again that one break of serve was all the Brit needed to serve out the set and the match and give the first point to Team Great Britan.

Auger Aliassime responds for Canada

Felix Auger Aliassime responded for Canada beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-3 in two hours serving eight aces, and winning 85% of his points on his first serve.

The first set was a battle as these two players know each other well and the last time they met was a three-set marathon match in Vienna with the Canadian getting the win.

The Montreal native got the first chance to break at 4-3 and took it for a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the first set. When serving for it the Canadian got tight and Norrie made him pay by breaking him right back.

The first set was decided by a tiebreaker and the world number 11 won the first six points of the breaker and took the first set.

Winning the first set gave the Canadian the momentum he needed and he broke the Britt early in the second set in the second game and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match.

This meant the doubles match was going to decide the winner of the tie.

Canada wins deciding doubles

With the tie level at 1-1, the winner was decided by the third and final doubles match and it was Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov beating the British duo of Jamie Murray and Joe Salsbury.

A 6-4, 6-1 win in one hour and 10 minutes with the Canadians serving seven aces and winning 83% of their points off the first served ensured that all teams in the group now have a record of 1-1.

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Davis Cup

Davis Cup Champions Russia Banned From Hosting Ties In 2022

The newly crowned champions will not be allowed the opportunity to potentially play some of their matches next year at home due to a ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

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MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 05: Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2021 at Madrid Arena on December 05, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

The bidding process for host cities of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will get underway in the coming weeks but Russia will not be allowed to take part.

 

Last week Daniil Medvedev led his country to victory over Croatia in the final to give Russia, who were playing under the name of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), only their third title in the prestigious team event which was founded back in 1900. In this year’s finals, they also beat Germany, Sweden, Ecuador and Spain en route to the title.

Next year’s tournament is once again set to be a first in the Davis Cup history after organisers confirmed that the finals will be staged across a total of five cities. During a recent press conference, the International Tennis Federation and investment company Kosmos say they plan to stage each of the four groups in separate cities and a fifth city hosting the knockout stages. The name of those hosts has not been announced but it is widely speculated that the Middle East may hold the knockout stages. The number of teams in the finals will be cut from 18 to 16.

However, Russia will not be allowed to stage a tie in 2022 but will be free to do so from the following year. This is because the country is currently banned from international competition for doping violations. An extensive investigation discovered multiple incidents of illegal doping practices by Russian officials at various Olympic Games but tennis have never been implicated in the scandal. As a result the World Anti-Doping Agency, which the International Tennis Federation is a member of, handed Russia a ban. This is why Medvedev and his team played under their federation name and not their country.

The ITF has confirmed to UbiTennis that the ban is in force until December 16th 2022 which is after the 2022 Finals.

“The ban remains in place for two years and that includes Russia hosting any WADA listed world competitions or world cup tournaments/competition events, and when competing outside of Russia the use of their national name, insignia, emblems and anthem are banned throughout this same period,” an ITF spokesperson told UbiTennis.

Kosmos, who are the main financial driving force behind the Davis Cup, had previously said they hope to select cities on a contract basis lasting ‘three to five years.’ However, they also want to maintain that every host city belongs to a country playing in the Finals which complicates matters somewhat. It is possible that Italy could be selected as a host for a three-year period but if they fail to qualify in one of those years, they may lose their hosting rights.

“It can happen that you have an agreement with a city or country, then the home team is not classified (qualified). That’s why we need to have multi-agreements, plus backup options, for fixing the possibility of not being classified,” Kosmos president Enrique Rojas recently told reporters.

The process for selecting the host cities will begin in January with interested candidates having six weeks to present their proposals. A final decision is then expected to be made round mid-Match.

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