Peering into the Abyss: Tennis, Doping and the Future

TENNIS-GBR-WIMBLEDON

The doubts were flying long before the revelations came forth. Tennis players – long perceived to be free of doping taint – weren’t exactly the exception to the norm of sportsmen using performance enhancers to boost their chances. But were rather cleverer, finding better pathways to hide their reprobation.

The names of the couple of players that have popped in however are merely the tip of the iceberg with the possibility of the issue reaching to farther depths looming quite large. As it so happens, though it has been maintained by the sport’s governing body and players alike that tennis has been by-and-large impervious to the threat of doping, the number of tests carried out to determine the same are quite less. Even the players themselves have admitted to this glaring loophole on quite a few occasions.

While both Cilic and Troicki – the latter still under the umbrella of doubt – have been sanctioned by the ATP, banning them isn’t going to solve the problem entirely. In the larger context, the issue will still persist with players finding out other alternatives to bypass the existing mandatory check-ups. There has to be thus implemented several failsafe mechanisms to effectively resolve the issue not just in the short-term but also keeping in mind the long-term perspective.

The best way to go on about it would be to increase the number of blood and urine tests required to be undertaken by the players and mandating these tests to be held at shorter intervals. Considering that the majority of the current crop of tennis players have been advocating for increase in the number of samples required to be provided by them, the potential viability of enforcing such an increase only stands to be appreciated all the more.

Alternatively, an increase in the mandated tests would also account for greater transparency. Perhaps even reeling in those players who still are anonymous before the world but who are undoubtedly corrupting the ethics of the game. In comparison to some of the other sports where doping has become quite a common occurrence with several star-studded names finding themselves blacklisted, the aura of tennis still remains uncorrupted.

TENNIS-GBR-WIMBLEDON

While even the most objective of fans keep a wary eye out about certain sporting events, tennis continues to hold its pride of place in the fans’ hearts and minds. The news about Cilic and Troicki thus comes as a huge blow. Especially more so coming in the wake of several sprint-runners, including the likes of Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay, admitting to using performance enhancing drugs.

Most individual sports are susceptible to the threat of doping encroaching upon their domain. The level of competency required from the sportsmen becomes a catalyst of sorts baiting them to use these underhanded tactics to propel themselves forward in their respective fields. Over the course of years, in spite of several measures enforced by major sporting authorities, the number of athletes and sportsmen opting for such sneaky routes to achieve their goals has only increased.

Though the shame of being branded a cheat is always a potentiality for such sportsmen in the horizon, the aspect of winning – however unlawfully it may have been achieved – always over-weighs the greater good of sportsmanship and sincerity. Yet another prospect that many sportsmen fail to understand is that hard-work and absolute commitment cannot be replicated by any other means or assistances.

Perhaps that’s why such tainted sportsmen never make it ever to the top of the pile – no matter how successful they may have been while hidden and camouflaged under the influence of drugs and dopes. These are sportsmen who are always brushed aside and cast away forever once their subterfuge is brought to light; never to be named ever again in the most positive of contexts. Or as in the case of Cilic, be always referred to as the guy ‘who could have been but, yet couldn’t be…’

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