Málaga (Spain) (AFP) – Novak Djokovic expressed frustration after being requested to undergo a doping test shortly before Serbia’s Davis Cup victory over Great Britain. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) stated Saturday that this was standard practice and not a targeted action against Djokovic.
The 24-time men’s Grand Slam winner revealed his frustration at the timing of the request, which came before the 2-0 win, propelling Serbia into the Davis Cup semi-finals.
Djokovic disclosed that officials requested samples 90 minutes before his straight sets 6-4, 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie.
“I didn’t believe that they could make such a decision, in 20 and more years of my career, it never happened to me that an hour-and-a-half before the match, I needed to go for doping control,” the 36-year-old told Serbian reporters.
“I have my own routine — I don’t need that distraction, to have my urine and blood taken, to think about whether I can give urine at that moment.”
Djokovic stated that he had no issue with being tested “a hundred times” but objected to the timing of the request, just before the match.
However, the ITIA clarified that the entire team was subject to testing and this approach is standard for team tournaments.
“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,” an ITIA spokesman told AFP.
“Between notification and providing the sample, they are chaperoned by a member of the anti-doping team.”
World number one Djokovic had also been in a sour mood after an altercation with British fans during his match against Norrie, instructing them to “shut up” and show “respect” to players after they tried to drown him out with drums during his post-match victory speech.
Serbia is set to face Italy in the Davis Cup semi-finals, with Djokovic scheduled to compete against world number four Jannik Sinner in the second singles rubber.
© 2023 AFP
Jessica Roberts serves up the latest in the world of tennis. With a love for the racket sport, she reports on tennis matches, player rankings, and Grand Slam events, ensuring readers stay informed about the tennis world.