Players Oppose Drug Tests


Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati lodged objections Tuesday to the WTA's proposal to begin out-of-competition drug testing.

The organization has not conducted such tests yet, a fact that became public this week, but the tour's general counsel said it hoped to test in 2003. Track and field stars and other high-profile Olympic athletes regularly submit to random, out-of-competition drug tests, given with no warning.

Williams and Capriati, however, objected to the element of surprise and cited privacy issues.

"I just don't think they have any right to kind of see what's going on inside your body, whatever, even if you're not doing anything," Capriati said. "It's just I've never heard of anything to be concerned about anyway, if anyone for steroids [is] getting tested for that or getting caught with that. I don't really see what the point would be."

Capriati was asked if she thought anyone used steroids in the sport. She said no, then was reminded that three players on the ATP tour have received varying suspensions after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs since 1999.

"Well, the guys is another story," she said.

In 1997, Samantha Reeves tested positive after taking an over-the-counter dietary supplement containing nandrolone, a banned substance.

Williams said she had a problem with the concept of an unannounced drug tester showing up on her doorstep.

"I don't think that would be a good idea," she said. "I think there has to be at least a notice, normally. I wouldn't let anyone in my house if I'm not expecting them. Showing up at the door, you kidding?"

In fact, Williams said, an employee of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency showed up at her home shortly before Wimbledon. That agency tests U.S. athletes eligible for Olympic competition and those tests are unrelated to what the WTA plans.

"Someone tried to get in the development, doing a drug test," Williams said. "If I wasn't tested in the next two hours, I wouldn't be playing on tour. You know, there's always someone at the gates, trying to get in. Normally, I tell the gate, 'Tell them Venus moved to Siberia some months ago.' "

Rich Wanninger, the USADA's director of communications, said that Williams had been scheduled for an out-of-competition drug test before Wimbledon but the test was not carried out. Williams is in the player pool to be tested, as are Capriati and about three dozen other American tennis players, he said. Pam Shriver, former tour player who now is a television commentator, supported the idea of out-of-competition testing. She acknowledged there have been more questions raised about the sport since female players have been getting bigger and stronger.

"On the world stage, this is a huge issue," Shriver said. "You have to go as far as you can go to erase the doubts. Let's get rid of the doubts."



Wimbledon Glance

Attendance: 34,448. Last year on Day 8, 38,375.

Seeded winners, men: None.

Seeded winners, women: No. 1 Venus Williams over Elena Likhotvseva, No. 3 Jennifer Capriati over Eleni Daniilidou, No. 6 Justine Henin over No. 4 Monica Seles

Seeded losers, men: None.

Seeded losers, women: No. 4 Monica Seles, to No. 6 Justine Henin.

Quote of the Day: "I used to always do a lot of fist pumps and things like that. It's not that it's not as exciting now, it's now I expect myself to be almost perfect."--Venus Williams.

Today's featured matches: Women--Amelie Mauresmo (9), France, vs. Jennifer Capriati (3); Daniela Hantuchova (11), Slovekia, vs. Serena Williams (2). Men--Lleyton Hewitt (1), Australia, vs. Sjeng Schalken (18), Netherlands; Tim Henman (4), Britain, vs. Andre Sa, Brazil; Mark Philippoussis, Australia, vs. Richard Krajicek, Netherlands, comp. of susp. match.

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