ITF ready to defend itself in court

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The Independent Online
The International Tennis Federation said yesterday it would vigorously defend itself against court action by Mats Wilander and Karol Novacek, who are accusing the organisation of a drugs allegation smear.

Lawyers for the two players have served a writ on the ITF in London, saying Wilander and Novacek have not been given a fair chance to defend themselves over allegations they tested positive for cocaine at last year's French Open. Both players deny the allegations.

Deborah Jevans, the ITF secretary general, has said since the allegations were made on Sunday that she would not comment on details of the case or on the players' statement.

"What I will say is that the writ has been served," she said. "We have to wait until there is a hearing in court and then we will vigorously defend the reputation of our drug-testing programme. The ITF do not determine the basis of the [players'] claim which would appear, on the face of it, to attack the whole of the anti-doping programme."