Andy Murray wants wider testing regime with tougher drugs penalties – and no reprieves

British No 1 calls for tougher measures to stop steroids use after getting tested just three times in two years

Paris

The drug testers came calling on Andy Murray here on Saturday night before the start of this week's Paris Masters – and the 25-year-old Scot was very happy to see them. Murray believes that tennis needs to do more out-of-competition drug testing and would like to see sanctions against players who fail tests applied more stringently.

While tennis is not believed to have a major drugs problem, critics believe that not enough testing is done, particularly out of competition. Most tests are carried out by the International Tennis Federation, though the World Anti-Doping Agency and UK Anti-Doping also test players.

Most tests are carried out during tournaments and most are urine tests, which are not considered as effective as blood tests. Last year only 21 players worldwide – 18 men and three women – were blood-tested out of competition by the ITF and Wada. Murray had a maximum of three in 2011 and none at all in 2010.

"I think the out-of-competition stuff could probably get better," Murray said. "When we're in December, when people are training and setting their bases, I think it would be good to try and do more.

"I would be completely open to anyone to come and watch what I do in December and see the stuff I do, how I recover, how I wake up some mornings. Sometimes guys are good at putting a brave face on after playing a five-hour match and getting up the next day, struggling to walk, all those things. People can come and watch the training that we do. But I don't think people look at tennis players in the same way that they would at the cyclists because this sport hasn't had the problems they've had."

Drug testing in France across all sports has become more thorough in recent years, particularly after all the controversies surrounding the Tour de France, and Murray was not surprised to be tested here. "In France they are pretty strict – pretty much every tournament I've played in France they've done drug testing," he said. "But the fact that it was blood and out of competition is a bit different to what we're used to."

There have been around 60 drugs cases since tennis started testing 22 years ago. Murray admitted that "you never know in any sport what's really going on", but said he did not believe tennis had a problem like cycling, which he described as a "purely physical" sport.

"I think there's very little skill involved in the Tour de France," Murray said. "It's pretty much just physical. A lot of the way the teams work now is just science, the power, however many watts you're producing, they know all of it based on how much the heart rates, all those things. Whereas with tennis, you can't teach the skill by taking a drug."

However, Murray believes that more testing could be done at the lower levels of tennis, pointing out that only the top 50 players have to complete "whereabouts" forms, specifying where they will be available to be tested every day of the year. "It doesn't necessarily always make sense just to test the guys that are at the top," Murray said. "You need to do it throughout the whole sport."

Murray said it had been wrong that some players had had drugs suspensions reduced. He pointed to the case of the American Wayne Odesnik, who was initially banned for two years for taking human growth hormone into Australia but had the sanction cut after he co-operated with the authorities.

"If people fail the tests, don't let them off and don't say, 'OK, it's going to go from two years to six months', because that's not how it should work," Murray said. "If we're going through this process, which, yes, can at times be a bit frustrating even if it is necessary, when somebody fails a test, don't just let them back into the sport 18 months earlier than they should be.

"That's what was frustrating for me about it because we're going through all of this and they're being too lenient with guys that are travelling with human growth hormone to other countries. It's ridiculous.

Murray has a bye in the first round here and will play his first match tomorrow against the winner of today's meeting between France's Paul-Henri Mathieu and Roberto Bautista-Agut, of Spain. With a good run here and in next week's Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 in London the Scot could finish the year as the world No 2.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that Novak Djokovic is certain to end the year as world No 1 following Roger Federer's withdrawal from this week's tournament in order to rest before London. Djokovic, who lost the top spot to Federer after Wimbledon, will be the first player to top the year-end rankings in consecutive seasons since the Swiss achieved four consecutive No 1 finishes from 2004 to 2007.

Court out: drug tests in tennis

Martina Hingis (Swit) Tested for cocaine at Wimbledon in 2007. Banned for two years and had appeal rejected. Subsequently retired from top-level competition.

Filippo Volandri (It) Banned for three months after failing test for salbutamol in 2008, but reinstated after Court of Arbitration for Sport lifted his suspension on appeal.

Wayne Odesnik (US) Given partly retrospective two-year ban after importing human growth hormone into Australia in 2010. Ban eventually halved but he actually served only seven months of the suspension.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?