WADA chief backs ITF anti-doping programme

"We actually know the tennis doping programme extremely well and it is very well run by their senior doping manager," said WADA President Craig Reedie.

CraigReedie - cropped

WADA President Craig Reedie backed the anti-doping programme of ITF.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Craig Reedie believes the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) anti-doping programme is "sound", but suggested they will conduct a review of protocols following Maria Sharapova's failed drugs test at the Australian Open.

The former world number one revealed on Monday she had tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium at the first grand slam of 2016.

WADA added Meldonium to the list of prohibited substances on January 1, a fact Sharapova claimed to be unaware of despite taking Meldonium for 10 years due to health reasons.

The Russian has been handed a provisional ban from March 12 by the ITF, and, while the WADA chief backed the anti-doping programme of tennis' governing body, he suggested improvements could always be looked into.

"We actually know the tennis doping programme extremely well and it is very well run by their senior doping manager," Reedie told Omnisport.

"I think he would have been pretty happy about 18 months ago when some of the best players in the world said: 'Look, it could be better if we were tested more' - the Federers and the Murrays of this world. So I think they have a rigorous programme.

"One of the issues with tennis is to decide when you're in competition and out of competition. Racquet sports are different [to athletics], but I think their programme is sound.

"And after what has happened over the last 48 hours, I am absolutely certain that the ITF will be looking at the programme and working out if there is anything they can do to make that better."

Dick Pound, chair of the WADA independent commission, felt Sharapova handled the situation well and is interested to see what the severity of her punishment will be.

"She's pretty media savvy, she's had a lot of experience being interviewed and having made that decision, I think she's played it as well as she can," he told Omnisport.

"But she has acknowledged that she doped. She has acknowledged it was a mistake and now she's hoping the sanction will be as low as possible.

"So the issue of whether she's guilty or not is settled. The only remaining question is what's the sanction?

"Ignorance doesn't matter. Once it's on the list, you're responsible for compliance."