Serious Consequences for Tennis Players Doping

Felipe Hernandez Martinez, Discoverer Staff Writer

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Every year new athletes are discovered on doping and every year, new mechanisms for doping are implemented. Sports nowadays have become so competitive that sometimes athletes feel the temptation to use illegal alternatives to enhance their performance. Illegal substances and mechanical blood enhancement are being used to improve the athlete’s results. Doping in sports is a severe misconduct and should have strong punishments such as the removal from the sport of high economical fines.

In many cases the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), has been very lenient with athletes that have cheated in their different disciplines. In 2013, Viktor Troicki, a Serbian tennis player got a 18 month ban for not submitting blood samples, later on the CAS reduced this to a 12 month ban. That same year, Marin Cilic, a Croatian tennis player used a forbidden stimulant and got a 9 month suspension, that ban was reduced to 4 months thanks to the CAS.

Sports move billions of dollars every year and especially these stars that make huge brand deals with big sponsors, help sell match entries and many other things. As these athletes who cheat to enhance their performance and improve their results move millions of dollars, the CAS is very lenient with them and reduces their bans in order for them to be able to compete again and continue generating money for the businessman behind sports. This all comes down to the fact that sports have become no more than a business.

Sometimes the punishments for athletes for committing these dishonest faults are not as strong as they should be. In January, 2016, Maria Sharapova, a famous Russian tennis player failed her drug test just before the Australian Open. In the drug test it was reported that she had Meldonium in her blood, which was one of the substances of the forbidden list of substances for the ITF Tour. Because of this, she was sanctioned with 18 moths out of any professional competitions in the WTA Tour.

Even though Sharapova claimed she took this drug only for health issues, it was still a huge mistake. Meldonium is a vasodilatator that improves the blood flow and oxidation, apart from this it improves the myocardium metabolism to turn it to a more effective glucose metabolism. This substance immensely affects the performance on court and because of this its considered a serious offence to consume this. Even though it was a terrible offense to the sport from Sharapova`s part, her punishment was ridiculously insignificant.

Going back to Sharapova`s case, it could be said that sometimes athletes fail drug tests for medical errors or unintentional doping and should not be banned for life from professional competition. Still, not knowing a law doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The forbidden list of substances is public to all athletes and its the athlete’s job to verify that they aren’t taking any substance or drug listed in there. “She is the sole author of her own misfortune,” said Jacob Steinberg, The Guardian Staff Writer. This was a severe misconduct and she should have been removed from the sport forever.

The weakness from the CAS to impose big economical sanctions or expulsions from the sport for the cheater has made them lost credibility. As there are not serious punishments for doping, athletes are continuing to do this and every year new cheating strategies and new individuals are discovered doing this. The solution should be to have strong punishments such as the removal from the sport of high economical fines.