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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Serena Williams Says She is Drug-Tested More Than Other Athletes

Serena Williams

Nationwide — Sports news and blog website Deadspin recently revealed in an article that professional tennis player Serena Williams has been tested more than twice compared to other top American women tennis players. Williams couldn’t help but to think about why that has happened.

“I never knew that I was tested so much more than everyone else,” Williams said about the Deadspin article during a press conference for her Wimbledon tournament in London. “Until I read that articl,e I didn’t realize it was such a discrepancy with me as well as against the other players that they listed, at least the American players – both male and female.”

According to the article posted at Deadspin last week, the seven-time Wimbledon champion has been tested five times this year alone. That is more than double the number of tests done to other top American women’s tennis players wherein some were tested twice and others not even tested yet.

“It would be impossible for me to not feel some kind of way about that,” said the 36-year-old tennis player. “I just found it quite interesting.”

The Deadspin article also stated the controversy wherein Williams received a “missed test” rating just because the doping control officer showed up 12 hours earlier than they had agreed upon and she wasn’t able to get to the meeting that time. Williams said it was “a little frustrating.”

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency guideline states that athletes will receive a doping rule violation when they get three “missed test” designations. In line with that, they require athletes to let them know of their whereabouts within one hour before the scheduled testing. If they’re not available within that one-hour window, they will receive a “missed test.” But if the tester showed up unannounced and the athlete is not available, they will not be given a “missed test” designation.

“How is it I’m getting tested five times? I’m OK with that. Literally verbatim I said: ‘I’m going with that, as long as everyone is being treated equally. That’s all I care about,'” she added.

“Tennis has given me so much. It’s such an amazing sport. I feel like equality, that’s all I’ve been preaching, it’s all about equality,” Williams continued. “If that’s testing everyone five times, let’s do it. Let’s be a part of it. It’s just about being equal and not centering one person out. Just due to the numbers, it looks like I’m being pushed out. Just test everyone equally.”

A spokeswoman for Williams told Deadspin that the testing was “invasive and targeted.”

“Over her 23-year career in tennis, Serena Williams has never tested positive for any illegal substance despite being tested significantly more than other professional tennis players, both male and female – in fact, four times more frequently than her peers,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency “may target test athletes as USADA deems appropriate,” spokesman Brad Horn told Deadspin, noting that the testing is not unfair. “We test only in accordance with international standards and would never conduct testing in an unfair way. We are always available to discuss this with athletes, if they have concerns.”