Friday 15 December 2017

Andy Murray says athletes should have to publish TUEs straight away

Andy Murray. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Andy Murray. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Simon Briggs

Professional athletes should be required to publish their Therapeutic Use Exemptions as soon as they are granted, according to Andy Murray, who also told Telegraph Sport that “I have never used a TUE in my life.”

Murray has long taken a hardline stance on doping issues, as we saw when he supported Maria Sharapova’s original two-year ban in March, and he has taken a close interest in the recent controversies over TUEs.

Asked if he had followed the debate over Team Sky and their use of TUEs, Murray replied “I’ve seen quite a lot of it. I don’t think every TUE is bad, but there are TUEs that are abused, for sure. And I do think that now is the time when all TUEs should be transparent.

“Everyone should know, if an athlete is given a TUE, what it is they’re taking and the reasons for it. And also the medical reasons behind it because we don’t always find that out. Maybe that isn’t perfect and a lot of people like to keep their medical records confidential. But when things like this happen, it could clear a lot of things up.”

Murray added, unsurprisingly, that he would be more than happy to abide by the same principle. He has always been adamant that athletes should be ultra-careful about what substances they use, and has called more than once for tennis to increase its safeguards with extra tests and more investment in the anti-doping programme.

He also has a zero-tolerance position on accidental doping offences. When Marin Cilic tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2013, having ingested it via an over-the-counter glucose supplement, Murray suggested that it was “unprofessional” to simply “go and buy something in a pharmacy”.

TUEs have become a hot topic since a group of hackers revealed numerous successful applications that had been stored on WADAs. The most controversial instance concerns Bradley Wiggins, the Team Sky cyclist, who injected a powerful corticosteroid called triamcinolone before the Tour de France in three successive seasons: 2011, 2012 and 2013. Wiggins and Team Sky’s boss David Brailsford have said that the medication was to help with a pollen allergy that sometimes triggers his asthma.

Murray was speaking at the Tie Break Tens event in Vienna on Sunday night, soon after he had finished as runner-up to home favourite Dominic Thiem and thus narrowly missed out on the winner-takes-all prize of $250,000. This was the second time he had lost in the final of a Tie Break Tens exhibition, having already participated in the inaugural event at the Albert Hall in December, where fellow Briton Kyle Edmund pipped him at the post.

The Tie Break Tens represented the start of another busy week for Murray, who has gradually been drawing closer to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the rankings. Murray will play Martin Klizan on Tuesday in his first match at the Vienna Open, a 500-point event in which he is the top seed.

With two tournaments to go before the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, Murray has the opportunity to claim that world No. 1 ranking  before the first ball is hit at London’s O2 Arena. He would have to win here in Vienna, however, before adding a fourth consecutive title in Paris next week. Even then, the prize would not be guaranteed, because Djokovic – who is not playing this week – could hang on by a sliver if he finished as runner-up in Paris.

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Telegraph.co.uk

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