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France's Cornet avoids potential ban for 'missing drugs test'

  • Posted: May 15, 2018

French player Alize Cornet has avoided a potential ban after the International Tennis Federation dismissed a charge against her for missing three drugs tests in a year.

Players must be available for out-of-competition testing for one hour every day under the whereabouts rule.

Cornet, 28, said her intercom buzzer was broken during the third attempt.

An independent tribunal found the doping control officer did not take “reasonable steps” to locate her.

The world number 32 said she was inside her apartment during the designated time slot, but did not receive an intercom call or a phone call.

She also pointed out she had never tested positive in over 100 tests during her career.

The tribunal said it accepted Cornet’s “frank and compelling” evidence.

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“No-one has suggested any basis for thinking she has ever taken any form of prohibited drug,” it added.

Cornet said she missed the first attempted test, on 3 November, 2016, after leaving early for a flight to a competition because she was “afraid of missing her flight due to traffic”.

She had also already left her home in Cannes for the Stanford Classic in the United States at the time of the second attempted test on 26 July, 2017.

Cornet was successfully tested twice in March 2017, and again on 11 October, before the third missed test took place on 24 October.

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ATP likely to introduce 25-second shot clocks and reduced warm-ups

  • Posted: May 15, 2018

Shot clocks and reduced warm-ups appear very likely to be introduced to the ATP Tour – and possibly next season.

A number of innovations were trialled at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last November.

First to four game sets, no advantage scoring or service lets and coaching via headsets were among the trials.

But it is a 25-second serving clock and a reduced warm-up which players can expect to face on tour in either 2019 or 2020.

  • Rival tennis World Cups would be ‘insane’ – ATP chairman

The shot clock is set to be enforced at a Grand Slam for the first time during this year’s US Open.

It was used in Australian Open qualifying and will also be in operation during French Open qualifying this month.

Wimbledon, which has opted not to use it this year, says it will adopt a “wait and see” approach.

Some leading players have voiced their concerns at the shot clock, with 16-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal particularly unhappy.

ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode, speaking at the launch of this year’s Next Gen Finals, said he thinks the proposed changes will happen.

“I think that’s a good thing,” he said.

“When we first started this we never committed to what date we would do any of these, because we needed to take a cautious approach.

“I think we can also look at the medical time outs and the toilet breaks, again to speed up play. I think we can get those done quite quickly as well.

“When it comes to the scoring of the game, that’s getting into the ethos of the sport and that takes much longer because you do need everyone to buy into this.

“I personally loved it: what was incredible was the intensity from point one. But I’m doing this as a collective; I’m not running it as a dictatorship. So all the traditionalists don’t need to panic that I am single-handedly going to do this. I personally like it, but we’ve a long long way to go until we do anything else.”

The format for the second Next Gen Finals will be almost identical to the first, although the warm-up will be reduced by a further sixty seconds to four minutes, and players will be instructed to use a towel rail at the back of the court.

It is hoped this will further speed up play, and reduce the onus on the ball boys and girls to fetch and handle the players’ sweaty towels.

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Rival tennis World Cups would be 'insane' – ATP chairman

  • Posted: May 15, 2018

Staging two competing World Cup events in the space of six weeks would be “insane”, says ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode.

The International Tennis Federation has set out plans for an 18-team end-of-season event which will crown the Davis Cup champions from 2019.

The ATP’s priority is to stage a revamped World Team Cup in Australia in the first week of January from 2020.

“Hopefully tennis works together and we come up with a solution,” said Kermode.

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  • ATP likely to introduce 25-second shot clocks and reduced warm-ups

Talks have already taken place between the ITF – the governing body of world tennis – and the Association of Tennis Professionals to try and find a compromise, he added.

Kermode, whose organisation runs the men’s professional tour, says he is “confident” there will ultimately only be one World Cup, but cannot promise it will be a co-sanctioned event.

“It doesn’t make any sense to have two team events. Personally I think that would be insane. Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen,” Kermode told BBC Sport.

“We have had very, very good talks. What we are trying to do is understand that tennis is a multi-faceted business. Davis Cup is a sports entity that has been around for hundreds of years and we value it.

“Equally the World Team Cup was an event we had for 35 years. It’s been off the shelf for a while, but could we bring that back?

“I think there’s clearly a demand for a huge team event that anyone can buy into.”

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Britain’s Jamie Murray, who is a member of the ATP player council, indicated in March that the players would prefer the World Team Cup to be run by the ATP. He cited the time of year and potentially greater financial rewards as advantages.

Kermode is very aware of the feelings of the players, and no doubt the frustration of some at the length of the process. It is two months now since we were told there were just a few last details to be finalised.

“It’s been an incredibly convoluted and complex process,” said Kermode. “There have been so many people involved in the sport who feel very passionate about this.

“It is down to the players – the players have got to support one or the other, and see where we’ll go. So I think the next few months are going to be quite exciting.”

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