Nadal stands up to “Harassing” WADA

May 30, 2009

Rafael Nadal is one of the many tennis players who are vocal outside of the court. Nadal has even set up the Fundación Rafa Nadal, in his home town of Manacor, Majorca; a non-profit organisation which promotes tennis and uses it as a form of integration for those who need it most.

But beyond his charitable work, Nadal is vocal for the needs and worries of professional tennis players today. Since the beginning of the year, Rafa has continually called upon the International Tennis Federation to defend players’ rights against the World Anti-Doping Agency’s out of competition drug testing rules.

And what are these rules?

Well, they’re quite frankly ridiculous. Apparently professional sportsmen and women aren’t allowed to have the same human rights as everyone else.

WADA insist that every professional tennis player must tell WADA where they are at least one hour between 6am and 11pm each day for a three month period, so that they can be tested for drugs. When I first heard this, I honestly thought it was a joke. But it’s not just tennis players. Footballers, athletes, rugby players are all subject to this ludicrous set of rules designed to keep sport free of dopers.

For starters, surely this isn’t the only way? I don’t pretend to be the leading figurehead for combating doping in sport, but anyone with common sense can figure out that this surely isn’t the way to go. It’s invasive, impersonal, and pushes – although I would argue it actually crosses – the boundaries of the human rights.  

Secondly is the common sense issue: a tennis player in particular cannot know for definite their schedule. Some are knocked out of tournaments very early when they had expected to do well, or continue in the tournament much longer than originally thought. But still, WADA expect every player to help them keep tabs on them.

Nadal made the excellent point that not even his mother knows where he is necessarily for one hour every day; and coming from a close-knit family this is certainly saying something about WADA’s pushiness into the lives of sportsmen and women.

Some have given out to Rafa, saying that this opinion against WADA is at a solely personal level; that he believes himself to be above this law. That’s even more preposterous than the actual WADA rules themselves. Rafael Nadal is just one of many who want to these rules changed: 65 athletes across numerous sports in Belgium have taken up issues with the WADA rules, and Serena Williams has also spoken out again it.

When it’s such a ridiculous invasion into their lives, they have every right to complain surely? And Rafa complains on the behalf of hundreds of tennis players forced to this rule, just as others have spoken out for fellow footballers or athletes.

It’s particularly poignant at this point, because the Frenchman Richard Gasquet has been suspended after he tested positive for cocaine. Nadal and many others believe that it was not the case, that Gasquet had not touched the drug. As has been pointed out, all you need to do is have a heavy make out session with someone who has had cocaine and there’s a chance you’re doomed to a positive test result. It’s just one of the many pitfalls and vulnerabilities of drug testing.

Many players are standing behind Gasquet, and it’s just not Rafa who believes that WADA are taking a step too far.

Of course there’s need for anti-doping laws and regulations, but why so excessive that they actually infringe on the daily lives and routines of athletes? WADA have every right to test and control, but surely this is a ridiculous way to go about it? 

I can only hope that WADA find a different way to test, or they may find a rebellion on their hands…..

-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

Add Your Comments

You must Sign In to post a comment.

« Back