The passport, which uses blood tests to detect the likelihood of
doping rather than testing for specific substances, came into
operation in the final quarter of 2013 and covers around 50 of the
world's top players.
If a player's blood profile deviates beyond accepted parameters, set
by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), they could be banned, even
if they have not failed a drugs test.
The passport is at its most effective once a player has given
between three and five blood tests.
"While it's (already) in full operation, its effectiveness is still
increasing by virtue of the number of samples that have been
collected for every player in the (testing) pool," Dr Stuart Miller,
head of the ITF's anti-doping program, told a group of reporters in
"It's based on multiple samples collected over time, which is why
that effectiveness needs time to kick in."
The ITF has been criticized in the past for carrying out a
relatively low percentage of blood tests, which are considered the
most effective way of catching drugs cheats.
Blood tests constituted only 9 percent of overall drugs tests in
2012, while only 15 percent of all tests, urine and blood, were
[to top of second column]
But the ITF expects the official figures for 2013, due to be
released within the next month, to show a significant increase
in both the number of blood tests and percentage out of
The anti-doping program is jointly funded by the ITF, the four
grand slam events, the ATP and WTA Tours.
In 2012, the funding totaled $2 million, including the $400,000
that the ITF pays to administer it.
Miller said the partners had agreed to increase their funding of
the program in 2014 and, though he would not be drawn on the
total figure, ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said each
would contribute equally.
"All four bodies in tennis are committed to anti-doping in
tennis," Ricci Bitti said. "They believe it is one of the
pillars to protect the game. All four bodies contribute the same
(Editing by Patrick Johnston)
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