• MySTV

Novak Djokovic attitude to doping is 'the Lance Armstrong approach'

World Anti-Doping Agency founding president Dick Pound dismisses claim tennis is clean.

The founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Dick Pound, has criticised Novak Djokovic's claim that tennis is not affected by drugs cheats.

Djokovic told CNN at the Laureus World Sports Awards earlier this week: "As long as there is no proof that somebody is doping, the sport is clean."

Tennis was recently rocked by a drugs ban for Maria Sharapova, who tested positive for the recently prohibited substance Meldonium.

Asked if Djokovic's remarks were naive, Pound told STV: "Yes. That's a Lance Armstrong approach. 'I never tested positive therefore I am clean.' Wrong.

"I think it goes deeper than most people expect, and certainly deeper than they are prepared to acknowledge."

Djokovic's remarks followed criticism from Andy Murray last week, when the Scot spoke of his suspicion of some of his fellow professionals.

The British number one told the Mail on Sunday: "I have played against players and thought: They won't go away or they don't seem to be getting tired. Have I ever been suspicious of someone? Yeah. You hear things.

"It's harder to tell in our sport as people can make big improvements to a stroke or start serving better because they have made technical changes.

"If it's purely physical and you're watching someone playing six-hour matches over and over and showing no signs of being tired, you'd look at that."

Pound believes there are far more athletes doping than the current numbers suggest.

"Let's assume it's double digits and let's be really charitable and say it is only 10%," he said.

"Our level of positives is 2%. Why is the testing not more effective than that?

"The science is pretty robust and the system is good for whatever it does. It's the people that don't want it to work."

Sponsors and sporting bodies should do more

Asked if sport organisations, and their sponsors, should be doing more to clean up sport, Pound was clear that not enough is being done.

"A lot of the resistance we get comes from the sports organisations themselves who don't want to find people in their sport are using drugs because they think it reflects badly on them," he said.

"As far as the sponsors are concerned, I think they buy into sport because of the values.

"They should be looking more, could be looking more, to the organisations and say 'listen, we're putting in a lot of money to support this vision of sport that you have marketed to us. Now we want you to deliver it'."

Could sponsors coming together to insist more is done to eradicate doping be an effective approach?

"I think that's a very good scenario," he answered. "Whether you can get them that far or not is a matter of some doubt.

"But in the FIFA crisis, many of the main sponsors said 'you've got to sort this or we're going to have to rethink our involvement with you'."

Football in 'denial' over doping

Pound also rounded on football, saying there must be drugs cheats in the sport.

"There's no sport and no country that is without the risk," he said.

"If you look at the pace of football today, it's clear that some of these substances would be of enormous assistance.

"What they've done is simply allow this to go right over their heads. Does football have a problem? Yes. Does tennis have a problem? Yes. Every sport has a problem."

Pressed on why this hasn't played out in hard facts, Pound replied: "Because the people don't want it. They are resisting it. It is denial, denial, denial.

"The testing patterns have not been intelligent tests. If they've been directed, they've been directed at athletes that are known to be clean, or some that are expendable, because you have to come up with a few positive tests.

"There is a way forward. Not only because there is but because there should be. In the long run, there must be. We've got to solve this problem.

"You take them [drugs] not to level the playing field, no matter what anyone says. You take them to beat the other people.

"So if you are taking 20mg of whatever it is, and I find out, I don't take 20 to even with you. I take 40 because I want to beat you. So it escalates to the point you're getting toxic or even lethal dosages."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.