Not so random

Serena Williams says drug-testing in tennis is fueled by ‘discrimination’

Serena Williams takes part in a press conference on the eve of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 01, 2018 (ED LEICESTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Tennis great Serena Williams has been drug-tested more than any American tennis player — and it just happened again, prompting her to speak out and allege that drug-testing conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is not actually random and that “discrimination” is behind the frequent tests she’s been required to pass.

“It’s that time of the day to get ‘randomly’ drug tested,” the tennis legend said in the first of a pair of posts on Twitter. “Out of all the players it’s been proven I’m the one getting tested the most. Discrimination?” she wondered in the second post. “I think so.” She added that she is all for keeping the sport clean and said of future testing: “Bring it on.”

Williams, 36, spoke out about the disparity in the the amount of drug tests she’s been hit with compare with other players during her run at Wimbledon this year, where she made a remarkable run and ended up in the final against Angelique Kerber, who prevailed, preventing Williams from winning her eighth Wimbledon title.

“I’m always getting tested — all the time,” Williams said with an uncomfortable laugh during a press conference at Wimbledon earlier this month. “I didn’t realize it was such a discrepancy with me, as well as against the other players that they listed. It will be impossible for me not to feel some kind of way about that.” She said that she’d been tested five times in June and was treated rudely by one of the testers, whom she said had showed up 12 hours early, and then refused to leave her home and tried to designate the test as one that had been missed.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner notably gave birth to her daughter Olympia nearly 11 months ago and has been open about the near-fatal complications she suffered following the delivery and the travails of being a working mom as she’s tried to raise her baby since. She often posts photos of Olympia on social media, as she did this week.

According to ABC News, neither the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) nor the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have responded to a request for comment. But ABC News did highlight a few points from the USADA website that pertain to drug-testing of athletes. “Athletes are subject to testing 365 days a year and do not have ‘off-seasons’ or cutoff periods in which testing does not occur,” the website says.

USADA also says testing is not random. “The term ‘random’ is not an accurate way to describe anti-doping testing in the United States. As USADA uses various factors to strategically plan when and where we test athletes in order to achieve maximum success in deterrence.”

Read the full story at AFP.


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