Injection fears: US Open launches new investigation unit

The Tennis Integrity Unit will be handing out thousands of additional US Open-related suspicious player reports at this year’s tournament, umpires and tournament organisers have said.

Tennis’s governing bodies continue to urge players to get vaccinated ahead of US Open Read more

The TIU had only offered 4,000 reports for this year’s tournament earlier this month, but its head of investigations, Andy Challenger, has said that more are expected. Challenger has said the TIU’s immunisation programme has been “very successful” and that a first shipment of the vaccine was shipped last month, increasing the number available to 7,500. The disease, which is spread by infected animals, can cause miscarriages and birth defects in humans.

Andy Brown, the president of the All England Club, said: “The TIU will be on hand at every US Open to advise the USTA about suspicious reporting and how best to identify it so they can deal with it in order to protect the integrity of the sport.”

Back in March, three players – veteran Peter Luczak, American Rhyne Williams and Romania’s Victor Hanescu – were arrested on suspicion of “being part of a conspiracy to intentionally cause professional tennis players to fail a doping test” in 2016. But the ATP said in a statement: “If a professional tennis player is arrested, suspected of any offence or subject to investigation, he or she will not be suspended.”

Other major sporting bodies use the same immunisation programme as the TIU, with the swimming world governing body Fina also offering a two-month free period for tennis players.

“The Fina president, Laming Laming, and all Fina members adhere to a stringent program of anti-doping education and awareness, including vaccination to guard against measles, mumps and rubella,” an Fina spokesman said.

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