“I have my pre-match routines” – Djokovic refused a doping test before Davis Cup quarter-finals, explains why

Novak Djokovic finds himself at the heart of a controversy in Malaga, as Spanish media outlet Marca reveals that he and his team refused to undergo a doping test before his first match in the Davis Cup

Novak Djokovic Novak Djokovic at the 2023 Davis Cup (Zuma/Panoramic)

Novak Djokovic won’t end the season without controversy. The world No 1 and his team refused to submit to an unannounced doping test an hour and a half before Serbia’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Great Britain. Djokovic was therefore followed for hours by the anti-doping controller and was able to be tested (blood and urine) after his match. The information, revealed by Spanish media outlet Marca, comes as Serbia play their semi-final against Jannik Sinner’s Italy on Saturday.

According to Marca, the captains of the teams taking part in the Davis Cup finals had been warned that there would be unannounced tests this week. But Djokovic obviously didn’t think it would be before the start of his match, and decided that the timing wasn’t right.

Djokovic: It doesn’t make sense

“It’s the first time it’s happened to me. It doesn’t make sense to do it when I’ll be there after the match,” he commented in Serbian after his victory over Cameron Norrie. “They gave me an hour and a half’s notice. I have my pre-match routines and I don’t have to think at that point about donating blood or urine.”

Djokovic also complained about the behaviour of the agent sent to conduct the test. “I argued with him because that hasn’t happened to me in my 20-year career. He sat in a corner and followed me for hours. It was outrageous. I’ve always defended controls, but not before matches. There’s nothing to hide, but there have to be certain limits.”

According to the Times, the ITIA have defended the testers, saying that obtaining samples at the first opportunity is standard practice.

“Due to the format of team competitions, including the Davis Cup, teams may be notified that they have been selected for testing before matches begin and then provide samples when they are ready,” an ITIA spokesman said. “Between notification and providing the sample, they are chaperoned by a member of the anti-doping team.”

Serbia’s current captain Viktor Troicki was banned for 18 months in 2013 after failing to provide a blood sample, although he did give the urine sample.

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