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Federer tells drug testers: 'Don't treat us like criminals'

Ismail Vedat at the O2
November 7, 2013 « I hoped 4,000th winner would be for JP - McCoy | Chartbeat test »
Roger Federer says the number of tests have declined in recent years © Getty Images
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Roger Federer believes the anti-doping agencies should treat players "like human beings", and feels Viktor Troicki should have provided a blood sample on the day he was asked to regardless of the situation.

Troicki returned 24 hours later than scheduled in April at the Monte Carlo Masters to give blood after saying he felt unwell on the test day, fearing he may faint as a consequence coupled with his phobia of needles. His sample returned clean, and on Tuesday his doping ban was reduced from 18 months to 12.

Novak Djokovic blasted anti-doping agency WADA for their handling of the case of Troicki, saying the "negligence and unprofessionalism" of the doping control officer (DCO) was to blame after Troicki was told he could come back later to provide the blood sample.

Djokovic said he "lost trust" in the current system and also slammed the ATP for not assisting his fellow Serb, but Federer insists Troicki should have given blood despite the circumstances.

"I do believe that when you are requested for a sample, you have to give the sample, no matter how bad you feel, I'm sorry," Federer said after his victory over Richard Gasquet at the ATP World Tour Finals.

"The test the next day for me is not a test anymore because what could have happened overnight? I don't believe anything. I believe whatever they decided on [for Troicki]. I think it's just very important to give the sample when you're requested to give it because there you are in front of them and there is no way to escape anymore. That's where we need to be extremely firm."

Unlike Djokovic, Federer said he "trusts the system", although the Swiss highlighted the regularity of testing has declined.

"I just feel like we're not getting tested enough. I wasn't tested in Basel and in Paris, but I got tested here after the first match. There needs to be more testing done," the Swiss said.

"I used to get tested more. I think I was tested 25 times in 2003 and 2004. Ever since, it's clearly been going down. Last year when I won in Dubai, Rotterdam and Indian Wells, I didn't get tested in one of those three events. For me, that's not okay. You [should] just show up and test a guy that's winning everything, and that's sometimes what I struggle with."

And Federer hinted that Troicki has been unfairly treated in the case, stressing the need for the anti-doping authorities to change the way they deal with players.

"It's very important that they treat us like normal human beings and not criminals. It's fine to treat a guy bad if he tested positive, he needs to feel the pain, but not if you haven't done anything yet, and that seems to be the case," Federer stated.

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