The Testing Process 

Athletes can be tested any time, any place. 

We test to deter those vulnerable to a doping decision and to find those who chose to cheat by using banned substances. 

Testing can take place in-competition at events, or out-of-competition, in training venues, or even at an athlete’s home. 

Testing is intelligence-led and risk-based, however it will always be conducted with ‘no advanced notice’. 

Testing Process for Minors 

As an athlete under the age of 18, you are considered a minor. You may not be aware, but you can still be tested. 

Much of the testing process is the same as older athletes, however modifications are made to ensure minors are safeguarded.   

Testing Process for Athletes with an Impairment 

For those athletes with an impairment such as physical, visual or intellectual there are some modifications to the testing process to ensure it is accessible and suitable for all. 

Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)

A selected group of tennis players are tested regularly as part of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) Programme. ABPs are used across tennis and other sports to determine whether players are using prohibited substances or methods.

Traditional anti-doping testing aims to directly identify prohibited substances and methods in an athlete’s blood and urine.

The ABP allows the long-term monitoring of an athlete’s biological data in both blood and urine, looking indirectly for potential markers that indicate doping within a set of parameters, called biomarkers.

A player’s ABP profile, or ‘passport’, is made up of multiple blood and urine samples collected and analysed over time. The analysis of these samples allows for a player’s normal values to be established.

These normal values are monitored long-term for changes; such changes can be caused by the following: 

  • The use of a prohibited substance or method without detecting the substance in traditional Anti-Doping tests.
  • Irregular use of prohibited substances and methods.
  • Use of substances for which a direct test is not available.

Players have access to their ABP sample record on ADAMS at all times should they want to view their personal data.

ABP data/monitoring is managed and handled anonymously by an external Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU), which are WADA-accredited laboratories. If an APMU suspects the use of prohibited substances or methods, the passport is sent for further analysis by three independent experts.

The ABP approach was officially introduced by WADA in 2009 and operates amongst International Federation (IF) and National Anti-Doping Agency (NADO) programmes worldwide. 

For more information on ABPs, visit WADA’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)?

The ABP is a way to detect the use of prohibited substances and methods by monitoring an individual player’s blood and urine parameters. Multiple blood and urine samples are collected and analysed to establish a player’s normal values, and make up the player’s profile, or ‘passport’. The monitoring of a player’s profile will detect any changes to their blood or urine parameters over time.

How is the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) different from traditional blood and urine testing?

Traditional samples are analysed in isolation, and a violation of the TADP occurs when a prohibited substance is present in a player’s blood or urine sample. Traditional samples directly detect the presence of prohibited substances and methods. However, ABP blood and urine samples allow the long-term monitoring of an athlete’s biological data in both blood and urine, which may indicate doping within a set of parameters.

What does the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) do that traditional testing does not?

Analysis of blood and urine parameters over multiple samples allows each player’s normal values to be established. These normal values are then monitored for changes which could be caused by: a) The use of a prohibited substance or method without detecting the substance itself. b) Intermittent use (including micro-dosing) of prohibited substances and methods. c) Use of substances for which a direct test is not available.

Do players have access to their Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) profiles?

Yes, players have access to their ABP sample record on ADAMS at all times, should they want to view their personal data.

How much blood is collected in an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) sample and how much blood can be collected from a player at any one time?

Each ABP sample is three millilitres (less than one teaspoon), which represents about one-thousandth or 0.1% of the total amount of blood in the body. (Traditional blood donation is 470ml). Normally, no more than 19 milliliters (four teaspoons) will be collected at once. The collection of more than one tube of blood occurs when the samples will also be used to test for multiple substances.

Are there any differences in the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) sample collection procedure compared to traditional blood sample collection?

Yes. For a traditional collection, a Doping Control Officer (DCO) will ask a player to sit for 10 minutes prior to providing any blood sample.

 

When providing ABP samples, a player must stop exercising 2 hours before their sample is collected. When completing the Doping Control Form, a player will be asked additional questions, including whether they have been exercising in the last two hours, and whether they have given blood or had a blood transfusion in the past week. This is important as these factors could influence a player’s blood parameters.

Does the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) replace traditional testing?

No. The ABP is an additional tool in the fight against doping, and is used alongside traditional blood and urine testing and analysis methods.

Have any athletes received a doping sanction relating to their Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)?

Yes. Since its official introduction in 2009 many athletes, across a variety of sports, have been sanctioned under the ABP.

Who or what determines whether a player faces a charge of doping under the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)?

Analysis takes place on an anonymous basis and computer modelling software automatically detects unusual blood and urine parameter values that are outside of a player’s normal range. The Athlete Passport Management Units (APMU), located at WADA-accredited laboratories, then makes a recommendation based on these values. If the use of prohibited substances or methods are suspected, data is provided to an independent review panel, consisting of three experts, along with the player’s explanation of those values. If the panel unanimously concludes that it is highly likely that the player used a prohibited substance or method, then the player will be charged.

Which tennis players are subject to testing under the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) Programme?

All international-level players may be subject to testing under the ABP programme; however, those in the International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) are likely to be subject to ABP testing more frequently.

When can I be notified for testing?

You can be notified at any time and anywhere with no advanced notice.

Can I refuse to take a test?

Whenever you are asked to provide a sample – you must complete the test. Refusal to do so can result in a significant suspension from the sport, in the same way as any other Anti-Doping Rule Violation would.

What type of test can I be asked to take?

You may be asked to provide a urine sample, one or more blood samples or both.

If I am tested, what happens to my samples?

After sample collection, the sample is shipped to a WADA accredited laboratory for analysis.

Is there a risk of bruising following a blood test?

Occasionally, bruising of the arm may develop. Bruises are usually harmless and will disappear with time and it is normal for them to spread out before fading. The risk of developing a bruise can be reduced by: compressing the point of needle insertion for 2 minutes immediately after the test; avoiding training for 2-3 hours following the test; not taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen on the day of the test.

What is strict liability?

You are solely responsible for all substances that you put inside your body and it is your responsibility to check the prohibited list to ensure you are not taking any prohibited substances through your diet or medications.

Can I trust the Doping Control Officer or Chaperone?

Chaperones will have a letter of authorisation from the responsible Anti-Doping Organtisation (ADO). Doping Control Officers will also have photo identification.

How long does it take the body to replace the blood drawn?

While the exact time depends on the person’s health, diet and exercise, it should be no more than 3 hours. Blood drawing results in no measurable effect on performance.

How many attempts can be made to collect a blood sample?

If the Doping Control Officer (DCO) is not able to collect blood after 3 unsuccessful attempts, the collection process will be terminated.

Is there a minimum time between consecutive samples?

No. There may be occasions when collection of samples in close succession is necessary, such as when a change in a player’s normal values is detected.

Why is sitting for 10 minutes prior to providing a blood sample necessary?

To ensure that the blood is evenly distributed throughout the body.

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