- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PARIS (AP) - Tennis is considering whether to adopt blood-testing measures used by cycling and track to catch drug cheats.

“We are looking very, very carefully at an athlete biological passport program in tennis,” International Tennis Federation anti-doping manager Stuart Miller told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Biological passport programs in cycling and in track and field monitor athletes’ blood readings over time for possible tell-tale indications of doping. The federations for those sports, the UCI and the IAAF, have used evidence of doping gathered from these programs to ban athletes and target others for more testing.

Miller said “it would be nice” if tennis can establish such a system in 2013.

“I don’t want to say it’s definitely happening until we actually say, `Here’s a program. It’s up and running,’” Miller said. “We’re looking at it to ensure that if we do run it, we can run it properly.”

Miller said the ITF also is working toward more of the blood and out-of-competition drug tests it already does on players.

In the wake of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s life ban from sports for doping, Roger Federer and Andy Murray called for more out-of-competition and blood testing in tennis.

Murray called the Armstrong case “pretty shocking.”

“You would hate for anything like that to happen to your own sport,” Murray said before the season-ending ATP finals in London.

Federer said: “We don’t do a lot of blood testing during the year. I’m OK having more of that.”

The ITF and the World Anti-Doping Agency conducted just 21 out-of-competition blood tests _ used to detect the abuse of growth hormone, transfusions using blood from donors, and blood-doping substances CERA and HBOCs _ in tennis in 2011.

The vast majority of tests in tennis in 2011 _ 2,019 of a total of 2,150 _ were urine.

“We’re working hard to try to increase the proportion of out-of-competition testing, and particularly blood testing, and we’ve been working on that for a while,” Miller said. “I’m hopeful that by the end of the year, we’ll have made some inroads into improving that.

“Like any anti-doping program, we’re subject to resource constraints.”

Miller told the AP that the ITF tested Federer an average of eight times per year from 2004-2006, 11 times per year from 2007-2009 and nine times per year in 2010-2012.

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