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Mon Apr 21 04:05:09 SAST 2014

There are drug cheats in tennis, says Blake

Steve Ginsburg, Reuters | 28 August, 2012 06:370 Comments
2012 US Open - Day 1
James Blake of the United States celebrates a point during his men's singles first round match against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia during the 2012 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 27, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood, of the Queens borough of New York City
Image by: Mike Stobe / Getty Images for USTA

Tennis, like other sports, was bound to have some players using performance-enhancing drugs, American James Blake said on Monday, but he felt authorities were doing all they could to ensure the sport was as clean as possible.

“I’m sure there are guys who are doing it, getting away with it, and getting ahead of the testers,” Blake said after defeating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-6 6-2 3-6 6-3 in his first-round match at the US Open.

“It’s unfortunate, but I hope tennis is doing the best job of trying to catch those guys trying to beat the system.”

The 115th-ranked Blake, who was once ranked as high as fourth in the world, said he was “realistic with this much money involved, $1,9 million for the winner of the US Open, people will try to find a way to get ahead.”

The 32-year-old Blake, however also added he felt tennis authorities “do a great job of testing”.

“Of course at times it’s inconvenient to me when I get woken up at 6 am to pee in a cup. It’s their job. I know they’re doing it,” he said.

“I know if they’re doing it to me, they’re doing it to everyone else. I’m happy to do that.”

Blake said he “didn’t know what to think” about cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last week after he gave up fighting allegations he used performance-enhancing drugs.

“Cycling has seen what seems to be like the steroid era in baseball where it seems like everyone is clouded (with suspicion),” said Blake.

“You don’t know (but) like he said, he’s passed like 500, 600 tests.

“But have no idea. I don’t know Lance at all. Never met him. I don’t know what he’s like.

“I know his story is inspirational. I know how many people he’s helped. That’s incredible.”

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