10/22/12 3:31 PM | Johan Lindahl
Suspicious veteran James Blake believes that after the Lance Armstrong cycling doping allegations, tennis might still not pass the smell test when it comes to cleanliness.
That's despite a year-round testing program, which is the bane of many players with its 6:00 AM knocks on the door and attempts at constant surveillance of competitors.
The 32-year-old, whose stick on court has fallen to 84th in the ATP rankings after playing only 11 ATP level events this season, is not shy about broadcasting his suspicions despite the longstanding anti-doping protocols in his sport.
The American insists that cheating exists and he's sticking to his story. "In tennis I'm sure there are guys who are doing it, getting away with it, and getting ahead of the testers," he told USA Today. "But I also am 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 one-time world No. 4 added: "It's unfortunate, but I hope tennis is doing the best job of trying to catch those guys trying to beat the system."
Blake has an unlikely ally in the Frenchman Yannick Noah, who won the French Open three decades ago. The now-famed entertainer has long suspected tennis doping. "I understand that many people are trying to play nice but are paying dearly for it," said Noah, who casts a wary eye on Spanish sportsmen.
USA Today reports that the ITF spent around $1.6 million in the three years prior to 2011, paying for 2,000 drug tests per year.
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