Novak Djokovic ‘must be suspended’ following outrage over pre-match doping test

A former French cyclist has called for Novak Djokovic to be suspended after the world No 1 was asked to do a random drug test 90 minutes before facing Cameron Norrie at the Davis Cup. Djokovic slammed the “outrageous” decision and said it would interrupt his pre-match routine, later admitting that he had yet to complete the full doping control test because he wanted to wait until after the match. Marc Madiot now wants to see the 24-time Grand Slam champion suspended for refusing the test.

Djokovic was left furious when a doping control officer tried to test him before he took on Norrie in Serbia’s Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Britain. “I haven’t done a complete doping control yet, I had yet to draw blood. A man sits in the corner, he follows me for hours,” the 36-year-old later told Serbian media.

“I had a discussion with him because in 20 years of my career, it didn’t happen to me before. I received a notification an hour and a half before the match. I have my routine and I don’t need to be distracted. To think about drawing blood, to think about whether I will be able to give a sample of urine… A completely illogical decision.”

While Djokovic was happy to do the test after his match and said there was “nothing to hide”, former professional road racing cycling Madiot called for the Serb to be suspended for refusing to be tested before the match. “There are rules of testing before and after competition,” the double Paris–Roubaix winner told Les Grandes Gueules du Sport on RMC.

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“If the anti-doping body is doing its job, Mr Novak Djokovic must be suspended. He refused a test before the match and did it after. In cycling, you are subjected to a test and if you refuse, you are automatically positive. If that is the case, you are sanctioned. You don’t have the right to refuse testing, that’s the rule.”

The Olympian also claimed it was “unreal” that Djokovic was only warned for pushing back the test until after his match. Madiot added: “In the assortment of doping products there are those that can be detected for a very limited period of time. If you don’t test yourself before the start, during the match, their traces can be erased in the body.

“That is why testing was introduced before the competition. The fact that he was only warned is unreal.” However, Djokovic had previously explained that he was a big advocate of testing – just not so close to the start time of a match.

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“I’ve always supported testing, but not before the match. What will that change? I’ll be there, when the match is over, test me. I have a blood test coming up. I hope they change the decision,” he said following the incident last Thursday.

“It is interesting that the doping agency is a private company. There should be a discussion that we as a world organization within our ecosystem, so to speak, have our own agency. I don’t know what to add, probably everything I say will be interpreted differently. This is outrageous. There’s nothing to hide, but there are also some limits. They don’t understand what’s happening here. They don’t understand sport, they don’t understand where they are.”

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