'It's violating, they turn up and tell you to pull down your pants!' Jo Konta hits out at 'invasive' drugs-testing

By Daily Sports on July 1, 2018

Views: 253

Jo Konta insists she is feeling no pressure as she heads into Wimbledon, no weight of expectation after her remarkable run to the semi-finals last year.

She says she is happy and excited, enjoying home comforts, and is only accountable to herself.

There is one thing, however, that has threatened to shatter the 27-year-old’s seemingly impenetrable sense of calm — the ‘violating’, ‘invasive’ drugs-testing procedure.

Invasive was the word used by Serena Williams’ camp after it emerged an anti-doping official turned up at her home at 8.30am on June 14 for what would have been her sixth test of the year. Most Americans have not been tested more than once.

Williams was not home so the tester insisted on waiting for her return but, after a stand-off, left without a sample.

Konta didn’t want to comment on Williams’ situation, but the British No. 1 did speak publicly for the first time about missing a doping test in March, something she blames on a technicality in the system by which players update their whereabouts.

“It was basically a mix-up of time zones more than anything,” she said, explaining that the issue arose from the time difference between California, where she was competing, and London.

“It was a bit of a tough one for me to swallow because it was a little bit out of my control. But since then, I’ve just been trying to be extra vigilant on changing it [her whereabouts] even more in advance to try to avoid those sorts of mistakes.”

Her issue is not with the drug-testing itself — she accepts it comes with the territory of professional sport — but in the process.

“It’s important to have integrity in this sport, but I do feel there’s definitely room for improvement in the way athletes are treated.

“It’s quite a violating process: people come to your home. You’re in your pyjamas. You get pulled out of bed, told to take down your pants, give your arm, pee in a cup. It is invasive. It’s not something I will miss when I retire.”

Konta is now on one strike after that missed test. The rules state that a player can have three in a year before a violation.

“When that happened, I was super stressed,” she said. “I definitely felt hard done by because I’ve always tried so hard to be really vigilant with it. It felt like I got called out on a technicality more than anything.”

As the questions about Wimbledon returned, so did the sense of calm.

But Konta would not look beyond her first-round opponent, world No 106 Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia.

“She’s a player with a big game,” she said. “I know she has big shots. In terms of me, I think I’m getting better and better. I feel like I’m playing more consistently at the level that I want to improve from and keep playing. I’ll be working very hard to earn my way into the next round.” (Daily Mail)

Photo shows Konta

Source Daily Sports

Posted July 1, 2018

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