As we approach the final stages of the 2023 tour season, the ITIA is reminding players and their support teams to be aware of upcoming changes to the WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] Prohibited List, which will take effect from 1 January 2024.
The full list of prohibited substances has been published by WADA and is available here. The most notable change to the list is the addition of tramadol, a well-known and commonly used pain-killing drug. Tramadol will become a prohibited substance in the new year, following recommendation of the List Expert Advisory Group to prohibit its use in competition from 2024.
Tramadol has been on the WADA Monitoring Program and data gathered through that programme have indicated significant use in sports. Tramadol abuse, with its dose-dependent risks of physical dependence, opiate addiction and overdoses in the general population, is of concern and has led to it being a controlled drug in many countries. Research studies funded by WADA have also confirmed the potential for tramadol to enhance sports performance.
The ITIA will work with everyone on the tennis tour to ensure that players understand the changes to the WADA Prohibited List in 2024. Players who currently use tramadol as part of their pain management regimen are urged to phase out its use as soon as possible, as its presence in a player’s system will constitute a breach of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) from January 2024 – except in the cases in which a player successfully applies for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), with legitimate medical grounds for use.
Committed to prioritising prevention of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) over punishment, the ITIA will – in collaboration with the ATP, WTA, and ITF - deliver a mixture of direct communication, education sessions and visual reminders in player-facing areas at tournaments to ensure that players are fully aware of the changes ahead of the 2024 season.
Nicole Sapstead, the ITIA’s Senior Director for Anti-Doping, said: “It is essential that all players and their representatives are aware of upcoming changes to the Prohibited List. In particular, players must note the addition of tramadol as a banned substance from next year.
“As a sport, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that the non-essential use of tramadol is eliminated before the changes to the Prohibited List take effect.
“Being unaware of changes to the list is, unfortunately, no defence against prospective sanctions, and it is incumbent upon the entire tennis family to protect players from unintentional doping violations by taking a proactive approach to rule changes.”
Players seeking further understanding of the WADA Prohibited List, or seeking practical support from the ITIA on anti-doping matters, can make contact with us directly via our app, through direct message on social media, or by filling out the contact form at itia.tennis.
Published 12 October 2023 16:00