Tourney to start drug testing

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND — WIMBLEDON, England -- Though John McEnroe and Steffi Graf are no longer the best men's and women's tennis players in the world, they still wield an extraordinary amount of power.

Because of statements by McEnroe and Graf earlier this year, Wimbledon officials announced late Wednesday that they will begin random drug testing next year.


The decision follows a similar move made two years ago by the French Tennis Federation, which runs the French Open. It was in Paris last month that McEnroe had suggested a number of men's players were using steroids.

Both the Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women's Tennis Association have had drug-testing policies the past two years.


But since the International Tennis Federation runs the Grand Slam events, no set policy has been enacted.

"I think our system has been very good," WTA president Pam Shriver said yesterday. "I think our random testing has been often enough to be a very strong deterrent, if anyone thinks they are tempted to cheat. There have been no positive tests, and the feeling is very strong that nobody is cheating."

Approximately 40 players will be tested here next year.

* Martina Navratilova made a smart move Wednesday night by getting her second-round match with Kimberly Po postponed after the second set because of darkness. Navratilova, who had dropped the second set after winning the first, came back yesterday to win, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.

"I knew we weren't going to play three sets," one way or the other, said Navratilova, 35, who is looking for her 10th Wimbledon championship. "I thought she played great yesterday. But I also let her play that way. Today, I put more pressure on her."

* Andre Agassi, who was given a warning for spewing an obscenity Tuesday during his rain-delayed first-round match against Andrie Chesnokov, was fined yesterday $1,500 by tournament referee Alan Mills. Agassi said he plans to appeal.

"It's the principle," Agassi said after his 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Eduardo Masso of Belgium. "I mean, the prize money here alone is worth a lot more than the fine, so I don't have a problem with the financial part. It's the principal. The question is who started, and I think the supervisor's decision to give me a warning started it."

TTC Tournament supervisor Ken Farrar, who gave Agassi the warning, said his decision was not a personal one, as the player has suggested.