Originally created 07/06/06

Players not under drug investigation, ITF says

WIMBLEDON, England - Tennis players aren't part of a Spanish drug investigation, and that includes French Open champion Rafael Nadal, the International Tennis Federation said Wednesday.

On Monday, Nadal said at Wimbledon that he was considering suing a French newspaper which loosely linked him to the Spanish doping probe.

"We have today been assured in writing by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science that no tennis players, either Spanish or foreign, are under investigation," ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said.

"We feel that it is unfair and unfortunate that tennis players, including Rafael Nadal, have been named, erroneously, as under investigation. All top players are tested regularly under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program and are very aware of the rules of the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code."

The Spanish investigation led to the exclusion of several top cyclists from the Tour de France.

Asked Monday about the report in the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche, Nadal called it "nonsense" and strongly denied ever using performance-enhancing substances, saying: "I've never taken anything in my life, and I never will."

MORE OF THE SAME: Wimbledon said it might consider putting more "permanent measures" - possibly security screens or fences - around Centre Court after a second security breach in as many days Wednesday.

During Roger Federer's quarterfinal win over Mario Ancic, two man came on the court with rackets and balls, and one of them hit a shot. On Tuesday, a streaker interrupted a quarterfinal match and danced and cartwheeled only 10 meters from Maria Sharapova.

"It will be a shame if the antics of a few selfish idiots were to ruin it for everyone else in the future and that it meant we may have to put more permanent measures in place to prevent people gaining access to the court," Wimbledon said in a statement. "Clearly, we hope this will not be the case."

Extra security staff could also be hired, officials said.

The streaker was not charged by police.

The men who interrupted Wednesday's match were arrested but there was no immediate confirmation on whether they had been charged.


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