Tennis Star Andy Murray Says Steroids Not as Big a Problem in Tennis as Other Sports

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Tennis superstar Andy Murray has been sensitive to the criticism his sport has received incidental to the cycling doping scandals. He readily admits that tennis could do more about doping to ensure that tennis is completely clean of steroids and related performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). But he really doesn’t think that the use of drugs such as anabolic steroids is a problem in tennis.

“I think tennis at the top level has been pretty clean compared to most sports,” Murray said in the Daily Mail. “But that isn’t to say more can’t be done to make 100 per cent sure there are no issues.”

The sport of cycling has been devastated by the fallout from the recent allegations regarding anabolic steroids (testosterone) and erythropoietin (EPO) use by American cyclist Lance Armstrong. In order to detract attention from the endemic doping problem in cycling, many cycling commentators and journalists have been pointing the finger at other sports. They argue that doping is not unique to cycling. Tennis has been a frequent target of their criticism.

Murray responded by minimizing the importance of steroids and other PEDs in tennis. Tennis is different from cycling. Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) may benefit cyclists but they are unlikely to offer much benefit to tennis players due to fundamental differences between the two sports according to Murray.

“The one thing I would say with a sport like cycling is it’s purely physical, there’s very little skill involved in the Tour de France,” said Murray. “It is the power, how many watts you’re producing, whereas with tennis you can’t learn the skill by taking a drug.”

Murray characterized cycling as a pure endurance event in which few athletic skills are required to pedal a bicycle. His elitist description of tennis will certainly offend many in the cycling community. It is the same argument that many sports, such as Major League Baseball, have used to suggest steroids do not represent a problem in their sport.

The requirement of additional skills for success in a particular sport does not diminish the potential positive influence that PEDs may have. PED use may be more pervasive in some sports. But all things being equal, athletes who have the requisite skills in tennis (or any other sport) can benefit from the influence of PEDs on components of strength, speed and endurance.

Photo credit: Carine06 / Flickr via Wikipedia


Dickson, M. (October 29, 2012). Murray: It’s time tennis got tough on drugs… we must be tested more out of competition. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2225022/Andy-Murray-Tennis-tough-drugs.html