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UPDATE 1-Tennis-ITF to unify anti-doping programme

(writes through with detail, quotes)

By Ossian Shine

LONDON, Oct 4 - Tennis is stepping up its fight
against drugs cheats by unifying the sport's anti-doping
programme.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), which organises
grand slam tournaments and the Davis Cup, is to manage and
enforce the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme at men's ATP events
from next year.

The ITF currently oversees doping at grand slams, Davis Cup
and Fed Cup events, the ATP runs doping at men's tournaments and
the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) performs the same function
at their events.

The move announced on Tuesday is a major step towards
unifying drug-testing in the sport and the ITF also hopes to
bring the WTA into the fold.

"We believe that a unified programme under one management is
in the best interests of tennis, and we hope that the WTA Tour
will soon join with us and the ATP to achieve this goal," ITF
President Francesco Ricci-Bitti said.

The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is fully compliant with the
World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) code, meaning a mandatory
two-year ban for first-time offenders and a life ban for repeat
offenders. Ricci-Bitti is on the WADA board.

The agreement between the ITF and the Association of Tennis
Professionals extends to 2010 and will include at least 600
tests a year at ATP events in addition to the 500 tests on male
players at tournaments under ITF jurisdiction.

The ITF already tests women players at grand slams and the
Fed Cup.

POSITIVE STEP

The move will slash administrative costs and remove much
duplication of roles. Routine drug testing in tennis at present
costs between