American professional tennis player Madison Brengle sued the WTA and International Tennis Federation in Florida state court on Monday, seeking unspecified damages for “physical and emotional consequences” related to anti-doping blood tests that involve inserting a needle into a vein.
“She is not disputing that there should be an anti-doping program. She does not dispute that players should be available to have tests administered. But it has to be done in a medically appropriate manner,” Brengle’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, said in a telephone interview after the suit was filed.
“And it has to be done in a way which takes into consideration not only those who manage professional tennis, but also those who play tennis. It’s a system totally dominated by the authorities, without any input from the players and without any consideration for the players.”
The defendants also include the ITF’s Stuart Miller; International Doping Tests and Management (IDTM), a Swedish company that administers drug tests for the ITF; and IDTM doping control officer John Snowball.
Spokespeople for the WTA and ITF did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Madison Brengle at WimbledonGetty Images
The lawsuit says the defendants knew and ignored that Brengle “suffers from a rare medically diagnosed physical condition which results in both temporary and permanent physical injury, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering from having a needle inserted into her vein.”
It adds: “Brengle no longer has normal strength in her arm and endures post-trauma injuries that cause both physical and emotional damage.”
The suit cites Wimbledon in 2009, and the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2016 as tournaments where the testing was problematic.
Brengle also says her reaction to the testing has caused her to miss tournaments.
“She can give blood. She just can’t tolerate the needle in her vein. She could give blood via a pin prick in her finger. She will submit to a urinalysis,” Ginsberg said. “She’s not trying to avoid being tested. She’s trying to avoid having a needle being stuck in her veins.”
Brengle, who turned 28 this month, was ranked as high as 35th in singles and is currently 83rd.
Her biggest career victory came over Serena Williams at Auckland, New Zealand, in January 2017. Brengle also beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the All England Club last year.
Born in Delaware and now based in Florida, Brengle has earned more than $2 million in career prize money.