ReutersMadison Brengle filed a lawsuit against the Women’s Tennis Association and the International Tennis Federation on Monday seeking damages for injuries she said were caused by the repeated drawing of blood for anti-doping tests.
The 28-year-old American had informed tennis authorities that she suffered from a rare medical condition that reacts to needle injections, her lawyer Peter Ginsberg said.
“Tennis authorities ignored evidence of her professionally diagnosed condition and refused to provide alternative testing or a medical accommodation, instead subjecting Brengle to testing that caused her to withdraw from tournaments and has now resulted in permanent swelling and weakness in her serving arm and hand,” Ginsberg said in a statement.
Brengle, ranked 83rd in the world, had never failed or missed a doping test in her 10 years as a professional, the statement said. The lawsuit said the exact amount Brengle would seek from a jury had yet to be determined but would likely be in excess of $10 million.
The ITF on Tuesday said in an email it was made aware of Brengle’s lawsuit from her lawyer’s statement, but it has not been served with the lawsuit yet.
The London-based organization gave no further comment. The WTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Brengle said the suit was aimed at forcing tennis officials to give more thought to players’ health.
“I am bringing this action in an effort to force those who control the sport I love to understand that players are not commodities and should be treated with respect and dignity,” she said in the statement.
“The unbridled authority of officials to subject players to the kind of abuse I suffered cannot be tolerated; players must have a say in matters involving our health and safety.”
Brengle lost her first-round match at the Charleston Open last week. The lawsuit comes less than two months after Canadian Eugenie Bouchard reached a settlement in her lawsuit with the U.S. Tennis Association after a fall at the 2015 U.S. Open resulted in her withdrawal and a concussion.