In 2018, veteran tennis professional Madison Brengle took on the governing bodies of the tennis world, the International Tennis Federation and the Women’s Tennis Association, along with their blood testing affiliates, to challenge the abusive procedures used to police tennis’ anti-doping program. Tennis authorities ignored Madison’s diagnosed condition that made needle insertion both extremely painful and inflicted long- term, permanent physical damage. Madison brought damage claims based on allegations of battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Madison made it clear that the anti-doping program is vital to the integrity of the sport but that updated procedures had to be instituted to protect the players’ health and safety. Together with her Attorney, Peter R. Ginsberg of Moskowitz, Colson, Ginsberg & Schulman, Madison has waged a battle for more than four years for herself and all athletes. This struggle has finally come to an end with a confidential settlement reached with the International Tennis Federation.
Madison is a pioneer in challenging tennis’ most powerful institutions in her effort to safeguard the health of players. In the course of the battle, tennis authorities radically changed blood testing by agreeing to use a non-invasive process for anti-doping testing involving a WADA-approved dried blood spot testing; tennis authorities, well before changing its practice for all tennis players, agreed to halt invasive testing of Madison, recognizing her diagnosed health condition; and, now have finally put an end to the litigation. The implications of having an approved, less invasive blood testing method are far reaching. All athletes involved with WADA-affiliated organizations should now be able to ask for a less invasive method when needed.
While Madison’s physical injuries are permanent, and include partial paralysis of her arm— compromising her ability to serve—this battle has shown her colleagues on the Tour that battling the authorities, while long and difficult, sometimes is both necessary and productive. She leaves behind a more humane, while equally effective, testing procedure. “I am glad that the battle is over, but most proud of how the battle was waged and the contributions made to professional tennis,” Madison explained in announcing resolution of the litigation.