Friday, June 1, 2012

AFLD v. ITF, Part 2: Proving The Rule

A recent post noted the ongoing attempts by the French anti-doping authority (AFLD) to gain a stronger role in testing ATP/WTA events held in France and the ITF's resistance to the AFLD's request. There can be little doubt that the ITF's resistance to the AFLD's overtures is based on the events of 2009.

The reason: 2009 is the exception that proves the rule. In 2009, the AFLD conducted supplementary testing at Roland Garros. This event is the lone aberration from loser-targeted testing observed at Grand Slam events that I have reviewed between 2006-2009 (the only years of data for which such analysis can be done). On the men's side, I've identified 13 players that received a surprise off-day test, including Federer, Nadal, Ferrer, Verdasco, Tsonga, Soderling, and Del Potro. The Nadal-Verdasco-Ferrer surprise tests made the news.

After years of loser-targeted testing, it appears the AFLD's unexpected testing disrupted the routines (whatever they may have been) of some players. It appears that this disruption was not appreciated by the players or the ITF.

It's disappointing the ITF is resisting the AFLD efforts to make doping controls at Grand Slam event more strict. It's even more disappointing that the other anti-doping organizations aren't taking similar action to get more involved in testing tennis events. Of even further disappointment is the general lack of interest by the media and fans.

Here's the data. First, the off-day tests:

 Last Name    First Name   Nationality  Test date  
 Polansky    Peter    CAN    23/05/2009  
 Stakhovsky    Sergiy    UKR    23/05/2009  
 Federer    Roger    SUI    27/05/2009  
 Monaco    Juan    ARG    27/05/2009  
 Tsonga    Jo-Wilfried    FRA    27/05/2009  
 Ferrer    David    ESP    28/05/2009  
 Nadal    Rafael    ESP    28/05/2009  
 Verdasco    Fernando    ESP    28/05/2009  
 Andreev    Igor    RUS    29/05/2009  
 Del Potro  Juan Martin  ARG    29/05/2009  
 Bryan    Mike    USA    01/06/2009  
 Soderling    Robin    SWE    01/06/2009  
 Gonzalez    Fernando    CHI    03/06/2009  




And here's all the 2009 Roland Garros tests for the men:

 Last Name    First Name    Test date   Draw Round Result
 Gregorc   Luka   21/05/2009 Qualifying 2 Lost
 Jenkins    Scoville    21/05/2009   Qualifying 2 Lost
 Mahut    Nicolas    21/05/2009   Qualifying 2 Lost
 Munoz De La Na    Daniel    21/05/2009   Qualifying 2 Lost
 Ram    Rajeev    21/05/2009   Qualifying 2 Lost
 Stephane    Robert    21/05/2009   Qualifying 2 Lost
 Ascione    Thierry    22/05/2009   Qualifying 3 Lost
 Cuevas    Pablo    22/05/2009   Qualifying 3 Lost
 De Chaunac    Sebastien    22/05/2009   Qualifying 3 Lost
 Delic    Amer    22/05/2009   Qualifying 3 Lost
 Ouahab    Lamine    22/05/2009   Qualifying 3 Lost
 Rosol    Lukas    22/05/2009   Qualifying 3 Lost
 Polansky    Peter    23/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Stakhovsky    Sergiy    23/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Gaudio    Gaston    24/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Hernych    Jan    24/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Karlovic    Ivo    24/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Querrey    Sam    24/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Giraldo    Satiago    25/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Koellerer    Daniel    25/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Phau    Bjorn    25/05/2009   Singles Withdrew
 Recouderc    Laurent    25/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Vanek    Jiri    25/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Baghdatis    Marcos    26/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Blake    James    26/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Kubot    Lukasz    26/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Lapentti    Nicolas    26/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Llodra    Michael    26/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Navarro Pastor    Ivan    26/05/2009   Singles 1 Lost
 Federer    Roger    27/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Llodra    Michael    27/05/2009   Doubles 1 Lost
 Machado    Rui    27/05/2009   Singles 2 Lost
 Monaco    Juan    27/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Montcourt    Mathieu    27/05/2009   Singles 2 Lost
 Santoro    Fabrice    27/05/2009   Doubles 1 Lost
 Sela    Dudi    27/05/2009   Singles 2 Lost
 Starace    Potito    27/05/2009   Singles 2 Lost
 Tsonga    Jo-Wilfried    27/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Andujar    Pablo    28/05/2009   Singles 2 Lost
 Arnold    Lucas    28/05/2009   Doubles 1 Lost
 Ferrer    David    28/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Nadal    Rafael    28/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Pala    Petr    28/05/2009   Doubles Withdrew
 Troicki    Viktor    28/05/2009   Singles 2 Lost
 Verdasco    Fernando    28/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Zeballos    Horacio    28/05/2009   Doubles 1 Lost
 Andreev    Igor    29/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Del Potro  Juan Martin  29/05/2009   Singles Off-day
 Ferrer    David    29/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Fyrstenberg    Mariusz    29/05/2009   Doubles 2 Lost
 Kubot    Lukasz    29/05/2009   Doubles 1 Lost
 Marach    Oliver    29/05/2009   Doubles 1 Lost
 Matkowski    Marcin    29/05/2009   Doubles 2 Lost
 Ouanna    Josselin    29/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Simon    Gilles    29/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Stepanek    Radek    29/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Djokovic    Novak    30/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Friedl    Leos    30/05/2009   Doubles 2 Lost
 Gicquel    Marc    30/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Gonzalez    Maximo    30/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Mathieu    Paul-Henri    30/05/2009   Singles 3 Lost
 Simon    Gilles    30/05/2009   Mixed Withdrew
 Skoch    David    30/05/2009   Doubles 2 Lost
 Cilic    Marin    31/05/2009   Singles 4 Lost
 Hanescu    Victor    31/05/2009   Singles 4 Lost
 Nadal    Rafael    31/05/2009   Singles 4 Lost
 Verdasco    Fernando    31/05/2009   Singles 4 Lost
 Acasuso    Jose    01/06/2009   Doubles Q Lost
 Bryan    Mike    01/06/2009   Doubles Off-day
 Gonzalez    Fernando    01/06/2009   Doubles Q Lost
 Kohlschreiber    Philipp    01/06/2009   Singles 4 Lost
 Roddick    Andy    01/06/2009   Singles 4 Lost
 Soares    Bruno    01/06/2009   Doubles Q Lost
 Soderling    Robin    01/06/2009   Singles Off-day
 Ullyett    Kevin    01/06/2009   Doubles Q Lost
 Davydenko    Nicolay    02/06/2009   Singles Q Lost
 Kunitsyn    Igor    02/06/2009   Doubles Q Lost
 Murray    Andy    02/06/2009   Singles Q Lost
 Tursunov    Dmitry    02/06/2009   Doubles Q Lost
 Gonzalez    Fernando    03/06/2009   Singles Off-day
 Mirnyi    Max    03/06/2009   Mixed S Lost
 Monfils    Gael    03/06/2009   Singles Q Lost
 Robredo    Tommy    03/06/2009   Singles Q Lost
 Bryan    Bob    04/06/2009   Doubles S Lost
 Bryan    Mike    04/06/2009   Doubles S Lost
 Melo    Marcelo    04/06/2009   Mixed F Lost
 Nestor    Daniel    04/06/2009   Doubles S Lost
 Zimonjic    Nenad    04/06/2009   Doubles S Lost
 Del Potro    Juan Martin    05/06/2009   Singles S Lost
 Gonzalez    Fernando    05/06/2009   Singles S Lost
 Laaksonen    Henri    05/06/2009   Boys S Lost
 Schulz    Dominik    05/06/2009   Boys S Lost
 Dlouhy    Lukas    06/06/2009   Doubles F Won
 Moodie    Wesley    06/06/2009   Doubles F Lost
 Norman    Dick    06/06/2009   Doubles F Lost
 Paes    Leander    06/06/2009   Doubles F Won
 Berta    Daniel    07/06/2009   Boys F Won
 Federer    Roger    07/06/2009   Singles F Won
 Mina    Gianni    07/06/2009   Boys F Lost
 Soderling    Robin    07/06/2009   Singles F Lost

Sources:

Testing Statistics: ITF
Match Statistics (to match test dates with matches): Tennis Explorer

11 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what difference would it make since players are probably taking PEDs when they are out of competition, before the big events even start.
    Don't think they would carry doping products with them. At the Masters Series they don't even have off days.
    Until the ITF starts testing players multiple times out of competition (not just once or twice a year) nothing will change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John,

      I agree that the major doping is occurring out of competition and that a lot more OOC testing is needed.

      But as I've stated many times, there can be no question that recovery PEDs are being taken in-competition at Grand Slams with pretty much zero risk. And at non-Grand Slam events (e.g., Master Series), testing typically wraps up before the quarterfinals (if there is any testing at all), so the opportunities are there as well.

      Also, I doubt (smart) players are carrying anything. It will be through their entourages and other agents.

      Delete
  2. Interesting selection of players they picked to offday test. I wonder how they chose those ......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ....and a thought that popped into mind just as I clicked post: if it is known an organisation does target testing, and player names are published, that's tantamount to saying "we suspect X is a doper". I wonder if that leads to pressure to keep the names of the tested private.

      Delete
    2. I would think the pressure would only come from athletes that dope. If you're clean, why would you care? Also, given that tennis players so often speak publicly about their tests (e.g. Nadal, Murray, others) it doesn't seem that privacy is a concern for them.

      Also, the WADA Code explicitly allows the publication of names and dates of testing, so the practice is permitted.

      Delete
    3. Well They should target all teh top 10 and then randomly thereafter. This way there woudl be no "suspect" factor.

      Delete
  3. Lists of players tested can be published. In a previous post I showed alpha list of players and when they were tests in a year that I published annually when I ran the ATP program.

    I felt this transparency was necessary as players were always complaining that "you test me but you never test him". The tables I published showed exactly who was tested and where.

    SEN knows where to find those alpha tables from 2001-2005 and they are also posted on the ITF website.

    The players greatly supported this publication of how testing applied to individuals. It was approved by the then Player Council as a measure with full support. And it stopped the gossip and speculation that some players were escaping testing. It shows that top 10 players were being tested and that the higher your ranking the more you were likely to be tested.

    Top 10 players in this period were being tested by me an average of once per month for urine and 2 times per year pretty much for blood.

    There was a downside to this publication. And not one that you would think. The political pressure (and this blog forms part of that) is to skew testing to the top 10. In a finite world of resources, heavy skewing to test the top 10 means less testing elsewhere. And professional tennis is a huge sport with a massive player population.

    The heavy skewing to the top 10 meant that lower ranked player had little to no testing. When I started testing at Challengers (and these were the first ever challenger tests) I found doping positives at nearly every tournament I went to. I found players who were stunned to see a tester as they had never encountered one at challengers ever. This expectation lead players at that level to believe that testing never took place at challengers and therefore they could do what they liked. And I believe many did until I closed that door by introducing testing.

    And beside, as I have stated, even the best testing and lots of it will not result in a positive by the best and smartest doper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To the extent that you're willing to talk about specific substances that the players in challengers were taking, what were they? I'm obviously not asking you to discuss any names of players, just common substances that kept popping up.

      Delete
  4. Guess which of the last 7 Roland Garros (2005-2011) didn´t win Rafael Nadal. (Note: in 2005 French Open's Final, Mariano Puerta was tested positive...)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey, I just got some old data that shows how great drug testing was during my tenure. Agassi wasn't tested much and everyone knows he had a couple of positive tests, but those were probably mistakes. This proves that tennis is clean.
    Sincerely,
    Not Richard Ings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THASP..interesting irony..misplaced..but interesting..

      Agassi was largely playing challengers at that time. He was tested at Slams where he was getting by on wildcards. Agassi had no positive tests from 2001 to 2005 when I ran the ATP program.

      But I never say and have never said that clean tests equal a clean sport. Quite the reverse. I have been extremely vocal that testing will catch a fraction of dopers and that most dopers will skate through the enormous gaps in even the most thorough testing program,.

      Marion Jones had 160 clean tests when she was working with Victor. A clean test just means it wasn't positive.

      Delete