Friday, September 7, 2012

A Little Traction (Update #2)

Courtney Walsh of The Australian has penned a piece called "Tennis forced to face moment of truth."

It's nothing groundbreaking, but here's a couple of bits:
...While The Weekend Australian does not allege [Sara] Errani is involved in any wrongdoing, there has long been suspicious about doping in tennis...
...Even at club level in Melbourne, several players have raised doubts with this journalist about the legitimacy of some Australians attempting to make a living at the elite level.
...In an interview with Australian journalist Will Swanton for a soon-to-be-published book called The Slams that goes behind the scenes of this year's majors, legendary American coach Nick Bollettieri shared similar views to [James] Blake. "If I said tennis is totally clean, I would be kidding myself," he said.
Update #1: In another potential moment of truth, "World cycling’s governing body is considering introducing an amnesty for riders and officials to confess to doping offenses in the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong case."


  1. Very interesting article. Nothing new for us, but for a mainstream, national press article it's a very good start. Bollettieri said it perfectly, he said something impossible for any thinking person to disagree with. That if tennis, top tennis, is totally clean, that's Totally. Clean. You'd have to be seriously joking...

  2. As for Errani, her pathetic response to the respectable questions posed to her the other day was telling. She completely contradicted her brother's so-called quote (more likely Sara Errani's PR person's quote) that she had only had a routine cardiac exam from Del Moral. This was printed by serious newspapers as though giving her side of the story.

    Now she has admitted, if she gave that lie any thought in the first place, that it is complete nonsense. A lie. She had been working with him and never conclusively said she wouldn't continue to.

    She is more conclusively suspicious than ever after this recent interview response.

  3. It's just a totally odd situation. She states that she spoke with the ITF. There's only two ways that can happen, stating the obvious: she can go to the ITF or the ITF can go to her. It seems very odd to me that the ITF would make a point of going to one of its athletes for the sole purpose of telling them that they DON"T have to stop working with a banned doctor, which seems to be what she was told. Why would the ITF initiate that conversation? "Sara, we just want ot make clear that you don't have to stop working with Dr. del Moral, just in case you were concerned." HUH?? I can understand if they were to initiate a conversation to tell her she can't work with him. But if they can't stop her in the first place why would they in effect double down on their inability to stop her by initiating a conversation to remind her she can still work with him if she wants to? It just seems very odd. Now, if Errani went to the ITF then she's even a bigger liar than she already appears to be. If she had no intention of working with him, as she sort of kind of almost hinted at considering to think about possibly not exactly possibly doing again, why on earth go to the ITF? To verify that it's ok to stop working with a banned doctor?? What sense does that make? If she went to the ITF it is clearly because she wanted to know if she could still work with him.

    All in all I still think the story is bigger than Errani and as commendable as it is that some reporters are finally asking Errani about it, in my opinion, it's doubly disgusting that Ferrer is getting a free pass. Consciously choosing to confront Errani while consciously choosing to ignore Ferrer is pretty damn gutless, unless, and this may be the case, the reporters have done so little of their own investigating that they don't even realize Errani wasn't the only tennis player working with del Moral.

    1. I think the reporters asked Errani because I/we asked them to. We got more from Erarni than I expected. I doubt the Ferrer would say much at all.

      As for the ITF interaction with Eranni, I covered that off in a previous post but suffice to say it would likely have gone like this.

      The ITF would contact Errani. Tell her that Dr Moral is banned, Explaining to her what that ban means (i.e the good doc is warned off all involvement with tennis). Telling her that while the ITF can't stop her or any player working privately with Dr Moral, that the ITF would strongly suggest she cease her working relationship with the good doc.

      There is no tennis rule banning contact between a player and a banned athlete support person. Without such a rule no sport can force an athlete not to associate with a banned athlete support person.

      I bet they (ITF) are drafting one (a rule to ban players associating with banned athlete support persons) as we speak for the new rulebook in 2013. The ITF should also draft a rule allowing provisional suspensions for non-analytical cases to avoid a repeat of Odesnik playing on while convicted of hGH importation.

      Sometimes in running a sport you learn these permutation of events fall through cracks in your rules when the events fall trough cracks in your rules! At the ATP I was adding, removing, tweaking rules every year as you run into a situation that isn't covered or not covered well int he rules you have on the books.

    2. I've been in situations where I was part of building a process from the ground up, and I've been in situations where the process was firmly in place and we were occasionally making tweaks. I take your point about how this could be viewed as a tweak for a system that's largely in place, but I don't think that explains away the bigger issue: the ITF program has major issues with transparency and implementation of an efficient, effective anti-doping program. They have the type of issues you expect to see from an organization that is building a program from the ground up (they're not anymore; you were).

      While this particular rule change may not be something they would've thought to ahead of time, it's difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt as much as you would for an organization that's clearly progressive and transparent. If I saw them doing something as insignificant as testing on off-days at slams, or explaining how a tester can show up at somebody's house and not collect a sample (then not tell us if it's considered a missed test), I would be much less concerned about the exact wording of the conversation they had with Errani.

      It becomes difficult to distinguish between the adjustments they need to make as part of an ongoing, effective program and the adjustments they need to make because they weren't doing this as effectively as possible to start with. We're not forced to weed through those distinctions with a forthright organization that's clearly doing its best.

  4. McQuaid's idea of a truth commission is one that will allow him to get away with his corruption and to let Armstrong off the hook.

    Sen - you might also be interested in the story about the California State Athletic Commission and the lack of testing at the last Strikeforce MMA event. Apparently they completely messed up the testing and the whole organization is a farce. I looked at it but couldn't make head or tail of what had happened.

  5. A bit of irony in Nick Bollettieri being quoted...

    1. If Bollettieri wanted to tell us a little about how clean or unclean tennis is, I don't think he's need to rely on his imagination at all.

  6. I appreciate that Errani was asked these questions, but she was a far easier target than Ferrer. Tennis journalists are less familiar with her and they stand to lose less face by looking tough with her. They'll never ask Ferrer any hard questions. If Ferrer refused to answer, that's his problem, and it's not generally a valid reason for a reporter to avoid asking a question.

  7. The ipta story is now hidden behind a paywall/members forum barrier.