Monday, September 17, 2012

Testing Times: Roger Federer, 2011

Alix Ramsay (August 28, 2012): "Since 2003 and the drugs scandal that swept through men’s tennis, sweeping up Greg Rusedski as it went, tennis has cracked down harder and more regularly on any potential drugs cheats [...] Today, the top players can be tested, both in and out of competition, more than 20 times a year..."

2011 ITF Test Statistics:

NameNationality
In-Competition
Out-of-Competition
Federer, RogerSUI
4-6
1-3

Roger Federer's 2011 Playing Activity (Singles)

1Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Great Britain 20.11.2011 WC
2ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris, France 07.11.20111000
3Basel, Switzerland 31.10.2011500
4AUS vs SUI WG Play-Off, Australia 16.09.2011 DC
5US Open, NY, U.S.A. 29.08.2011 GS
6ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati, OH, U.S.A. 14.08.20111000
7ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada, Montreal, Canada 08.08.20111000
8SUI vs. POR EAG 1 2nd RD, Switzerland 08.07.2011 DC
9Wimbledon, Great Britain 20.06.2011 GS
10Roland Garros, France 22.05.2011 GS
11ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome, Italy 08.05.20111000
12ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid, Spain 01.05.20111000
13ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo, Monaco 10.04.20111000
14ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami, FL, U.S.A. 23.03.20111000
15ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells, CA, U.S.A. 10.03.20111000
16Dubai, U.A.E. 21.02.2011500
17Australian Open, Australia 17.01.2011 GS
18Doha, Qatar 03.01.2011250

60 comments:

  1. And I'm guessing the "1-3" Out of Competition tests is closer to 1 than it is to 3...

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    1. I think there were 132 players tested OOC at least once in 2011, but only four of those were in the 4-6 category. It's hard to say based on the data whether one or two tests was the median, but it is very unlikely that the median was three. If it had been, you would expect to see way more 4-6s than four.

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    2. The "1-3" was put in after this blog uncovered the fact that a lot of players ditched one of their tests. I think, for the most part, they are still scheduled for two tests and if they are only listed as having 1 test, we would know that they probably skipped one, so they put that "1-3" in to hide what is going on.

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    3. Then when you talk about the average (mean), there were 132 players tested OOC for a total of 216 samples (195 urine; 21 blood). If you assume that all 21 blood samples were accompanied by a urine sample, that means there were 195 OOC tests on 132 individuals in 2011. That rounds to 1.48 OOC tests per person tested. If you assume that the four people in the "4-6" category were tested precisely four times each, that would mean that the average for the other 128 people who were tested drops to 1.40. If the four people in the "4-6" category averaged five tests each, that would drop the average for the other 128 people to 1.37. That shows to some degree of certainty that the "average" player was tested closer to one time, as opposed to twice. It also says nothing of the many players in the pool who were tested zero times, which pulls the average down further if you include them in the discussion.

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    4. mrn10: if you want to quantify the ITF effort, the numbers you use have to include all the missed tests too

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    5. That analysis shows undeniably that the majority of players in the pool received no more than one OOC test. Even if you assume that every single player accumulated two missed tests, that means that three or fewer tests were ATTEMPTED on more than 50% of the players. It's, of course, ridiculous to assume that everybody has two missed tests. Especially when you consider that the 2011 stats look very much like the 2010 stats, and the missed tests from the last 6 months of 2010 would carry over into all of 2011. As such, by any measure, the ITF failed to make four test ATTEMPTS on the vast majority of players in the pool in 2011. That's unacceptable.

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    6. I am not saying it is acceptable, I am just saying that the figures you just wrote in your last postings are more closer to the real ones if you want to quantify the ITF effort.

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    7. I disagree. I was saying in the last post that we know to a certainty that three or fewer test attempts were made on over 50% of players in the pool in 2011. We can assume that each player in the pool had two missed tests during 2011, and it's still an absolute fact that over 50% of the players had three or fewer attempted OOC tests.

      When you consider that the OOC stats from 2010 look similar, I think we can go a lot further pretty confidently and say that probably over half of the players in the 2011 pool were subjected to two or fewer attempted tests. We can't be certain of that, but the data leads to the conclusion that at the very least a very large minority of players in the pool were subjected to two or fewer attempted tests. Otherwise, you're left trying to make the argument that testing numbers in 2010 were small, because players were skipping tests which reduced the appearance of what the ITF was actually doing. Then lo and behold, you have all those same players missing two more tests in 2011 (which isn't mathematically possible without a violation coming out). No whereabouts violations have come out.

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    8. I don't know what you disagree with. I don't see any contradiction between what I wanted you to include and what you did afterwards.

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    9. I don't think my later post more accurately paints the picture of what the ITF is doing than my first post does. That's where we disagree. If you want to build in a bunch of assumed missed tests to make it look like the ITF is doing more, that actually raises other questions about why the percentage of missed tests is so high as compared to the successful tests.

      Either the average player had two or fewer attempted tests in 2011, or approximately half or more of the ITF attempted tests in 2011 resulted in missed tests.

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    10. It should be kept in mind that tests with "no sample collected" are not equivalent to "missed tests." A "missed test" means no sample was collected, but "no sample collected" doesn't mean a "missed test."

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    11. mrn,
      Good stat breakdown. I think it points to the same thing I mentioned above: Players are generally scheduled for 2 tests and half of the players (maybe even more than half, now) miss one of their tests, making it necesssary to take only 1 out of competition test per year (if that). That would keep us in the range of 50 missed out of competition tests each year, give or take. It is interesting to note the players who were tested more than three times out of competition. That didn't happen at all in '09. There must have been some reason. Maybe they skipped several tests. Maybe they had some suspicious results.

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    12. Sen,
      Are you talking about from the ITF's official designation of a missed test? I'm assuming that, with a few possible exceptions, the sample was not collected because the test was missed (player was not available).

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    13. Thanks, THASP. I think what Sen is referring to is a stipulation in the ITF rules that allow them to go to do an OOC test, fail to collect a sample, and then not count the test as a "missed test" OR as a "failure to provide a sample." In those instances, it's as if they never even came in the first place.

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    14. Yes. I refer to this memo from the WTA: "It is to a player’s benefit to request an administrative review and raise all possible defenses to an alleged whereabouts failure prior to the failure being recorded against her."

      http://www.wtatennis.com/SEWTATour-Archive/Archive/AboutTheTour/2012antidopingenglish.pdf

      We have no idea how strict/lenient the ITF is being in these cases.

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    15. 7.5.3 (a) If the Review Board determines that the alleged Filing Failure or Missed Test should not be recorded against the Player, the ITF shall notify the Player, as well as WADA, the Player’s National Anti-Doping Organisation, and any other Anti-Doping Organisation with a right of appeal against that decision under Article 12. Subject to any such appeal, the matter shall not proceed any further.

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    16. mrn,
      Right, so that would be a test where "no sample was collected." The enabling ITF might not count it as a missed test, but it is recorded ( or was at least in '09). Barring the testers not being able to find someone's house, I assume that those were tests ditched by athletes. I'm less interested in what the ITF "deems" a missed test. I think it is more important to know how many tests are actually missed. The "panic room" incident being a good example. The ITF can explain any disparity between the two figures if they want.

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    17. I'll draw one distinction, THASP. I would be extremely interested in whether they count it as a "missed test" for an athlete that already has two missed tests. That would be the third missed test and result in a violation. If the ITF has discretion to some degree in determining whether a "no sample" test is treated as a missed test (perhaps even if the athlete is home), that discretion could allow them to determine whether that athlete is hit with a three-strike violation or not.

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    18. mrn10: The later complements the first. If you add 1 or 2 missed tests per player, it may double the original number of 138 or so. It may not contradict the general statiscal trend you're getting, or the final conclusion you may come up to, but it would be much more complete.

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    19. mrn,
      I would be interested, too. The fact is that most of the players only seem to miss one recorded test (If we can believe the '09 "no sample was collected" data), and almost no players missed two tests. Mathematically, you would expect that, if half the players missed one test, half of those would miss the second test. Yet, we didn't get 25 players missing two tests. Granted, if you miss a test, you will try harder to make the next one, but it all just seemed too clean and perfect. It's almost as if missing a test is part of the program and players have some idea when a test is coming.

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    20. That's true, but it's also an 18 month cycle. All the missed tests from calendar 2009 would've applied to at least the last six months of 2008 and the first six months of 2010. You could theoretically have one missed test in each of three consecutive calendar years, and you could still have a three-strike violation. For instance, December 2010; January 2011; January 2012. That would be three missed tests in roughly 13 months with none of them in the same calendar year.

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    21. Yet with one quarter of the tests missed, we have almost no violations...

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    22. Right. That just speaks to how few tests they're doing. There's no risk for guys in the OOC program. If you're going to test clean, you stay home and subject yourself to the test. If you're going to test dirty, you take a missed test. One could argue that maybe the OOC tests aren't landing anything, because the players are almost all clean. The problem is that the data shows that if players are dirty, they are not being forced into taking tests when they would test dirty. That's what needs to be rectified. Make that change, and then there would be some degree of certainty that players are clean (or at least what they can do is being limited). Preaching to the choir, I know.

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  2. Since when has the Daily Express ever bothered with the facts?

    Although they do have a comment feature so someone might like to point the readers to this blog.

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  3. This may be a completely stupid question, but it won't be my first. I would assume the ITF and USADA share their information. Otherwise if a player missed 2 ITF tests and 1 USADA test in an 18-month period how would either know to suspend the player for 3 missed tests in an 18-month period? The ITF is in England and I shouldn't have to point out the country where the USADA is located. Both countries have "Freedom of Information Acts" that pertain to governmental agencies. However, at least in the US, the FOIA seems to also be partially applicable to non-profits that attain funding from the Government, which USADA does - I don't know about the ITF. See the following link:

    http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/IEEE/ieee34.htm

    It may be a stretch but I wonder if Richard Ings or mrn10dave (who I think is a lawyer - sorry to offend you if you're not) would know if FOIA can be used to get the missed test data from either of these organizations?

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    1. the link I provided may only be applicable to "research"

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    2. I like how you phrased the question about me being a lawyer, like I'd be offended it I was falsely accused of being a lawyer. That's pretty funny.

      I'm not a FOIA expert, but I'm not aware of any way to get at the USADA test data from a FOIA angle. That generally only applies to executive branch departments and agencies. I don't think the exception that you pointed to would be applicable in this case.

      As to your question about sharing, here's a link to the USADA page where USADA says that anybody in their whereabouts program has to sign "Confirmation of the Athlete’s consent to the sharing of his or her Whereabouts Filing and other anti-doping information with other anti-doping organizations." Further down on that page, it says, "Any combination of three Whereabouts Failures (Filing Failures and/or Missed Tests), declared by USADA, WADA or an IF, within an 18 month period = Anti-Doping Rule Violation."

      I think that data would be available on a "shared" basis through the ADAMS database.

      http://www.usada.org/whereabouts/

      http://www.wada-ama.org/en/ADAMS/

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    3. mrn,

      That was my lame attempt at humor. It's the best I can do.

      From what I can tell FOIA would not apply. However, somewhat interestingly, each state has its own quasi-FOIA/Sunshine-type laws. USADA is in Colorado Springs.

      In Colorado under Title 24, Article 72-202-(6)(a)(I) "Public records" means and includes all writings made, maintained, or kept by the state, any agency, institution, a nonprofit corporation incorporated pursuant to section 23-5-121 (2), C.R.S.,.....

      USADA is a non-profit, presumably incorporated in Colorado pursuant to section 23-5-121(2), which is just Colorado's standard incorporation laws.

      http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/open/00openrec.htm

      While this may be a waste of time for an individual it would probably be easier for a journalist. If the organizations know the information can be attained by a journalist maybe they would just decide to go ahead and start making the information public, or maybe I just defined "wishful thinking."

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    4. 23-5-121 (2) in Colorado relates to nonprofits created to do science technology research at institutions of higher education.

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    5. SwissCheese I can answer that.

      The theory is yes there should be information sharing on whereabouts and missed tests between ADO's.

      WADA has invested heavily in a system called ADAMS which allows athlete to log whereabouts in the cloud and for that information to be accessibility to their IF and their NADO for testing purposes. Missed tests are then put back into the ADAMS system to keep a central repository so 3 strikes in 18 months will be flagged.

      But the reality is less inspiring. Despite the fantastic work of WADA, many NADO;s in particularly refuse to use ADAMS. Also there are disputes between NADO's and IF's on who has jurisdiction for OOC testing over an athlete (in other words whose RTP should they be in).

      The reality is that all ADO's should use ADAMS (ASADA does not which caused me allot of anguish when I was there. Don't get me started on the political reasons for begin unable to use ADAMS by ASADA) and IF's and NADO's should agree on which RTP an athlete should go in to.

      Basically international level athletes should be in the IF RTP and NADO tests if they are failures should be reported to the IF for them to manage as part of 3 strikes. But there is distrust between some NADO's and some IF's (IF's think that NADO's protect their national heroes and NADO's think that IF's protect their star athletes….I wish both would remember that national heroes and star athletes are one and the same).

      There you go. WADA Pulls its collective hair out at all this as ADAMS solves it all. And it is there to use and it is free to all NADO's and IF's.

      Personally I think WADA should make use of ADAMS mandatory under the Code. I bet WADA would if they had the political support of their members to do that.

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    6. Richard,

      Are you saying there may be cases where athletes have a combined three tests with two or more organizations (but not three with one organization) and a potential violation is never found? Obviously, jurisdiction could come up before the missed tests or when they're being put through a tribunal, but that's very different than saying three missed tests are not "caught" at all and the athlete just goes on his/her merry way.

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    7. From the WTA Memo I linked to earlier:

      "Currently, the ITF reviews alleged whereabouts violations declared by other Anti-Doping Organizations against players in the ITF Pool. Language has been added to the Program for 2012 to ensure that it is clear to other Anti-Doping Organizations that the ITF will only recognize whereabouts violations against players in the ITF Pool if the ITF Review Board confirms that the alleged violation meets the requirements of the International Standard for Testing."

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    8. Sen, I think in that case the ITF would be aware of what the other organization is calling a "missed test." The dispute then becomes whether the ITF calls it a missed test. What I'm wondering based on what Richard said is whether there are cases where a player may be sitting on a combined three missed tests, but no organization is aware that there are three missed tests to even fight over.

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    9. Ah, I see. That would be pretty poor communication between agencies.

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    10. Can this happen. Yes it can. But it shouldn't. Let me explain why.

      Firstly everyone should use ADAMS. If all use ADAMS it will never happen that an athlete can get 2 strikes from the NADO and 2 strikes from the IF.

      But even without ADAM's, IF and NADO's need protocols in place for this cooperation and agreement as to who will mange 3 missed tests.

      It should work like this.

      The IF and NADO discuss and agree that international level athletes do fall into the IF RTP. So the IF has responsibility for managing missed tests and "results management responsibility" for 3 missed tests.

      This is a big deal for a NADo as it means entering into heads of agreement with dozens and dozens of IF's. It is also a big deal for IF's as they are dozens and dozens of NADO's. And not all IF's and not all NADO's have the complete credibility of the other.

      Step 2 is if the NADO attempts an OOC test and it is a failure, the NADO writes it up and reports it to the IF for their consideration as a missed test. If the IF review board agrees it becomes an official missed test and the IF tells the athlete.

      Step 3 if there are 3 missed tests in 18 months, the IF handles the process of charging the athlete.

      But look does this work all the time. No. Indeed at ASADA when I started there I found a massive hole in this part of the process. ASADA had international level cyclists in its RTP doing whereabouts while at the same time the same athletes did whereabouts for their IF. It was like pulling teeth but we fixed that process by delegating RTP control to the IF for international level athletes and reporting any strikes to the IF. It has to work that way.

      But it was a political bun fight within ASADA to relinquish such control.

      I would suspect that there may be cases where strikes are not coordinated between NADO's and IF's.

      Which is why I suggest mandatory use of ADAMS for all ADO's as part of the Code.

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  4. Just to add a couple of comments.

    Firstly I think it is crystal clear to all that the tennis program needs a greater focus on OOC testing and especially target OOC testing.

    I have said as much in may previous posts.

    The issue now is what to suggest. This is both a political and a financial question. Political in that to go from 1-2 OOC per year to 22 OOC tests per year (I am being extreme but just to make the point), will lose the political support of the players. And the support of the player, like it or not, is crucial to a successful anti-dopign program.

    My suggestion is to move to an RTP of top 20 and ensure that they all receive a minimum of 4 OOC tests, full and complete OOC tests, targeted and no notice, in year one. It only takes a sample or two to determine from the blood and urine parameters if you have a suspicious athlete. If you do you target test some more to answer the question of if or if not doping is happening.

    To put that in perspective, the players raised by some on this forum as in their view suspicious, under this program, would likely receive 4-8 OOC target tests over a several month period in lead up to major period of competition and/or in the off season. As an anti-doping manager I would be very comfortable with that level of testing.

    That level of OOC testing I suggest is a major ramp up. But not to the point of alienating the players and likely to be accepted. Then you build further from there.

    In regard to the 22 tests reporting by USADA for swimming. That is a massive amount of testing. I can imagine several possible reasons for that:

    (1) It is an Olympic year and NADO's focus heavily on saturated testing especially of gold medal prospects. The goal being to have such a swag of tests in the bag that no one can accuse the athlete of doping. Remember that anti-doping is as much about protecting the reputation of clean athletes as it is about catching those using PED's.
    (2) Did USADA have a legitimate reason to saturate this swimmer with testing? Did they have intelligence or concerns? We will never know but don't discount it.

    Apart from the above I can't think of a reason why an athlete would be tested 22 times in 12 months.

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    1. I sign on to this proposal. Get some of the "suspicious" players in the eight test range (with others a little below that range), and I'll shut up. I'm certainly not suggesting testing everybody (or anybody) 22 times.

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    2. I agree. This would be huge improvement from the status quo. But I suspect that many players would still scream bloody murder.

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    3. This is where stakeholder management with the players is critical. When I worked at the ATP, I had access to the player leadership and the Player Council so I could "work the corridoors" so to speak drumming up player political support for tough changes.

      This is how we got blood testing introduced, and cannabis testing introduced, and OOC testing introduced. Without player support these things can't happen so you have to build that support by having a good case, showing the steps are reasonable and necessary and respecting that most players are clean and these impositions (and they are impositions) are reasonable to deal with the risk.

      I must admit I never had an issue with the players from 2000 to 2005 if you build relationships and trust with them, They want clean sport too and they just need to be shown why these steps are necessary and they will respond. But they won't respond to unilateral steps without explanation.

      Indeed back in my period we were doing several OOC tests on top 10 each year, and we were routinely testing both winners and losers of matches (I had a strategy of testing all 8 players on quarterfinal day on Friday and then coming back sometimes to test all 4 semi-finalists on Saturday..which gave me 12 good samples including back to back urine and blood and EPO on the 4 semi-finalists).

      It can be done but it has to be built in cooperation with the players through their leadership. They will respond in my experience if the case is a good one.

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    4. I like this idea. Like you said, you have to start slowly and increase the tests slightly (even though I think 4 OOC tests are still too few).

      I agree with Sen though - the players will still scream bloody murder over the testing (*cough*Andy Murray*cough*) even if it increased by only one or two tests. To them, they constantly say they are tested too much (even though the stats don't support that).



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  5. Some of the women need to be tested too. I can think of a bunch of players that I can tell are using.

    Alex
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    1. That is not the correct conclusion to draw.

      "So, as far as I’m concerned, everyone from Roger Federer on down to the most desperate journeyman is a potential doper..."

      -Pete Bodo, Tennis Sportswriter, 2006

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    4. There is none, David. Sen may rightly argue (quoting Pete Bodo, of all people) that anyone's a potential doper (so is anyone in the world, including all of us), but there's actually zero evidence that Federer dopes.
      And you don't even need to ban Murray. Your argument would still stand with just Nadal and Djokovic banned - Federer would have won the lot, provided his back held up (which it isn't doing too well right now, apparently).
      There is one saving grace, however. If Federer really had won every GS since 2005, men's tennis would have become so predictable as to be pointless. So the combined efforts of coach, doctor and authorities to transform Nadal from someone who could barely make the top 50 into a GS winner has at least kept tennis afloat. That's the price for Fed of being so far ahead of the rest - others have to cheat to keep up with you. If they didn't, you would have no real competition and tennis would be nigh pointless even for you. Maybe that is one reason why Roger tolerates the situation - he needs the competition. And I guess tennis does too. Sounds like I'm making an argument for doping here! Time to shut up ....

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    6. I refer you to my posts on EPO testing. According to the ITF, EPO testing was only conducted if a blood screen indicated that a player may be using a drug. Federer and other top players were tested for EPO.

      http://tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.ca/2012/02/epo-testing-revisited-wrap-up-part-four.html

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    8. Taking what Stuart Miller said at face value, the conclusion must be that something showed up in the blood screen. Given the rarity of Miller giving useful information, I find no reason to doubt his statement.

      On the 8 year storage, given the quality of ITF testing (and the low probability that they would retest), it doesn't mean much. If he called for more out of competition testing then I would be impressed.

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    9. So, SNR, you are implying this was a publicity stunt for Federer, because he knows that "the quality of ITF testing is poor" (meaning the quality of samples?) and because he knew the low probability that they would retest? You could have also added because he knew that the probability they would listen to his suggestion is very low, but fortunately you didn't.
      And for you to rely on opinions of Bodo and interpretation of a statement of Miller is pretty funny.
      So I don't know what to make of your response, I am actually disappointed, and out it on the account of you trying to be evenhanded to better advance your cause. Which I disagree with. If a player actually had a freaking useful suggestion, I think we should endorse it.

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    10. "Federer and other top players were tested for EPO", Sen. yes. But - correct me if I'm wrong - I think you forgot to mention that the top players on that occasion were the finalists - all of them, including all 4 doubles finalists - at that GS (Wimbledon?), and only the finalists. That seems to suggest they were tested because they were finalists, not because they were suspect.

      Moreover, it seems they passed that test, otherwise we would have seen some suspicious disappearances from the tour, or am I mistaken?

      So, David, I think you are right about that too. As for Nadal, I saw him play undoped (or at least seriously underdoped) at the WTF 2009 and he was a shadow (physically and reaction-wise) of his Roland Garros self and failed to win a set in the round robin (did not get past that stage, of course). Even with partial dope he can lose there 63 60 to Federer (IW this year was another thrashing example, outdoors, and that was after the AO). I seriously doubt he would have got anywhere near the top 10 without dope.

      But we've been here many times before. Sen, I appreciate how important it is for this blog not to be seen as a Federer fansite, but please don't lose sight of the facts. As JMF says, Bodo and Miller are anything but reliable witnesses.


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    12. "Are you saying that was only possible because he was back fully on the dope a couple of weeks later?"

      I can only say: very possibly, yes. But, like everyone else, I have no hard evidence. We have only results and career patterns to go on. Nadal's career pattern, with its constant dropouts and unexplained losses of form interspersed with bouts of invincibility, is extremely unusual to say the least. But that is well documented elsewhere.
      How far Nadal would have got without dope can only be a matter of opinion, sad to say. I would love to think he might have been almost as good without dope, but on the evidence I've seen I have to doubt it. His style of play, depending hugely on speed, strength, endurance and impregnable defence, lends itself to PEDs, and without them those attributes seem to disappear. The difference between Nadal from Oct to Dec (and some other periods of the year) and Nadal at the AO or RG is astronomical, as you must have noticed. Clearly he's more talented than Wayne Odesnik, but that is not saying a lot. Nor am I trying to say (of course) that everyone who dopes becomes a GS champion - obviously not, but winning GSs is not the point or the realistic goal for most. Talent, strategy and determination obviously count, as Djokovic's interesting career shows very clearly. To my mind he is far more naturally talented than Nadal, but that's another story. He too is largely a defensive player, however, and one who suddenly developed unrivalled endurance in 2011 - interesting to say the least.

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    13. And add confidence and aggression to the list of attributes helped by PEDs. That has been well documented by those who admit to having experienced them.

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    14. There's really nothing I can say further on this point without causing a religious war. You're either willing to entertain doubts about all players or you're not. Sure, there may be more reason to doubt some players more than others, but to be certain that a particular player isn't doping has no foundation.

      We've established that the tennis anti-doping program isn't going to stop anybody from doping, except the very stupid. All the top players have the means (resources and access), motive (financial gains and prestige), and opportunity (weak controls) to engage in doping with minimal risk of detection.

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    1. "I'm guessing that you've spent a lot of time on discussion boards fighting horrible Nadal fans"

      Nope. You guess totally wrong! There are no other tennis-related discussion boards that I bother to read, let alone "spend time on", as you put it. There are far more important things in life than dissing Nadal, still less his fans, whose point of view I can well understand - that may surprise you. This discussion was - I thought - not about dissing Nadal or anyone else, but about the TRUTH of what goes on in tennis while the authorities turn a blind eye. Sorry you appear to feel differently about that.

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