Update #1: Breaking news from Cyclingnews.com: "Stade 2, the weekly television sports show by France 2, claims that the American Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is in possession of blood samples from Lance Armstrong, which they have retested and have now come back positive for performance-enhancing drugs."
David Howman, director general of the WADA: “Science can’t decide everything...These days, you need to complement a testing program with the gathering of evidence with other methods. To build your case, you put together strands that make one strong rope.”
Christiane Ayotte, the head of the WADA-accredited Montreal lab: “We’re at the point that if we’re not using these indirect markers, you can just forget about a case. For example, oral testosterone and microdoses of EPO will be detectable for only 12 hours. You just about have to be there when the athlete is doping to catch them.”
Don Catlin, the former head of the U.C.L.A. Olympic Analytical Laboratory: "“There’s a notion that, oh, they have drug testing, there are no more doping problems in the sport, but unfortunately that is not the case...The testing is just not that good. There are holes. There are loopholes, and we’re constantly trying to plug them...Athletes, particularly the most successful ones, have a complex network of people around them to figure out how to beat the drug tests.”
In tennis, we have an environment of a weak testing regime coupled with (based on the results of the Wayne Odesnik and Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral incidents) a complete lack of evidence gathering and other investigative capabilities. The most rationale explanation for this weak regimes is a lack of institutional support and willingness to combat doping in the sport. In fact, there is little evidence indicating that the threat of doping is being taken seriously by the tennis authorities. This absence of institutional support includes not just the players, ITF, ATP, WTA, and Grand Slams, but the many in the tennis media, who function more a promoters of the sport than independent journalists.
Further, it appears highly likely that Caitlin's statement about athletes, especially top ones, having "a complex network of people" to enable doping is an issue in tennis. The size of player entourages (for top players) has increased dramatically in recent years. Many top players now have large teams consisting of multiple coaches, fitness trainers, doctors, nutritionists, etc. Others are affiliated with tennis academies that provide similarly large support teams.
Caitlin's statement, plus the evolution of player teams, and the constant proclamations and evidence that tennis is becoming increasingly physical and based on fitness levels should give anyone concerned with the integrity of the game serious pause.
Does anyone care? Have things already spun out of control?