Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tsonga (and Murray) on Doping (Update #3)

A big thanks to Astérix (early translation and pointing out the article), jeroemba (uploading image), and Vincent (full translation) for making this post possible.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was interviewed by Le Parisien this week. Part of the interview led into a discussion about Lance Armstrong and doping (image below).

Here is a translation of the doping related Q&A:
Q : What were your thoughts on the recent scandals : Armstrong, handball betting?

Tsonga: When I see that, I'm sickened. Ok, the betting thing may be considered apart. This is not good at all but I give them the benefit of the big screw-up that you do only once. They did not waste the career of anybody. But Armstrong!

Q : If, one day, a doping scandal would involve a tennis star...

Tsonga: (He cuts.) Whatever is happening right now, it is very hard to speak. We see that with the cyclists. Now we're telling them that it's easy to speak afterwards. But before, you can't! If you say the tiniest little thing, you get butchered like crazy. Nobody wants to expose himself.

Q : But if one day we discover that you have been cheated of a title by a doped player, will you have the impression that your career will have been stolen?

Tsonga: : That is the question and that is why today I'm not comparing myself to others anymore. Because you never know what is going on elsewhere. You've got your own career and then what? That's why for us it's sometimes hard to hear: he lost again... Armstrong, this guy, he stole everybody! And the other cyclists behind him, after all, they were also extremely good! They got dragged in the mud because they were not good enough? That's laughable. All in all, it's a lot like the world himself... (Smile). The cheating always starts at the top.

Update #1: Good piece by Bill Gifford about doping post-Armstrong in The New Republic: "...while tennis players are tested relatively infrequently, only a handful of times per year, a high-profile cyclist can count on dozens of tests each year, both in competition and out. More testing means more scandals, especially if other sports are still choosing the see-no-evil approach."

Update #2: The Independent has some interesting comments from Andy Murray about doping control in tennis: "I think the out-of-competition stuff could probably get better...When we're in December, when people are training and setting their bases, I think it would be good to try and do more."I would be completely open to anyone to come and watch what I do in December and see the stuff I do, how I recover, how I wake up some mornings."

Also, Murray complains about the reduction of Wayne Odesnik's HGH ban.

It's interesting that Murray is now in favor of more out-of-competition testing. Back in 2009, he said "These new rules are so draconian that it makes it almost impossible to live a normal life." He also complained about getting an in-competition test at this year's Australian Open.

Update #3: has picked up the Andy Murray comments. Meanwhile, The Tennis Space has published Murray's comments in full. And last, but not least, BikePure is taking up the cause.


  1. I was going to send it to you Sen, but it has been done already. Bon travail jeroemba et Vincent :)

    I find that Tsonga speaks clearly - as clearly as he can - in this interview.

    I remember when Noah spoke about spanish tennis, Tsonga seemed to be worried ; as if he would have liked to know more & to say more... but could not really.

  2. I think that he is confirming an Omerta, or at least the fact that the consequences are too high to speak out, which amounts to the same. It isn't clear who he is referring to in the "he lost again" comment? Is he just talking about Armstrong's competitors or is he implying something about tennis?

    1. I think he's just talking about how tough it is for him to listen to people complain about his (Tsonga's) losses, when the guys who beat him might in fact be on something.

    2. Asterix, sorry, I was doing some site maintenance and accidentally erased your comment. My apologies.

    3. No problem Sen, I was saying something like this : to me, il is clear that Tsonga is reffering to "the tennis players" (specially himself) ; saying that he doesn't appreciate being criticized when he loses (he seems to think that some of these losses could be "unfair"... clearly, to me, he suspects some players to use doping...)

  3. I can't speak for anyone else but Tsonga's comments are clear as day to me that the players know what's going on, know who's cheating, and know not to say anything because of the consequences.

    1. The players do not "know" who is cheating. They suspect who is cheating. This is not like cycling where 5 guys are on a team, share the same doctor, and train together on a daily basis for months. The reason they don't say anything is because they will be asked for "proof" -- and the only acceptable proof is an adverse finding.

      Obviously, readers to the site know that adverse finding are rare and "legal doping" can be just as much a problem as illegal doping. For instance, let us say that Player X gets a doctor to diagnose him with anemia, and get a TUE for EPO. This player can dope all he wants and will never be "busted." Let us say you see this player shooting up EPO in the locker room. Still, this is not "proof" of anything, because you would not know whether or not the player has a valid TUE. It is the confidential nature of all of this that makes talking about it in any meaningful way impossible.

      The simple fact is that any person who can get a legitimate diagnosis for anemia and hypogonadism can legally use just about every banned substance there is. Add an asthma diagnosis on top of that and you will be even better.

      Any parent who has a child that has anemia, hypogonadism, asthma, and narcolepsy should direct the child to tennis -- he will be ranked #1 for life. The real question is how many current pros have these "diagnoses?"

    2. I agree TUE's are a huge problem in tennis, just by reading about how easily del Moral was able to backdate TUE for Armstrong gave me all kinds of ideas.

      However, I think players also share certain information, they do know about "successful" academies and certain fitness coaches - maybe via shared managers or close friendships between players from the same nation (f.e. Tipsarevic/Djokovic or Petkovic/Kerber). Even Errani must have been recomended to TenisVal for her "cardiac exam" from "the best doctor for everything".

      It is known that Petkovic & Kerber both get the same pre-season tune up at the Waske/Schüttler "Tennis University" in Offenbach. Names, places overlap a lot in tennis. So there is definitly shared clandestine information to some extent, which would also explain the reluctance of players to speak up for there might be many involved.

    3. This gets into the issue of "proof" that would be required to ban a player and why most of it would be pointless. For example, let's say I am sitting in the lobby of "Dr." del Mora and witness Ms. E come into the office. She leaves 30 minutes later after going to visit "Dr." del Mora. She then runs a marathon the next day in 2hr 15min (a world record).

      Is this "proof" of anything? If I presented a video of all of the above to the WADA, would it result in a lifetime ban? A ban of any type?

      Now, if I had a video of Ms. E shooting EPO and she did not have a valid TUE, and I gave this to the WADA, I do believe it would result in a ban.

      Thus, it makes no sense for Mr. Tsonga to say "I know player X works with Doctor Y and Doctor Y is known to issue PEDS. I look at player X's performance and it is beyond what I believe is possible for a non-doping player." All of this is well known to the the public already (or willfully ignored). It will not result in any ban, no investigation, nothing. The only result is to make Mr. Tsonga look like someone with a grudge and people will ask him questions about how he "knows" that this doctor issues PEDs.

      I also would imagine that the conversations do not go quite like you expect. I don't think player X says "Hey, were do I go to get EPO?" I would imagine it would be "Hey, I am having a chronic bout of anemia. No doctor I go to has been able to cure it. I heard you had a similar case of anemia, can you recommend a doctor for me?" Now, Player Y may very well suspect that Player X is asking for EPO, but again, there is no proof. What should this player report to the WADA/ITF, "Player X might have anemia and is seeking medical attention?"

      In addition, "Dr." del Mora is easily found on the internet. Much like finding prostitutes on Craigslist, PED doctors can be found on the Internet without any special inside knowledge.

    4. @MTracy:

      Sure they all suspect, but some of them DO know who is using. To say no one knows who is using is ridiculous, especially since a lot of players share doctors (see: TennisVal) and/or train in countries with extremely lax doping regulations (see: Spain).

      Dr. del Moral serviced SEVERAL tennis players, most of whom, presumably, saw each other at TennisVal. They knew his background or else they wouldn't have gone to him. Gee, how do you think they heard of him, especially since he worked with cyclists - all of whom started having "amazing" results once they worked with him. If one of them is getting doped up by him, don't you think the others in the academy know what was going on as well? They won't speak out because they were being doped as well.

  4. JMF, knowing Tsonga, I think he was refering to Fed (from the top he said, lol)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I thought you were only friends with the Williamses, Eric Ed

      I was wondering who he was talking about, but then I looked until I looked at the stats for 2012
      and realized that IF he is talking about a single person, but probably isn't, it has to be Novak (in the context of it being tough to lose to players who are on something).
      If I remember correctly, he also referred to Djokovic as the number one, after his recent loss in Beijing. But again, he was probably referring to the top as the top 4.

  5. "If you say the tiniest little thing, you get butchered like crazy."

    It pretty much describes the whole dilemma in tennis and why it is so hard to have players talk about doping.

    Aside from a whole-new ITF anti-doping program, which is not going to happen anytime soon, let's not fool ourselves here, it would foremostly need a change of the above mentioned attitude!

    Among fans, yes, but also in the tennis media sphere in general. Journalists need to encourage players to speak up and talk about doping. In more general terms to begin with, without name-shaming and fingerpointing, there are certainly ways to address that issue, f.i. via talking about exhaustion, expectations of fans vs realistic scenarios, thier thoughts on 5-hr-long matches and why it is that players cannot win every match and make every single final after surviving tough, long matches without a scratch.

    Like seeing Fed withdraw from Paris to me is pretty much a comment on those false expectations. That gesture points towards a more normal, human understanding of what players are capable of. I am aware of the fact that he can bloody afford to make those decision. Also, it does not rule out Fed might - or might not be doping afterall. My point was more that certain patterns of play are not to be considered "streaky" or "inconsistent" per se, but might be simply owed to normal exhaustion and fatigue clean players experience naturally. This is being acknowledged too little when Tsonga loses to Djoker or Fed or any other player. I know I cannot prove my argument here with solid facts, but from observation and through my own playing experience I feel confident to say so.

    The media is not suspicious enough when they are being confronted with certain impossible wins, they simply love the sappy hero-who-battles-through-and-stays-on-top story way too much.

    I understand it must be frustrating for those players, like Tsonga, who get accused of not playing consistent a lot, who are presumably not doping, to explain to the media why it is they keep losing while others seemingly effortlessly keep stringing win after win - in a quasi superhuman mode!

    For his above quote assures me that they actually know or suspect something, but find no one to talk to about it, for even their own federation is not really supporting anti-doping and keep the lid on, but in addition, the general culture in tennis (omerta) is not really helpful in speaking up either. Insert Murray snitch quote here.

    One last thought, I just read that the WTA is under tremendeous pressure to come up with a new sponsor. The current debate is all about whether their package is attractive enough to attract a top sponsor, because there have been so many different #1's latley, too much inconsistency at the top. The WTA is basically left with Serena (who plays mostly Slams's) and Shaz - who loses anytime Serena is on top of her game.

    That said, the WTA does have a huge interest (and following from that, the ITF) in having consistency in their #1 spot...

    Color me surprised, but stricter testing patterns or busting Serena would rule that out, no?

  6. I concur with my compatriot Asterix here (que je salue au passage :-). In the interview, Tsonga comes over as being convinced that some of his opponents, including above himself, are doped.

    We can even infer that he did not believe this at the beginning, but came to be persuaded of it ; when he says that he's "stopped" comparing himself to others.

    Even if I suspect Tsonga, based on his physique, of not being entirely clean, I have to say that in the French original he looks really to be speaking from the heart. It's not the usual PR lines, he really seems to find the idea of doping revulsive and seems to suggest he's not playing in a level field.

  7. I applaud French sporting organizations for taking a stand on doping. If more countries starting letting their athletes speak from the heart without fear of persecution, we could start seeing the tide turn against the big-time doper countries (like Spain and Argentina). The more we can get the dialogue started, the more pressure we can put on the higher ups of tennis to at least cut back on the amount of doping they either allow or promote for personal enrichment.

    I have a lot of respect for Tsonga for being braver than most because he is not a tennis has been or low ranking nobody saying candid things about doping. He is an elite player who gets a lot of television time so he is very marketable for sponsorships. He is taking a risk by saying such things and hopefully other non-dopers can join him. Of course Tsonga may have experimented with dopong in the past but he is nowhere near the doper extremists like Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Tipsarevic etc.

    If we could get Federer to honestly speak out, he would be the one tennis player who can seriously put a stop to it. Sadly, Federer loves money more than the truth so I doubt that he will ever jeopardize his status as the highest paid tennis player of all time. The tennis higher ups cannot bully Federer because he is a huge crowd draw. Federer can even fill stadiums up in first round matches playing some no name player. His appeal is worldwide as he can pull the crowds in any continent where he plays.

    1. You seem to have an awful lot of proof on Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer and Tipsarevic, no? If not, then your 'doper extremists' statement is ridiculous. If you think they are doping, fine, but you simply stating as a fact that they are doper extremists is unjustified.

  8. This is my first post although I've been lurking since Nadal lost his muscles in 2009 and then got them back so conveniently in 2010. So I found this site. I read French passably well (though am American). I don't think Tsonga here is intending to name names--he's more drawing the analogy to, say, French politics. For example, some in the press spoke of Sarkozy's machinations in creating the Dominique-Strauss Kahn debacle in New York. I'm sure our French participants can report many other top down instances of corruption. (not just in France, ha!) I think he is indicting the tennis establishment as a whole perhaps, not specific players at the top. That's what Sen is always proving very well here--the omerta comes from the tennis mafia, if you will.

    And much as I have adored Federer since he first beat Sampras at Wimbledon, he loves to compete and win more than anything (I doubt that it's all about the money anymore; he has plenty). His refound excellence a year or so ago does arouse suspicions...qui sait, eh?

    1. Him contracting mono raises suspicion. He is a married man and apparently, his wife did not have it. Other than "kissing," mono is associated with EPO use.

      Curious that mono can also cause hemoltyic anemia, which would entitle Mr. Federer to a TUE for EPO. Thus, use EPO, get mono, get to use EPO legally. His "refound excellence" was shortly after this period.

    2. Probably so, and makes me sadder than sad...

    3. MTracy,

      Yours would be an excellent post if anything you said were actually true. Care to name your source or study that links mono to EPO use? If Federer was using EPO his whole career why did he ever lose the excellence that he ultimately "refound?" You claim EPO is the reason behind his "refound excellence," yet you claim he's been using EPO his whole career. That makes a lot of sense. He was in his absolute prime when he got mono in late 07 or early 08 and he's simply never been the same. He has markedly declined and as much as you'd like to claim he's "refound" his "excellence," the truth is he's won 5 majors in the last 5 years, and 4 of the 5 that he won just so happened to be tournaments that Nadal was too "injured" to finish. He got lucky to have an extra day off against Murray in 2008 USO. He didn't have to play Nadal in the 09 French or Wimbledon or the 2010 AO because Nadal was "injured," Ditto for this year's Wimbledon. If Nadal were able to stay "healthy" Federer would have 1 major since 2007. If it wren't for fast indoor courts and best of 3 matches he'd be ranked around 5 or 6. Hardly "refound excellence."

    4. I don't exactly agree with Tsonga when he says "The cheating always starts at the top."

      It is obvious that authorities are often corrupted... and it "helps" (for instance, it has been reported that Sarkozy received a bike as a present from Armstrong when he was the President, and lately changes happened at the top of AFLD... but not for the best !), but to me it's clear that the initial decision to cheat is made by the sportsman/woman, above all. Other people involved are accomplices - sort of mafia, in the end, indeed.

      Anyway, decisive changes (for the best) will come true if/when antidoping authorities will be as independent and incorruptible as possible...

    5. It's amazing, these few sad Federer fans, appearing under new names. Always the same story, how they've been reading the blog for a long time, and now they've decided to come out and open their hearts, in the light of unsurmountable evidence that he's on EPO, they want to share with us their profound disappointment. And they then appear again as person B, and a heartbreaking little dialogue follows.

      Listen, whatever the case may be with players it's almost less sad than these posts. if they would only care to get the facts together and present a logical story, that would already be consideration.

      I am personally not saddened, but upset, with these few boremen coming back with the same dung.

    6. Missed the word worth before consideration..

    7. I wonder if anyone will ask Sarkozy if he realizes he's been used by Armstrong and what he's going to do about it now (at least apologize to the guy who got fired.

    8. I think that the Sarkozy story or Clinton for that matter, who surely did spull strings for Armstrong to some extent, as has been reported on German media, are indicative of too much closeness between politics and sports.

      Certain politicians like to get chummy with certain stars and pose for their life with them. Most prominent example here is chancellor Merkel who is GNT's biggest fangirl and takes care not to miss any 4ers and semi's they are in...

      There was a similar scandal in cycling when a prominent German politician, minister of interior at the time, got a little too close to team Telekom/Ullrich while conveniently serving as president of the German cycling federation...

    9. I remember Boreman, but am not he/she. I know of no "insurmountable evidence"--am just a huge tennis fan (have the Tennis Channel here in California) and watch a lot. I have no axe to grind about "Feddy the Doper." I am what I said I am--persistent and huge fan of Federer. I have no idea what motivated Boreman--figure he/she was one of Uncle Toni's minions trying to spread the blame around. I probably should not have agreed with MTracy's theory about the TUE, just didn't remember the year he had mono. My concern is really how Fed had a natural decline like virtually all players in past generations and then seemed to get his half-step back in the last year or so and got back to Number 1. I NEVER want to doubt Federer--so am the opposite of Boreman. I just wonder that any of them can be clean anymore; trying to be clear-eyed about it.

    10. In response to Swischeese: you make the following false statement: "yet you claim he's been using EPO his whole career." I never said this. Please either cite where I did say this or admit you were wrong.

      In terms of "refound excellence," this is a documented fact. Mr. Federer was ranked #1 from 2003-2008. He then contracted mono in 2008. After the mono, he fell from #1 but was later was re-ranked #1 in mid 2009. Thus, I used the term "refound excellence" to refer to regaining the #1 ranking in the world, after having previously held it. I think that this generally fits the definition of "refound excellence." I understand you have a different ranking system based on grandslams, Rafa playing, etc. Mine is simple, I used the ATP world rank.

      I'll get an article on the link between EPO and mono, but I will point out it is irrelevant to the ultimate argument. It is undisputed that Mr. Federer had mono. It is well documented that mono can cause hemolytic anemia. (See for citiations).

      Therefore, the only question is whether Mr. Federer obtained a TUE for EPO in response to hemolytic anemia. If he did, all the blood test in the world would not make a difference because he can legally use EPO and not be banned for its use.

      Ultimately, the point I am making is that increased testing is worthless if athletes are being given TUEs. We know a large number of athletes are being given TUEs. (See The confidential nature makes it impossible to determine what drugs are being used.

      So, your point is that Mr. Federer is not doping -- and you know this because he has never tested positive. I say, I have no idea whether Mr. Federer is doping, but a valid TUE would allow him to legally dope and not "test positive" even if he shot up EPO a night before a match. I merely point out that he regained the #1 rank in the world shortly after a documented medical event that could get him a TUE to use EPO.

      Why Mr. Federer can disclose that he had mono, but not disclose any and all TUEs that he has been granted is a bit perplexing. Either his medical history is private or it is not.

    11. MTracy,

      You stated, "Thus, use EPO, get mono, get to use EPO legally." You clearly indicated your belief he was using EPO before he got mono and continues to use it to this day (legally, now, of course).. Are you honestly trying to twist your words now to imply that you don't think he used EPO from 2003-2007 when he dominated but began very shorty before he got mono in 2008 then started using it "legally" afterwards? PLEASE. If Federer uses EPO now he used it during his dominance. If you believe he only started using it after 2007 then you have to answer why he has less stamina now than he had before. EPO gives one more stamina, not less.

      So, you'll "get an article on the link between EPO and mono?" Will it be written by Dr. Sergio Cruz? How is it "irrelevant to the ultimate argument" when your ENTIRE argument was based on his "suspicious" case of mono that is "associated with EPO use." If it takes you more than an hour to find an article then it proves you never read one in the first place and have no clue whether EPO uses causes mono, yet you stated it as a fact. Well done.

      Ok, so mono CAN cause hemolytic anemia. Do you know it did in Federer's case? How do you know that?

      You state "Therefore, the only question is whether (he) obtained a TUE for EPO in response to hemolytic anemia." Wrong. Before that question becomes the "only question" the fact that he did indeed contract hemolytic anemia has to be established. THAT is the only question and it's one you can't answer. Or did Boreman's "pro" tell you?

      Where did I say "that Federer is not doping" and that I know it "because he has never tested positive?" My point is there is no credible link between EPO and mono, so the fact that Federer had mono can't be used as proof he uses EPO. Of course it's possible that Federer dopes. He's a professional tennis player.

      The fact is your logic is flawed. You both argued that he took EPO before and after contracting mono and that his use of EPO after contracting mono allowed him to "return to excellence." By your logic he never would have fallen from excellence in the first place, except for the two weeks he had mono, which were actually BEFORE the AO in 2008. FLAWED LOGIC.

      TUE's are obviously an issue. If you had left it at that then so be it. But you don't even remotely know for a fact that Federer has a TUE and along the way you stated opinions as fact.

      When do you think he started using EPO?

      If you think he used EPO in 2003-2007 why do you think using it after he got mono allowed him to "return to excellence?"

      If you don't think he used it during that period why do you think he started in 2008 and why does he have less stamina now that he had when he didn't use EPO?

    12. Mono is not "two weeks."

      I did not say his "entire career." You failed to say where I did. Sometimes it is best to say "You're right." But a two paragraph explanation is rather entertaining as well.

      You said,"Yours would be an excellent post if anything you said were actually true." Now, I had said Federer was doping. You say this is not true -- because nothing in the post was true, according to you. Does this answer you're question posed above "Where did I say 'that Federer is not doping.'??

      Any more questions?

    13. "It's the little things you say that give your heart away." I'm pretty sure that's a line from a song.

      You came out guns-a-blazin' claiming that Federer's mono was suspicious for two contrasting reasons:

      1) Because mono is linked to EPO use, and
      2) Because he's a married man and his wife never got it

      You're obviously talking out of your proverbial ass because on the one hand you clearly imply his EPO use caused his mono and on the other hand you imply he never actually had mono (why else would you think it was odd that his wife never got it?)

      Despite apparently believing simultaneously that he never actually had mono and that the mono he never had was caused by his use of EPO you proceeded to link the mono to a case of hemolytic anemia that you don't know if he actually had. At this point you're batting 1.000.

      You then further linked his the anemia (again, caused by his mono that he didn't have but got from his use of EPO) to a TUE that you don't know if he has. You then went on to claim the TUE was allowing him to use EPO that you think he was already using anyway (because his use of EPO was what originally gave him the mono that you don't think he had). Yes, for the record, I'm thoroughly confused at this point.

      Finally you linked his newly-acquired ability to use EPO (that you claim he was already using) to his resurgence that only happened because the most obvious doper on the planet was "injured" during the 2009 FO and Wimbledon. Your stated basis for proving his resurgence was his regaining the #1 ranking but no sane person on the planet believes he would have gotten back to #1 if Nadal had played in the 2009 FO and Wimbledon.

      So to summarize your argument:

      1) He used EPO and got a case of mono that you simultaneously think he had and didn't have
      2) The mono you think he had and didn't have caused hemolytic anemia
      3) He used the hemolytic anemia diagnosis to get a TUE for EPO that he was already using
      4) His new use of EPO that he was already using was the reason he improved so much (despite the fact that he wasn't actually improving at all) after contracting the case of mono that he had and didn't have.

      That, my friend, is tortured (some would say "flawed") logic.

      So I suppose I do have a few questions:

      1) When do you think he started using EPO?
      2) Do you think he had mono?
      3) Why do you thin it's suspicious that his wife didn't get it?
      4) Why in your first reply to me did you state that you have no idea if Federer is doping and in your second reply to me claim that Federer is doping?

      and my last question:
      5) Have you ever posted comments on this blog under a different name - maybe something rhyming with "Shoreman" or "Merrick Bed"?

      It's my opinion you think (or hope) that Federer has been using EPO for a very long time but you don't have the facts (or ability) to back it up.

    14. I agree with swisscheese40. Federer is most likely not a doper.

      -Federer often loses to well known dopers these days (Djokivic, Nadal)
      -Federer doesn't lose and then regain massive muscle mass in short periods of time
      -Federer does not exhibit "roid rage" on a routine basis on tennis courts
      -Federer often shows visible signs of being tired during long matches (he sweats, slows down, has forehand breakdowns, does not all of a sudden start dramatically increasing 1st serve speed in the middle or close to end of a match)

      I'm not a crazed Fed fan. If he did exhibit obvious signs of doping, I would gladly call him out.

      Besides if Fed really was doping, don't you think he would lose a lot of the lucrative sponsorships that he has? Sponsors often are very careful to go all in with someone who is a suspected doper. Notice how much more money Federer gets compared to his rivals who often beat him on the tennis court.

    15. I will not respond to Swisscheese any more. Your "summary" of my alleged argument is longer than my entire post itself. It is not worth going into every point.

      In terms of sponsorships, let me see, did Lance Armstrong have sponsorships? Besides if Lance really was doping, don't you think he would lose a lot of the lucrative sponsorships that he has?

      I will, however, provide my own "summary" of my argument. There will be no doping scandal in tennis because tennis uses TUEs to cover the problem. Thus, Federer, Nadal, etc, can get TUEs and legally dope. They will never be caught. They can never be caught. There can never be a scandal because the WADA has defined taking EPO, testosterone, etc as "not doping" if you have a TUE. The ITF has told us that a significant number of top players have TUEs. (See previous citation). (Note how summary is actually shorter than original post)

      A final note. Lance Armstrong admitted using testosterone and EPO. He was given these drugs as part of his cancer therapy, as almost any cancer patient in his situation would have been. He denies using them after he returned to competition.

    16. You are just lazy. Swisscheese's questions are perfectly clear and his breakdown of your posts is accurate. The fact that it makes fun of your points makes it more interesting.
      It's totally legitimate to ask you to clarify your point, given that there is some basic logic missing in them and that you have chosen to make strange allegations. Like before.
      If you decide to write on this subject again, and after you have answered Swisscheese's questions, please also answer this one: Why do you say Federer has a TUE for anything?
      If you are just saying they 'can get' a TUE, you are dishonest, because you have chosen to write as if they/he already have one.

    17. Sorry for taking so long, but I hadn't seen this post. I will just address the issue of Federer's EPO use. The ITF has identified Federer (and a couple others) as having blood counts that are indicative of EPO use, and then targeted these athletes for EPO tests. Because of the paucity of actual EPO tests, and the possibility that Federer has a TUE, I suspect that he will never be caught. However, his blood counts are consisted with EPO use -- they could also be consistent with a genetic aberration that causes abnormally high red blood cells, but believe what you want.

      See for list of athletes targeted for EPO testing based on past blood tests.

      See where ITF admits that blood test are used to target EPO use: "because the [EPO] tests are conducted only if blood screening indicates a player may be using the drug."

      JMF: I never said Federer has a TUE. Please quote (exactly) where I say he does. What I outlined was a hypothetical where he could get a TUE. Again, I have no secret knowledge. If Mr. Federer has not announced that he has a TUE, I would have no way of knowing it. Your feigned belief that I would actually posses such knowledge is disingenuous. Likewise, you have no idea either whether Mr. Federer does or does not possess a TUE. The only people that do are Mr. Federer, his doctors, trusted staff/family, and the ADOs.

      To answer your question directly, "Why do you say Federer has a TUE for anything?"
      I DON'T. I do say it is possible that he does based on the fact that his blood indicates EPO use (according to the ITF), he has never been busted for EPO use (also from the ITF), that a large number of TUEs have been issued (yep, from the ITF), that a large number of positive drug tests have not resulted in doping violations (Also from the ITF) (a valid TUE would be one such reason), that Mr. Federer possess the resources to obtain compliant medical experts, that EPO is a valid remedy for certain conditions -- hemolitic anemia, for example, and that anti-doping agencies have announced granting TUEs for serious performance drugs such as testosterone.

  9. Great article on the importance of blogs exactly like this one!! Keep up the good work.

  10. Yes, hats off to SnR and THASP for keeping this site on the cutting edge, providing deep insight and constantly challenging the status quo. Thanks guys!!

  11. So Murray has now finally seen The Light, because of the doping fiasco in cycling, and now calls for more stringent testing? He should have done so a long time ago already, but still happy to read that his opinion has apparently changed 180 degrees. I hope more players will join him - and I think it's fair to claim that those who won't, are the majors suspects.

    1. Has he really seen the light, or now that he's won a major and thus firmly planted himself in the "elite" group, just toeing the party line? I don't for a second believe that leopards change their spots...

  12. Here is the key sentence from the article "unknown" has linked above - on the big fail of most traditional media when it comes to Armstrong (and it should be a must-read for all the Wertheim's, Nguyen's and basically everybody on out there)

    "As Carr (NYTimes) notes in his post, apart from a few standouts who questioned Armstrong’s performance publicly, “for the most part, the journalists who seemed to know the most about professional cycling told us the least."

    Same for tennis.

    As a side note, I really REALLY like how SnR & THASP were much quicker than shitty in picking up the Murray story - as always!

    Wish you guys would get a real chance to talk to Murray or Tsonga in depth... No doubt you guys would come up with a really great interview...

  13. Sorry for the multiple posts, hope it's alright, tell me to stfu if it's too much ;)

    First, I do like how the French authorities do blood testing at this years Paris-Bercy masters. Too bad they had no chance at RG.

    For comparison sake, I just chcecked what the German NADA did in 2011 for tennis. And I came up with a lousy 12 tests - all urine & for an entire freakin' year!

    I knew they don't do ANY blood testing for football (or , some of you), but instead bother to make you read a large-ass, glossy propaganda pdf with lot's serious sounding articles assuring you they are cutting-edge in catching cheats. I am not convinced, however. They also give the # of TUE's issued per year, sadly they don't specify which sport.

    My brain feels violated from so much stupidity they serve me!

    Glad France does it better!

    On the subject of Murray. Apparently Murray had four or five blood tests this year. I wonder if those were before the Olympics around Wimbledon...

    Also, note in that Matt Cronin thing on how for the VERY first time since I've been reading that website they make mention of the number of tests individual players had in order to counterpose the players whining about testing with some facts!

    Correct me if I am wrong, but that is indeed a sea change considering their ususal lazy "reporting" that let's players get away with their scripted remarks and inaccurate statements regarding testing rigidity.

    So Mr. Cronin actually had a virgin glimpse at ITF testing stats and looked up Sharapova and Serena! Wow - I will mark my calendar now!

    The more likely scenario, obvs: he copy/pasted from this site, but I refuse to be a cynic. ;)

    So I suppose some journos HAVE learned something from reading this excellent blogg, afterall? Small steps...

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    2. That parenthesis should read: "(or soccer, for some of you)".

    3. This just popped up on my twitter feed

      Basically the headline reads as follows, "Anti-doping analyses result negative"

      Why is this even a story over at ESPN FC? There must have been allegations going on. Either way as team_kickass mentioned, "they hardly do blood testing in football," this article confirms that 8 players were tested among 4 teams. So, 8 out of 72 players, 11.1%, pretty pathetic. If we use everyone in the league, it is 8 out of 324 Players or just 2.4%.

      What is also troubling is that according to FIFA, a minimum of 4 players are to be tested per team (which is still low), in this case only 2 per team were tested. It may be possible this wasn't target testing (target testing needs 4 players minimum)

      According to FIFA Anti-Doping regulations, page 99, Appendix E, Procedure for in-competition tests

      "1. A minimum of two of the four players drawn by lots (in accordance with art. 2 par. 6 herein) from each competing team shall be tested at every match at which doping tests are to be carried out. The first two players drawn from each team shall be tested and the two other shall replace them in case of injury...For target testing of a team in competition, a minimum of four players from the respective team shall be drawn by lots and tested."

      So if you are "injured" you're not tested? Big eye opener for me.

    4. Interesting u say that French authorities are testing this year in Bercy b/c Djokovic lost his first match today against Querry. He didn''t seem to mind much either.
      Bravo to French authorities b/c they seem to be the ones trying to get some type of real anti-doping going in the tennis world. And on CNN, the special on Armstrong doping revealed that the French papers and authorities called him out on it first.

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