Tuesday, November 6, 2012

McEnroe, Courier, and Rafter

Another piece on doping and tennis from Amy Fetherolf‏ of Drop Shot Dispatch has been posted on Tennis Panorama. This one features statements from John McEnroe, Jim Courier, and Patrick Rafter.

A few clips...

McEnroe gives the classic tennis establishment response: "...I think it’s as rigorously tested as any sport other than the Olympics that I’m aware of...Maybe more so than any other sport, whether it’s football, basketball..."

Rafter is more circumspect: "No idea [if it’s a problem in tennis]. I hope to think there’s not...I think there’s always a case here and there, but I don’t think it’s a big problem like cycling was. I hope there’s not an issue, but there’s always the potential."

Courier appears to be trying to have it both ways: "...We have the rules in place. We have, I think, the best drug testing system around that I’m aware of...I think that given the great rewards that are out there in tennis, and given human nature, people will cut corners where you give them leeway to do so. I think you have to put your head in the sand to think that people wouldn’t try and cut corners given what’s on the line if you do well in our sport. Look at Wall Street...We’re not immune to that. I don’t think we have a problem, but we’re not immune to that."


  1. What about this quote from Courier from that article:

    "We use WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), and we’re on the Olympic Code, which is a pretty stringent code. Players do out-of-competition testing that’s unannounced. They have to give their whereabouts for one hour of the day, every day of the year. If they’re not where they say they are, that counts as a positive test against them."

    Courier sounds aware of the rules, so I'm assuming he understands the three-strike rule. Therefore, that last sentence is misleading. A missed test doesn't generally count as a "positive test" as he put it.

  2. The players and commentators always point to the whereabouts rule to show how "strict" tennis is. As noted above, a single missed test does not count as a "positive test." What is curious is why a common sense solution is not put in to resolve missed tests. Such as, if you miss a test, you must provide a sample within 24 hours of the missed test and will be subject to two additional unannounced tests within the next 30 days.

    Any one who looks at the "three strikes" rule can easily see the solution -- hide when you are glowing. Yet commentators keep pointing out that players have to provide their whereabouts for 1 hour a day each and every day. What they never point out is now infrequently that whereabouts is actually used and how the 3 strikes rule makes it worthless.