Thursday, May 16, 2013

ITF to Work with AFLD? (Update)

Stories are emerging in the French press that the ITF will be entering into talks with the French anti-doping authorities (AFLD), following the appearance of Stuart Miller and Francesco Ricci Bitti at a French senate investigation on doping in sport.

Two stories (in French):

Dopage, l’ITF défend son bilan

Roland-Garros 2013 - L'ITF prête à collaborer avec l'Agence française de lutte contre le dopage

Sounds like Bitti and Miller got a rough ride...very, very different treatment from what they get from many in the media.

Thanks go to Asterix for the tip in the previous post.

Update: Here is the video of their appearance...

95 comments:

  1. It would be a massive story if the AFLD were to start testing in for tournaments held in France.

    Although my suspicion is that most of the doping takes place OOC so we may see a lot of 'name' players 'training' in warm countries with slack testing until the last minute.

    Good to see Millar and Bitti get a tough time the problem is that because it is in French most of the English language media won't pick up on it.

    Someone should send the link to Wertheim for his latest mailbag aka the doper love-in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, next week is the "rest" period for the top players (even though there are tournaments going on, they are smaller ones), so if they are doping, they would load up next week rather than during the actual French Open.

      But still, this is progress (small steps) and hopefully a step forward.

      Is this the same organization that did all those tests at the 2009 French Open where the players went ballistic over the testing methods? And of course, 2009 was Nadal's infamous loss to Soderling at Roland Garros. There was enormous speculation that a lot of positives were returned that year.

      Delete
    2. Could you source some of this speculation Seeya Beeya ? What is certain is that Nadal, Ferrer and Verdasco were subject to unannounced testing during the tournament, and on off-days, as it was said by Nadal himself at a press conference who complained about this saying it was "hassling". What is also certain is that all these three players lost very rapidly in the tournament afterwards, and for Nadal it was his only loss at RG. It does seem to imply that the Nadal camp was caught on a wrong footing...

      Delete
    3. Vincent:

      It was just on various tennis message boards, people just speculating about the tests and being suspicious of the fact that they all lost in a short time of these unannounced tests.

      It wasn't anything official or any tennis journalist, just message board people. But back in 2009, any doping speculation got deleted by board mods pretty quickly with stern warnings given out. Ever since the Lance Armstrong scandal, however, a lot fo tennis message boards have been more lenient in allowing doping speculation to be talked about.

      It wasn't an official news source, just message board people being suspicious. But it was talked about quite a bit. The 2009 French Open was a very weird tournament, with a lot of puzzling losses by top stars, so people were suspicious.

      Sorry if I gave the impression that there were any official sources/journalists speculating about positive test results. It was just frustrated and puzzled tennis fans.

      Delete
    4. It wasn't just tennis message boards. I had heard from those with contacts on the tour, including players' agents (from which the claim came), that at around the time of the French Open in '09, Nadal returned a dirty dope test and that is why he had to withdraw from Wimbledon that year. That was the view of insiders on the tour.

      Delete
    5. Richard: I find this very confusing. Shouldn't Nadal be on some doping products which go out of your system quickly and that can't be detected by the testing tennis carries out? Isn't he supposed to be on some sophisticated program? Can anyone explain?

      Delete
    6. Contador and Armstrong were both on highly sophisticated programs. Both failed drug tests.

      It's all speculation obviously, but it's also very possible that Nadal didn't actually test positive in '09, but instead panicked when he found out the AFLD was set to conduct random testing at the FO and laid off whatever he was taking. He had never dealt with the AFLD before, as far as i know, and the French suspicion of him was certainly no secret.






      Delete
    7. There are similar rumours about Armstrong. One year the panic got to him and he flushed his blood bags down the toilet.

      In the cases of Contador and Armstrong, they both had the UCI try to help to cover up their doping.

      Delete
  2. If I understood Bitti correctly (he doesn't speak french very well), he wishes NADOs and ITF can work more closely with each other in the future (well, reminding that NADOs have been created quite recently... so that it could be a bit complicated to do)

    Another point, regarding tests - answering a question about the low number of OCC tests : "Nous privilégions la qualité sur la quantité." : "the quality is more important than the number"

    Bitti is very glad that top players who previously used to be grunting against 'intrusive' tests are now supporting the program. (haha)

    About Del Moral and the connections with tennis players (TenisVal) : ITF interviewed them, said Bitti, and we found no evidence of infraction...

    Convincing, isn't he ?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Quite. The guy really looks like the very embodiment of the slimy, corrupt, corporate mafioso.

    ReplyDelete
  4. First it was all Rikki Tikki, Rizi Bizi, itsy bitsy, teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini... But it was later, when the Miller told his tale, that my face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale...

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have to hand it to the French, they are the country which is the most serious about anti-doping. If every country were like them, things would be a lot better - but that isn't and never will be the case. They are the polar opposite of their Spanish neighbours, who fall over themselves to cover up doping.

    So Djokovic is out to Berdych, we will have to wait till the FO before we see the latest slugfest between him and Nadal. I wonder if the 5h53m Slam final record will be broken. Here's hoping! I bet the French media would ask a few questions if that happened. A few questions, at least, but still not many. Djoko will have time to "re-energise" before Paris this way, an extra few days off, head back to Monte Carlo and recover for a few days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. whatz interesting too is how many tennis players have claimed just within this month to be ill with virus (i.e. Del Potro, SHarapova, Stan) or injured (i.e. Murray) right before the FO. What i wonder is this to take some time off right before to refuel with TUE excuse? Not sure if statistics have been done on how many injuries or virus illnesses are claimed by players 1-2 weeks before any of the Grand Slam tourneys?
      I really really hope the AFLD means what they say & is serious about hard core testing at the FO. If this is the case, it'll be interesting to note who loses early, who pulls out & who takes a long break afterwards.

      Delete
  6. If the ITF and ALFD will work together, why don't just keep it quiet? We got the thing we dont need to hear but on the other hand they keep positive tests quietly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was something that Dick Pound brought up in his report. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/ap-exclusive-dick-pounds-wada-report-cites-major-failings-in-global-drug-testing/2013/05/15/2c46df1c-bd9f-11e2-b537-ab47f0325f7c_print.html

      This has very much tipped off the dopers. If you are say Nadal then you are going to go back to Spain to the 'beach' (as Contador would claim), cycle up, get all the benefits and be sure that you won't piss hot the moment that you cross the border.

      Basically the ITF has ensured that the dopers are tipped off. Well done ITF, protecting the dirty ones 24/7

      Delete
    2. By contrast, that "tip off" most likely didn't happen when UKAD did pre-Olympic testing last year the week before Wimbledon. At least from a few anecdotal stories, some players seemed surprised about the tests they were subjected to.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, part of me wishes this had been kept on the down low so that the players would be surprised about it. Look for several players to wait until the last minute to arrive to Roland Garros so that they can cycle up.

      Although maybe we shouldn't be surprised that the ITF spilled the beans. They have protected dopers in the past and are only continuing that "proud" legacy. They may as well have sent out a PR release to every player telling them when they'll be tested and where.

      Delete
    4. Of course. It'll be like the Olympics. They'll turn no positive tests and then use the lack of positive tests to claim that the sport is clean.

      As we know from cycling not testing positive doesn't mean you aren't doping. It just means you haven't tested positive.

      Delete
  7. Nadal's comeback is remarkable. Every top player should take half a year off and come back for their favourite part of the season. :rolleye:

    ReplyDelete
  8. How is a 32 year old guy still playing tennis as tennis has become the most demanding sport, can't believe that the swiss cheat is still playing tennis let alone playing a SF of a masters tournament. Have you guys noticed that that the cheat from switzerland never sweats in his matches which is unnatural and his drug regiment can be related to this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I strongly suggest you share your observations with tennis journalists, ITF, and WADA.

      Delete
    2. To misquote SnR: I strongly suggest you share your observations with your mom and/or your shrink: they're the only kind of people that, for obvious reasons, (have to) have ears for your gibberish, you old boring fart - that is, to quote Lopi, you Boreman. P.S. To say "get a life" would be as boring as you yourself are - but, at the same time, as appropriate as goes: for even in the Troll-land (in case you fancy yourself a citizen thereof), you are nothing but a ... well, bore. Just imagine: you're not even a joke!

      Delete
    3. the same 32 year old that has yet to defend any of the titles he won last year and has lost early in those tournaments as well, all well suffering an injury and having his play actually reflect having had an injury?

      Rotterdam-lost second match
      Dubai- lost early or dnp i cant remember
      madrid lost second match

      Delete
    4. For the record, he actually made SF in Dubai, but lost to Berdych in 3 sets.

      But "KILLER 88" makes an excellent point. I'm positive that Federer has spent millions to have a Swiss scientist figure out a way to make a pill that shuts off the body's ability to regulate its temperature. Tennis, or any sport for that matter, becomes exponentially easier when one's body temperature steadily progresses above 100 degrees. That's one of the reasons professional athletes hope to get the flu before they compete. It's also one of the reasons people world-wide have stopped buying aspirin and ibuprofen because those drugs have a pesky habit of lowering fevers/body temps back down to 98.6 degrees.

      But I digress.

      Possibly the dumbest observation made about Federer is that he "never sweats." Currently he's wearing a tight t-shirt that clearly shows how much he sweats - the darker green indicates sweat, just so you know. He towels off after virtually every point just like almost every other player. What is he wiping off? How many times have you seen him change his shirt and/or headband during a match? Is that because they're too dry?

      And reading the tennis forums it's clear most anti-Federer-ites claim the reason he's in the final is because of his "cupcake draw." So which is it? He's beaten 17, 24 and 36 on his way to the final, luckily avoiding 2, 7, 8 and 14 along the way.

      Did he just decide to take his sweat-eliminating PED's in Rome, but forgot to take them in Madrid, Rotterdam and Dubai? After his injury Indian Wells (that, by the way, was noticeable as soon as it happened) it was all he could do to walk onto the court. Which brings up another point. What Federer showed in Indian Wells is what happens to a player with an actual injury. What Nadal showed last year from clay season to Wimbledon and all eight finals he's made since returning is what happens to a player that isn't injured.

      Delete
    5. I agree, thanks to Roger for illustrating the difference between real injury and fake injury. Equally, thanks to Nadal for showing what a player can do when he is not injured.

      And also to add to your point swisscheese, lets not forget that Roger said in his biography that he would never dope!! While Nadal has complained regularly about testing regimes being too strict!.

      I am confused about the sweating thing though... I thought that we agreed that Nadal sweets a lot, so if you say that Roger also does... what does that mean?

      Delete
    6. Federer's body has started behaving much more normally after he hit 30 years old. You can check the past videos. Before his 30s, the guy was a curious case of a scientific experience to behold. Federer usually doesn't spend time towelling off as opposed to other players but yet he seems always fresh, always focused, battling all types of dopers who happen to be heavier than he is. But somehow, he came out victorous the majority of the time.

      Delete
    7. Maybe he needs a panic room.

      Delete
    8. Why would he need a panic room when he has an oxygen one?

      Delete
  9. I think more about Ricci Bitti. He should be sweating a lot more now. Yeah, doping can make more sweat definitely.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think Roger is giving an on-court protest right now against Nadal and his "preparation". Anyone who thinks this guy is clean is an idiot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looked so, indeed. Very sad to watch. But, what else can he do, after all these years being robbed, time after time? Fight the machine until exhaustion, again, to no avail, risking to become --really-- injured?.
      Is this the kind of shitty show you --tennis governing bodies-- want? Responsible for the demoralization of the greatest player ever, responsible for depriving the world of the full enjoyment of his art, responsible for the destruction of sports, they should face criminal charges.

      Delete
    2. Errmm..I think its more about realizing that at his age, chances of beating nadal on clay are silm.

      why expend all that energy and risk injury when he can save himself and try and defend wimbledon.

      Delete
    3. Maybe with age the will to fight the impossible declines. Why work so hard to keep fit, when there will always be someone (Nadal, Djokovic) much fitter?.
      However, it wasn´t the first time we´ve seen that kind of match. And he wasn´t that "old" in the 2008 Roland Garros final. Yesrerday, I was reminded of it all the time. Perhaps that was a wake-up call for what happened in 2009. If we could, at least, hope for a new "Soderling" to emerge...

      Delete
  11. I predict Nadal will be taking another long break this year.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I guess someone who gets the kind of beating that Federer received today from Nadal has just got to be doping.

    Maybe he should claim injury and take an 8 month break. It's done wonders for Nadal's game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Federer doesn't try against Nadal anymore. Any other player can probably do better at this point except in a major's final. Federer knows he has to just win a few more masters and majors in possible because the windows of opportunity has been shrinking steadily. Also, it is not because a player has doped or dopes that he does for all tournaments. Roger seems to be avoiding injuries more than trying to win.

      Delete
    2. He loses badly because he isn't trying? You really have no idea - about anything. Simply because Federer is not prone to fist pumps, grimaces and cries of "vamos" (or the ugly screams that frequently come from your idol Serena) does not mean he isn't giving it everything he has. He has always played silently, in the fashion he does - without noise (something you could dearly learn), and I suggest that he was desperately fighting for self respect out there, while knowing he had no chance to win.

      Delete
  13. Rafael Nadal plays the most grueling style of game on tour, has spent more time on court than anyone over the past 8 years, and has been "injured" constantly. Yet, at 27, he's playing better than Roger Federer was at the same age. Meanwhile, Serena is playing better at age 31 than 21, and beating up on young players supposedly in their prime. Tennis is unwatchable at this point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In serena's defense..not saying she never doped but..come on.

      she was ranked number 1 in one of the strongest WTA fields ever in the early 2000's in the days of davenport, prime venus, henin, clijsters, mauresmo, capriati, hingis and pierce..

      so why wouldnt she dominate a relatively weak field of sharapova(who she owns), azarenka( who though very talented is a poor woman's clijsters), head case stosur, and inconsisten kvitova?

      Delete
    2. Young players being in their prime has nothing to do with their skills level. Azarenka is still nor better than Kim at her prime at this point of her career. She is just a little more offensive minded Safina.

      Delete
    3. Quite right. There is nothing strange about an overweight middle-aged woman playing better than in her youth - if she is a "strong black woman".

      Delete
    4. Funny how as soon as there is an interesting thread - AFLD, the Senate hearings, and interest starts to revive then the trolls also start to revive.

      Delete
    5. Only delusional typical losers see enemies everywhere there is a failure. Nobody is here to stop you from achieving anything.

      Delete
    6. Don't be so harsh on yourself. It is a skill to be so self-reflective. At least you admit you are delusional.

      Delete
  14. 8 months off. 8 finals. 6 titles. This guy is incredible. Where is WADA?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes Jenny, it boggles the mind. Tennis is like Major League Baseball was in the mid 90s early 00s at this point. I wish there were more (investigative) journalists taking a closer look at the sport instead of rehashing the same tired narratives.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is getting absolutely ridiculous! There are no longer words for what is happening in tennis. Serena & Nadal take out their opponents 6-1, 6-3. This in itself is not significant, but the fact that they are repeatedly making finals & demolishing worthy opponents in finals in almost every tournament they enter should be raising Red flags all over the Anti-Doping World!! AFLD do your thing!! Make the FO watchable. please!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In fairness, serena came back from "injury" over a year ago

      and say what you want, but serena still has the best serve in women's tennis history along with one of the best return games and she always had power even as a teenager.

      but nadal, for a guy comping off serious injury, so called, he never ever plays like someone who was physically hampered in any way.

      Delete
    2. Serena never bothered to train before and never truly has a coach that will instigate discipline into her. Now she plays like a disciplined athlete who is commited to her game and training and it shows. There is nothing wring with that. On the other hand, Nadal is a completely different specimen

      Delete
    3. Not quite completely different. They both hit the ball like men.

      Delete
    4. JMF,

      I thought you were lost during one of your trip in your suitcase. Feels good to know that it wasn't the case

      Delete
  17. The Nadal/Serena comebacks from prolonged "injury" are completely unbelievable. It's baffling to me when you see performances like these that so many tennis fans - and I include most media hacks here - maintain there is "no evidence" of doping, because none of these big names has failed a drugs test (as far as we know.) Their superhuman performances are simply ascribed to "new" training methods, techniques, racquet technology, nutrition and fitness programmes - while no one knows exactly what these are. You can also tell them that the testing programme is farcical, but ultimately the crowds at the circus don't wanna know. In the meantime, you just stock up on the anti-nausea pills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do not associate Serena and Nadal. Nadal seems stronger than he ever was, at least as far as his ability to hit the ball is concerned. Serena hasn't really changed because she hasn't based many of her wins on running but on serves. It saves the body from wear and tear

      Delete
    2. but not from accusations though

      Delete
    3. You seriously need to save your brain from wear and tear. Silence would help, because thinking is clearly taxing you.

      Delete
  18. I agree with all this, but will all of these shenanigans ever blow up in the open? My eyes tell me something shady is going on here but no tangible proof has ever leaked. Also, if a guy like Federer isn't doping (I don't think he is, but you never know), do you all think that it might have crossed his mind that guys like Nadal, Djokovic and Ferrer are? What could be a catalyst, something that will finally blow the lid open? If Gulbis can blow Nadal 6-1 in a set, I refuse to accept that, in the same venue, an in-form Federer cannot at least take one set off him. So much weird stuff happening.

    ReplyDelete
  19. No player will blow the whistle and become a pariah. Im sure all the players know what's going on but what are they going to do about it? Absolutely nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. In many ways it is a lot like cycling during the Armstrong years and also with Sky. It is so obvious to anyone with half a brain cell that there is rampant doping going on, and yet fans, the media and the authorities choose to wilfully turn a blind eye and instead count the money and bury their heads in the sand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. U speak the truth! Itz crazy in life how much money controls everything. Pay me what i want & i'll look the other way! Do we really want kids growing up to admire cheats?! Out of desperation now for tennis, we really need a whistleblower or some big superstar caught red handed at FO!!

      Delete
    2. The thing is we won't see it.

      I remember watching cycling before the EPO era. What we might term the amateur doping period. Yes people would dope. But generally dope would not allow you to exceed what is physically possible. So for example you could not turn a Timetrialler (who tend to be heavy because they produce power over a long period of time) into a climber (who tend to be skinny and light) and vice versa.

      Then what do we see, Armstrong - a man who before 1999 couldn't climb and could TT suddenly able to outclimb and out TT the specialists. We saw George Hincapie, a sprinter, leading the USP/Disco team over the mountains, shelling out the climbers.

      If you knew cycling, you knew that this defied the laws of physics and of human ability. And yet, did Armstrong ever dial it back to make it look less ridiculous? Nope. In fact he dialled it up, almost to taunt those who said he was doping. 'Never tested positive'.

      The same with Sky. Brailsford is well known for believing himself to be the smartest person in the room. He believes that he is smarter than the testers and he will get away with it.

      Delete
    3. Pretty much. And if ever a huge star/top player is ever nailed for doping, cue the media acting shocked and saying "Oh my God, we had no idea....." Or they'll go on the defensive and claim that Player X is an "aberration" in an otherwise "clean" sport.

      But then again, when the del Moral story came out and several top players were linked to him (Ferrer, Errani, Kirilenko) they didn't care and very few asked any probing questions. Nor do they seem to care about Operacion Puerto where several tennis players are rumored to be linked to Fuentes. Nor do they seem to care about the utter lack of testing and the fact that you can count on one hand the number of OOCs the majority of top players on both sides have had in the past 5 years.



      Delete
    4. a perfect example of the media response to doping in horse racing.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/horse-racing/22600972

      "So, although racing's biggest modern-day drugs scandal can be said to have grown in terms of numbers of horses involved, it does remain confined to just one Godolphin team. "

      Aberration, clean sport, confined to one team...

      Sadly, even if say Nadal's heart were to explode, the media would still say the same.

      With the sports media I am always reminded of the George Orwell quote:

      'Nothing short of dynamite will convince some people which century they are living in'

      (Apologies if I've said this before)

      Delete
    5. It's even worse than that. They threw one guy under the bus (Al-Zarooni) while the rest of the team has been magically declared clean.

      Delete
  21. Many players who have never won against Federer took Nadal to 3 sets in the last few tournaments. Don't complain because Federer played lazy and lost

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clip, clop, clip, clop.

      Hello troll.

      Delete
    2. Some cheese with your whine troll boy?

      Delete
    3. I read an article about federer's fans crying ackwardly when they met him. First i was surprised but now i undersrand why

      Delete
    4. Got a reference for that 'article' or is it one that just exists in your mind.

      It's almost a troll convention here. You two should meet. Oh hang, on my mistake, 2 id's a real person do not make.

      Delete
    5. At least, you're right for once. Indeed, a real person do not make 2ids; a real person does make 2ids

      Delete
    6. If you want to claim that a sockpuppet account is a real ID then go for it.

      How many accounts it is now? 5, 6?

      Delete
  22. wow this blog hasn't seen this much action since the last time Nadal won a tournament. I think this is his best start to the year ever. And he's coming off a serious career-threatening injury. Really?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Djokovic,Djokovic,Djokovic!

    i was screaming bloody "dirty doper" for last 2 years,

    but after another KNEE episode from "media darling" Nadal, can anybody really blame Djokovic for leveling play-field against him?

    my god,look at DelPotro his injury was like "10 years" ago and he still is not 100%,
    but nadal without Olympic games anti-doping measures will go rampant this year...... and again only hope is that djokoic will increase dose of whatever he`s using (his body has clearly build up tolerance for stuff)and stop Rafael "my knees,my knees- 8 final 6 titles" Nadal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you really look at it, Nadal has not actually done anything different from last year..he's won 5 titles on clay and 1 title on a slow hard court thanks to his buddy that owns the tournament, Larry. He was fortunate Djokovic only made 1 final during that period, so if we all believe he wasn't injured in the first place and just took some time off to recuperate his body, I don't really think he has done anything special

      Delete
  24. Tennis is quite a mystery for me, especially when involving Nadal.
    Worst knee reported, where in fact he has the strongest legs in ALL sports. Humble guy, where in fact he abuse rules and against sportmanship. Always put as not the top favourite in tournaments, in fact he can demolish all players in clay.
    The next mystery is Federer recent play against Nadal. He is not there for a REASON.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Good France. Good to see some doing the right things. I enjoy last night final in different way. It was joyful to see Spanish fans held their flag wondering what to do watching tennis invitational match aka grandpa beating.

    ReplyDelete
  26. My two cents, looking at the match from a tennistical perspective...

    Federer did not try. Starting at around 1-1 in the first set, he started just swinging at the fences, not caring about UEs, and not trying to really execute a strategy except being ultra-aggressive on every point. This was followed up by a rather funny attempt at S&Vs at 5-1 I believe, where he came behind all his 1st serves.

    In the second set, more of the same. He managed to string up two beautiful points at 0-1, executing a DTL backhand followed by a CC backhand and concluded at the net. No holding back there, extremely risky but quite nice. Obviously he proceeded to lose the majority of the points as he was taking absolutely no margin for error.

    People speak about the similarity with RG 08, and it's true. In RG 08, I believe Roger started the match confident, then lost faith after a few games. He tried to get himself together in the second set for a few games, but after that it's just like he decided to blow it, playing 100% risk and S&V-ing. Here, I'd say he had thrown the towel right before match start. He never really believed he could win and played like I play at recreational level when I'm p*** off, that is, just trying some improbable shots and hoping it will be over soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the way you play when there's no self-belief. A few touches here and there to save face and get the hell out of it. Nadal is simply too much of a monster. I can't see Murray turning up for the French either unless he wants a pasting.

      Delete
    2. Federer didn't even look like Federer! Couldn't see the tenacity or determination of a top 10 player. What was he doing wearing Nadal's usual colour (green), by the way?

      Delete
    3. How I see it, is that the strength and spin of Nadal's shots is completely different from what it used to be. It's from another world, not to mention the precision. Federer was soon completely confused, nothing to do with lazy. He has a big ego and certainly doesn't ever want to be trounced. But it's just what happened.
      So obviously someone's been working very hard at improving their game. And I don't think it's someone who's had big knee problems and postponing their comeback month after month. To me it looks like someone who knew they have many months to work on few things. And certainly like someone who's on something. This whole thing is a yoke, no?

      Delete
    4. JMF you couldn't have said it any better. This is what I had been thinking allthat time he was out. It was probably his uncle Toni's idea to take the time off, recuperate his body and work on his game (especially backhand) and then return to his favourite surface. This was all to counter Djokovic who had his number.
      Just notice that once the clay court season is over, he will claim knee pain again on the grass and hard courts, so that he will be called the underdog and be expected to lose if he faces Djokovic or Murray. The guy is unbelievable

      Delete
    5. I don't think it is Fed's ego to play sluggish and careless. He always put himself as the player who is ready to compete and win, unlike Nadal who always set lower expectation before the match, and later he actually beat his opponents easily by running with four legs. For a reason Fed decided to ruin the party. Or maybe he acknowledge there is obligation to lift Nadal rankings through matches rather than leaving the machine rigged the French Open draws... again. Well.. Connors is absolutely right in this case. They care more about money, not rivalry.

      Delete
    6. Federer looked like he knew wasn't going to win against video game superhero no matter what. So, it seemed like he was practicing out there trying to see if a very aggressive no holds bar risky game would do any good. Obviously not. He didn't wanna run around to get every ball muscle bound monster hits back only to lose the point anyway. Why risk injury as many have said above. Also, as JMF said above, nadal's topspin shots looked so heavy and hard for federer's' backhand and even forehead to handle. It was if the strength of those topspin shots were pushing fed back as if the hulk exploded on him.

      Delete
  27. I just know that there is an asteroid named Rafael Nadal. I thought it was a joke and sarcasm. But I read it in Wikipedia and space labs site who award the naming. And the naming happened after Nadal won Wimbledon final after back-to-back 5 setter. Well, maybe it was just a joke.. clever one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish Nadal were a shooting star, not an asteroid. ;)

      Seriously, wouldn't it be funny if the poor island boy with the bum knees were to play longer than all of the top guys on tour right now? I mean, the number of times I've heard he wouldn't play for a long time because of the wear to his knees, yada yada...

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anyone want to pre-order Djokovic's new gluten-free lifestyle book which comes out around U.S. Open time?

    Here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like the THASP Twitter feed is one step ahead of me, lol.

      Delete
  30. Talking of new books, Jimmy Connors' autobiography, "The Outsider", is out. So far I have been impressed at his training regimen, which included hours of drills on court as well as fitness training. That was the 1970's. But when you look at photos of Connors and his buddies in their prime, and watch Youtube footage of them in their glory days, they are pretty much a joke by comparison with the transformers of today. Since it's hard to imagine today's players can train any harder than Connors did I guess it comes down to diet ...

    (By the way, Connors got real injuries, and lost form as a result.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do love how the 'better training and equipment' argument is deployed by the doping apologists to explain the sudden evolutionary leaps within sport.

      Another sport that shows off its doping is rugby. Look at photos of the top players from the 1970s and 1980s and you look at them now. There is a sport with a massive steroid problem that buries its head in the sand.

      Delete
  31. Anyone notice the big names already out of the French Open?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. why? Have they upped their drug testing regimen again? If so, why is Nadal playing? ;)

      Delete