Thursday, July 25, 2013

Viktor Troicki (Update)

Update: The ITF has found it in their hearts to post the full tribunal decision.

25 Jul 2013

"The International Tennis Federation announced today that Viktor Troicki has been found to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.3 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to sample collection).

"Mr Troicki, a 27-year-old player from Serbia, was notified on 15 April 2013 that he had been selected to provide a urine sample and a blood sample in association with his participation at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters event.

"Mr Troicki provided a urine sample, but did not provide a blood sample. He asserted to an
independent tribunal that he was assured by the Doping Control Officer (DCO) that it would be acceptable not to provide a sample on account of him feeling unwell that day. However, the tribunal concluded that the DCO told Mr Troicki that she could not advise him as to whether his reason for not providing a blood sample was valid, and that no such assurances were given by her.

"Accordingly, the tribunal determined that Mr Troicki’s actions constituted a failure and a refusal to provide a blood sample, and that his explanation for not doing so did not constitute compelling justification under Article 2.3. However, the tribunal accepted that the stress that Mr Troicki was under at the time entitled him to mitigation under Article 10.5.2.

"Mr Troicki’s commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.3 of the Programme was, therefore, confirmed, and the tribunal determined that he is suspended from participation for a period of 18 months, and so ending at midnight on 24 January 2015. It was also determined that Mr Troicki’s results at the 2013 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at that event."


Troicki has given his view on the suspension:

Can you explain what actually happened?

It happened in Monte Carlo this spring. I was feeling awfully bad on April 15th before, during and after the 1st round match against Jarkko Nieminen. I was selected for urine and blood test after the match and went to the doping control station after showering and stretching. I gave the urine samples and told the doctor I was feeling really bad and I believed that drawing blood would make me feel even worse. I always feel awful when I need to draw blood and that day I was scared I would end up in hospital.

The doctor in charge of the testing told me that I looked very pale and ill, and that I could skip the test if I wrote an explanation letter to ITF about it. She dictated the letter to me and let me go without giving blood. She was very helpful and understanding.

And what went wrong thereafter? 
Now I am being charged for refusing to undergo a blood test without justification. This is a real nightmare.
I was 100% sure everything was ok, just like my coach Jack Reader who was in the doping control station room with me during at least half of the procedure.

Did you eventually have a blood test when you felt better? 
Yes, I had a blood test from the same doping control officer the next morning. 

Did you get the urine and blood test results back, and if you did what did they show?
Both negative, totally clean.

How often have you been tested in an out of competition?
I was tested 5 times for blood and many more times for Urine.

Have you ever missed a test before?
No, I never missed a test before.

Have you consulted with the ATP medical team to back you up?
No I haven’t. The doping control officer doing the controls was a doctor herself. I asked her and she showed me all her diplomas. She checked me and told me I could skip the test and dictated me the explanation for it. After I left the doping control station I went straight to bed and slept all afternoon. I didn’t see any reason to worry so I didn’t look for any help.

What are your immediate thoughts, feelings?

I am destroyed and exhausted. The whole period I have been thinking only about this issue. And it is not over yet, so I can’t really describe it. I am not even angry with the doctor. I believe that maybe she was told by her organization that she made a big mistake letting me go she backed up and tried to save her job.

Have you spoken to other players?
Yes, I spoke to my doubles partner Seppi and other players tonight. They are as shocked as me and they think it is ridiculous. It could have happened to anyone of them.

Will you be appealing?

Yes for sure. I put my trust in the Court of Arbitration of Sports in Lausanne, I really hope they will look for the truth and find it, which is only one.

The doping rules are pretty strict but do you feel there should be consideration for such situations?

The doping rules are strict and they must remain strict. But this was a clear mistake from the on-site doping control officer who was also a doctor, and the person in charge to decide. She let me go and reassured me. In my opinion once she found out that she didn’t follow the procedures she turned her back on me.

Have you spoken to Novak and if so what has he said?

He said that he is sure it will end good because I am innocent, and that ATP should really back me up with this.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I feel like I am being treated like a criminal and I have not committed anything at all. I have a fear of the needle and I always have troubles drawing blood. But I always did. I am clean and will always be clean throughout my career. I just had the wrong doctor who didn’t tell me at all that I was risking anything. She showed me a letter of the ITF saying she is in charge of the decisions and I trusted her completely. I wish I had recorded the discussion, there would have never been a case if I did.
I am 100% sure that the court of arbitration in Lausanne will consider my good faith and my total innocence. But now, this enormous sanction makes me speechless. It feels like the world that I help building day by day has let me down. It is the worst feeling you can imagine.

What are you going to do now?
I really don’t know. It is all fresh and I can’t really believe it yet. I am a fighter and I will try to fight, together with my team and my lawyers, but I am quite destroyed now. I hope this nightmare will come to a good end, and I really want to continue playing. I don’t deserve this.


If Troicki's story is true there should be a paper trail documenting it. The DCO's would have filled doping control forms, indicating that Troicki was scheduled for both urine and blood tests, and that only a urine sample was collected. The DCO would have needed to indicate the reason why the blood test was not collected. All this paperwork would have been available to both Troicki and the ITF. This paperwork would have clarified whether or not the DCO told Troicki that he could do the blood test at a later date.

The question: Why wasn't Troicki able to persuade the ITF Tribunal to see things his way? He's essentially saying that the DCO didn't follow proper protocol. If that's the case, he should have been exonerated. However, he wasn't.


  1. Mrrrm. I wonder why a player would have anything in their system for an IC test, especially when they had a week off beforehand. On top of that, on his weaker surface (he's not terrible on clay, moves OK, but his ceiling is limited).

    On the other hand, the excuse is ridiculous.

  2. Troicki is the biggest fish to be caught so far. It looks like pressure from various quarters decrying the ITF's lack of seriousness has finally spurred them to action.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I doubt it. If a bunch of players get popped for missed tests rather actual positives, it might appear like the sport is less dirty to the brainless masses, but ultimately, there's really not much difference. I fully expect that if any of the Top 4 were to test positive (the likelihood is slim to none since tennis's testing is a complete joke), he would be silent-banned, citing injury as the reason for his downtime.

    3. My thoughts exactly.

      Today, Brad Gilbert wondered on Twitter why was Tipsarevic so underwhelming this year (14 W 15 L). Really, Brad?

    4. I was initially replying to PK, but Gideon makes valid points too.

      I am now very curious to hear Djokovic's comments regard his pal.

    5. Yeah, no doubt this is a win-win for ITF. Troicki hasn't failed a test and he is a big enough fish for ITF to do some self back patting. I strongly suspect that if this were a star player, he would be let go with a silent ban explained away by a mysterious injury.

  3. This is a good result for ITF - they get to look tough on doping but noone actually fails a test - "hey look everyone noone dopes in tennis but nevertheless we're going to be take a hard line on the issue!"

    Irony is would not surprise me if this is just foolishness from Troicki.

    1. Yep, a bit like Gasquet. A system that catches non-dopers only, because the real dopers are very careful to make sure they never break a rule.

    2. There have been a number of bans recently:

      Fernando Romboli (furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide)

      Dimitar Kutrovksy (methylhexameamine)

      Barbora Zahlavova Strýcová (sibutramine)

      Not surprisingly, as the number of tests pick up, the number of positive results also pick up. No wonder Troicki was under so much "stress."

  4. Well, we need to look at all the facts. First, this was a 1st round loss to Nieminen (See noting: J Nieminen (FIN) d V Troicki (SRB) 61 62). Nieminen is currently ranked 39. (

    So, loser targeting testing. (fail).
    But, blood testing. (FTW). Troicki was clearly not expecting blood testing and we can assume he had some reason to refuse it because no one believed his BS story.
    Violation was April 15, not reported until July 25. (fail). This is further evidence that Miller is full of sh!t. He says it takes so long because "samples need to be mailed to the lab" and "b samples need to be tested." Well, there were no samples taken, no samples mailed to the lab and no "b sample" to test. This looks like it was just the testimony of 2 people -- Troicki and the DCO. So, it takes 90 days to hear 2 people's story about a 30 second conversation between them?

    The ban was reduced under 10.5.2 (fail). While I think a shorter ban would be fair, using 10.5.2 to do it is comical. This section applies when it is determined that "Athlete or Person establishes in an individual case that he or she bears No Significant Fault or Negligence." I find it difficult to believe that the tribunal found that Troicki was completely lying about his reasons for not taking the blood test, but then found "No Significant Fault" with lying to the tribunal. The cases sited in the rules for when 10.5.2 always included things outside the athlete's control -- such as a competitor sabotaging a player by doping him (Yes, this is an example cited in the official rules). Using "I was sick" as a mitigating factor fails to explain why the tribunal held that he was lying about the whole thing and also fails to amount to any unusual circumstances requiring a deviation from the rules --- feeling "unwell" or under "stress" is something that happens every day to people. If you don't feel well enough to take a blood test, then don't step onto the court -- go see a doctor, get some rest, take care of yourself, but don't allow it is be used as an excuse to skip doping control.

    I don't have a problem with the 18 month ban, I just think they should change the rules to give discretion on the ban directly under 2.3 (missed tests) just like they do under 2.4 (whereabouts). That is, I prefer the language of 10.3.3 that says violations of "Article 2.4 (Whereabouts Filing and/or Missed Tests)" have a "minimum one (1) year and at a maximum two (2) years based on the Athlete's degree of fault." This would be better than performing a separate test under 10.5 for "substantial fault."

  5. Speaking of Serbians, Djokovic visited the "Institute of Medicine and Science in Sports" in Rome for "examination of heart and lungs." (

    Anyone know about this place or any ties to other athletes?

    1. Now that really does ring a bell, but can't place it. Long day.

      Will remember it tomorrow hopefully.

    2. Got it - not relevant (relating to the 90s and Conconi).

      This is a CONI institute, so not really suspicious in any way - as far as sports bureaucracies go, they're one of the good guys (at least nowadays).

  6. Either people at have trouble with reading comprehension or I don't make coherent points, and I'm not willing to concede the latter. One person even disagreed with me by stating that only urine tests can detect EPO, which was the base of what I originally said. I'm going back in my hole now.

    1., as a whole, seems to be living in a ''Care Bears'' kind of world where doping doesn't exist.

  7. This case is ultimately about "compelling justification." What do you guys think on this matter. For this discussion, let's assume (and I'm not saying these proposed facts are necessarily accurate) that Troicki was told that he had to provide a blood sample in addition to the urine sample. Let's also assume that he said he didn't want to, because he wasn't feeling well. Let's also assume that the DCO told him he could leave with no penalty. Under those facts, SHOULD that be a "compelling justification" for not providing a sample. Don't be concerned with what the rule would actually dictate. What do you think the rule should dictate in this fact pattern?

    One major factor against giving him a "compelling justification" exemption in this fact pattern is that the issue would've never come up if he had just provided the sample. Given the judgment, I assume that the tribunal concluded that feeling sick was not "compelling justification" for refusing to provide a sample, and I think that's probably right. Therefore, in the absence of the DCO giving him any sort of permission, he would likely not have a "compelling justification" in this fact pattern.

    But the analysis can't end there, because we said that the DCO did give permission in this fact pattern. The real issue, then, is whether you put the onus on the player to KNOW that he has to provide a sample in this fact pattern even though the DCO let him walk out. The crux here is that it is a strict liability system where the player is tasked with knowing all the rules. The question really becomes: is the player tasked with knowing the rules even when the DCO provides contradictory information, as it relates to the fact pattern I've proposed.


    1. But the DCO did not simply okayed his no show. They also can't physically enforce the sample taking, sadly ;)

      So after informing him of the possible consequences acorrding to standard protocol, which is what I assume they did, he simply walked out and began "creating" his hair raising bs excuses for he knew he was in deep shyte, especially after not reaching Miller on the phone (that part worries me the most here, tbh).

      I don't think "giving permission" is what she did, she had no other opportunities other than to NOT collect the sample for he was refusing/not up for it.

      I understand that you are working with hypothesis here, but the core factor seems that Troicki should have known.

      In fact, his reactions clearly show me he knew VERY well what was ahead of him. His evasion speaks volumes.

      I really don't get how some don't hear it....f.i. Steve Tignor.

  8. The DCO can't forcibly take blood, so as long as she explained the potential consequences of not providing a sample, then I imagine that would mean she had done her job. Perhaps Troicki or his coach had reason to believe that "I'm not feeling well" would serve as a compelling justification.

    By the way, how much blood do they take?

  9. Every day doctors take blood from people who are sick so that it can be tested, so Troicki's excuse hardly holds up.

    Also, only about a teaspoon of blood is taken.

    1. I suspect the reason why he felt so ill and suddenly went pale is because he found out he would have to give a blood sample as well as urine. Clearly he didn't want to give a blood sample and needed to come up with a quick excuse. Isn't he one those Serbian players with the diplomatic passport? It will be interesting to see what his buddy Novak has to say.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Yes, if Troicki did indeed have the consequences explained to him regarding the lack of a blood sample when requested, he is fair game for punishment.

    Also, I concur with others regarding cynicism of him being on any regime at that particular moment on the tour, and indeed share the bemusement at his ludicrous excuses.

    However, I personally regard this as damaging to the whole notion of raising awareness of doping in tennis.

    Firstly, it will send the message to outside observers and wishful thinkers, that tennis testing exists at a moderate level at the very least, and tennis 'is doing what it can' to catch cheats or those with irregularities - or whatever other lyrical waxing ITF/ATP can shoehorn on the back of this matter.

    It also fools people into thinking that this is a high-profile positive result; whereas in reality, no-one has actually been caught doing anything. This gives carte blanche to manipulation of this statistic in any way the relevant bodies see fit to champion their 'efforts'. Realistically though, our highest profile 'result to date' remains Greg Rusedski and the mystery of the excess Nandrolone several years ago - but even he got off, didn't he?

    So who does that leave us with as the most 'high profile' bust within the ATP/WTA tours? Kendrick? Odesnik? Bohdan Ullirach?

    The depressing status quo remains, and the Omerta will surely stay intact for some time to come.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. IF he is telling the truth, he seems to have been thrown under the bus by the ITF because of the increasing pressure regarding its testing (or lack thereof). That being said, I don't believe him (so far). If he were truly innocent, he would mount a major countersuit against the ITF or something for basically stealing his salary for a year and a half and tarnishing his reputation because he received contradictory advice). If it stays as it is - him claiming his innocence and the ITF upholding the suspension - it will be akin to Pete Rose vs MLB back in the day and we all know who was lying then. Because come on Viktor, no athlete will faint from a little bloodwork...

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. What I find very interesting about this case is that Troicki's results were steadily improving ever since the start of the clay season. He reached the quarters in Bucharest, Munich and Dusseldorf, fourth round at the French Open and third round at Wimbledon. Before that, he was in a deep funk for 16 months that saw him drop out of the top 50 in the rankings. I wouldn't be surprised if he accumulated 2 missed tests somewhere along the way like Cilic and Simon a couple of years back.


    "Quinzi and his many doubts on doping in tennis"

    In a TV special of "Sport Mediaset" [Italian national media] having the title “The best youth” aired last night , Gianluigi Quinzi interviewed after his win at the Wimbledon Junior Chammpionships talked, among many things, about doping. He did so very bravely, even attacking with no omerta the top players.
    Tackling straightforrwardly the core of the matter, the Italian youngster said :”I see that the various Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are never being caught, while they catch people ranked 30 or 40. If Nadal or Federer are to get caugh, they should be caught because tennis can go on even without them. And then the final firework, mentioning Novak Djokovic as an example:”At the Australian Open Djokovic plays a 5-hour match and the next day another one. Doubts arise naturally... and what makes me sad is that possibly others get caught instea of them”.
    This is a word-by-word faithful transcription of what Quinzi stated. A youngster expressing his more than rightful doubts in absolutely honest manner, maybe a bit naive, but considering the age this can be forgiven. Some people may find this disrespectful towards the "gods" of tennis, but in his words he probaly wanted to use big names as an example, to make is view stronger and clearer.
    It is true though that at the end of the interview, the guests in the TV studio, in spite or their being surprised by the openness of Quinzi's speech, were completely in agreement with him. Especially the journalist Paolo Bargiggia endorsed the opinion of Quinzi criticizing the antidoping system in tennis, that he believes being too protective towards the top players, daring to say that the authorities prefer to make a player (who did not pass a test) "simulate" an injury rather than punish him with a ban. The same Bargiggia cited the Fuentes case making a general reference to the suspects and rumours around the name of Nadal.


      the link to the interview (in Italian, obviously)

    2. Brave words by the young man. What he said isn't far from the truth either. Enough with the so called rivalries and dynasties in tennis. It is about time the next generation is allowed to come up through the ranks.

    3. Very interesting article.

  17. Ummmm, well how much blood do they take? Are we talking a diabetes drop or a big syringe-full?
    My daughter is a little person, I would get squeamish if they pulled out a lot of blood...

    1. It depends on why the blood is being drawn.

      For blood transfusion testing it is 2 vials of 3ml each.
      For testing for hGH it is 2 vials of 5ml each.
      For biological passport purposes it is 1 vial of 3 ml.

    2. Eeeeee, I will pray for no hGh testing. Why the heck do they need so much? Do they need to paint a picture with the stuff or look at it under a microscope?

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.


  19. As such, an Athlete should be able to rely on the DCO to explain his rights because that is within the granted authority of that individual. The fact that the DCO was also a doctor is irrelevant as that simply means the person was also working as the "Blood Collection Official" -- which is permitted. ("A DCO may also perform the duties of a Blood Collection Officer, if qualified to do so.")

    In addition, the doping control form issued by WADA (it is not clear if the ITF uses this form or has one of their own) clearly states that an Athlete has a right to "Request a delay in reporting to the Doping Control Station for a valid reason (as determined by the Doping Control Officer)." ( The athlete also has the right to "request modifications to the Sample collection procedure" if the athlete has a disability. It is a bit of a stretch to say feeling "unwell" is a disability, but clearly, exceptions can be made to the "strict liability" of complying with the rules.

    However, the issue is that Troicki was not believed, and there is good reason for that. The normal procedure is to : "Make comments relating to the sample collection process on the doping control documentation, if applicable." This is something the Athlete does and the DCO will sign the documentation, as noted in the "Question" section in the original post. Troicki never stated that he wrote any of this on the form be instead took the time to write a separate letter and not include it in the doping control documentation maintained by the DCO. If you look at the above WADA standardized form, section 4 includes a "Comments" section and notes "Any comments should be noted here, if necessary continue on a supplementary report form." Any supplementary report forms receive an identifying number which is also documents on the Doping Control Form -- so the document that Athlete signs will reference all relevant documentation that should be present. The section right above the Athlete's signature states that "I DECLARE THAT, SUBJECT TO COMMENTS MADE IN SECTION 4, SAMPLE COLLECTION WAS CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RELEVANT PROCEDURES FOR SAMPLE COLLECTION." Thus, it would be clear that the "Comments" section needed to be filled out.

    Anyway, typically the CAS publishes more information, so once the appeal is decided we will get more facts. I just find it difficult to believe that if Troicki wrote in the comments section "The DCO said I could take the test tomorrow because I was too sick to draw blood" and then the DCO signed the document without any further comment that there would be an issue (The Athlete is given a copy of the form, so the DCO couldn't simply add it in later.).

    In any case, if Troicki really did leave the comments section blank and rely exclusively on verbal representation from the DCO, then he is too stupid to function as a professional tennis player and that is reason enough to support the ban.

  20. Opps.. The above post has my first paragraph missing....

    It basically said:

    I am commenting on the "If Trocki is telling the truth" issue. If he is telling the truth, there should have been no ban because the Doping Control Officer is authorized and expected to explain the Athetes rights to him. See . The DCO is responsible to "Ensure that the
    Athlete ’s rights and responsibilities are explained" and to "Explain, or arrange explanation of, the process for Blood Sample
    collection to Athletes and Athlete Representatives, as necessary."

    I'll also comment on the "Why evade a blood test because these don't typically detect drugs used in competition?" The answer is simple. If he took EPO 3 days ago, it would be negative on his urine sample. However, his hematocrit would be out of range. This value is part of the "biological passport" program. He could then manipulate the hematocrit value over night to have an in-range value in the morning. This is done by consuming large amounts of water.

    1. Given that Gluten-free Eggovic has signed a witness statement in Troicki's defense, one can expect that Troicki's sentence will get reduced by at least 6 more months.

    2. It is curious as to why Troicki didn't call "Lance" while all this was going on. "Dr." Miller probably didn't answer the phone because he was too busy licking Djokovic's boots, but Djokovic could have just put him on speaker phone and made the whole thing go away.

  21. Apparently another fairly big name has failed a test......

    This could get interesting.

    1. Apparently Cilic. I'm assuming the two rumours are the same thing.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Apparently they caught Cilic in Munich..... can't read Croatian, maybe someone can.

    In English

  25. After reading the full decision, I am shocked that the ITF would release this document as it confirms that they testing policy is NOT WADA compliant and that testing is done at the exclusive direction of "Dr." Miller who can waive the testing for any player for any reason he sees fit.

    In particular, the ITF confirmed in its testimony that Troicki needed permission from "Dr." Miller because he was "the man that is deciding things." The ITF confirmed that if "Dr." Miller had been contacted by phone, he could have waived the test. This is NOT in compliance with the WADA code and it appears that players that have "Dr." Miller on speed dial can get out of any test they wish.

    For instance, consider Serena's "panic room" incident. It was always wondered how, after it was established that the "burglars" were indeed DCOs, why didn't Serena give a sample? Well, she had "Dr." Miller on speed dial, and it is now the confirmed policy that he can grant doping indulgences to players.

    Note to players: Be nice to "Dr." Miller if you plan on doping. (See p.17 of the decision in which it is stated that clearly that " Dr Miller was the one who had to make the decision."

    Also, these tests will not show up as "missed tests" because they were not indeed "missed." They will just fall off the statistics completely. What a joke.

  26. Interesting how little discussion there has been here of time frames. While Troicki did not give a sample when requested, almost no one has mentioned the fact that he did give one less than 12 hours later, and it tested clean. It would be worth reviewing the possible/likely drugs that would be detectable in a blood test but not a urine test, and whether those would still show up in blood if the test was administered 10-12 hours later than expected. This would seem to be an important angle when considering if Troicki was knowingly avoiding a positive test, or if he made a bonehead move (or was incorrectly advised).

    1. Well, the argument goes both ways. If you are so "sick" and "afraid of needles," then why does that suddenly change in 12 hours? He experiences a "miracle" recovery and overcomes a lifelong phobia in 12 hours?

      In any case, there are numerous explanations for this. There is that previous doping of EPO that I had described above. There is CERA which is only tested for in blood, of course there is just plain old blood transfusions -- a bad batch of which would cause an athlete to become "unwell" but still able to play. There is serum testosterone levels. There is hGH. There are HBOCs which have known side effects of causing "abdominal discomfort" and "flushed skin." (

      In addition, all of these could be "cured" either by taking saline or diuretics depending on which drug he had taken. The diuretics are not tested for in blood. So, what he needed to do was give a blood and urine sample AT THE SAME TIME. He could have taken the urine test first, then taken the masking agents, then taken the blood test. The masking agents wouldn't show up in the first urine test because he hadn't taken them. They are not tested for in the blood test.

      He may also have been uncertain of his hematocrit because of prior EPO use. He goes back to the hotel, tests it -- takes about 2 minutes, realizes it is within range and then offers to test. Alternately, he could either inject saline or drink large amounts of water if his hematocrit was too high.

      I think any drug testing program that gives an athlete 12 hours notice before a test would be considered a joke. Obviously, the reason for this is that athletes can do things within 12 hours to prevent positive tests. I have listed some items above, but if I really spent a lot of time on it, there could be hundreds of different masking agents or techniques that could be used within a 12 hour period, especially when you know the next test is a blood test and not a urine test.

    2. Nicely explained. This sounds much MUCH closer to what went down than anything whatsoever Troicki serves us.


  27. I used to love and respect tennis, the players , the game . Now I kinda feel cheated and sick in my stomach. Reading this message board has really opened my eyes.In fact, everyone who's winning in any sport is cheating nowadays.