Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cilic (Updated)

The Malaysian press reports that:
Croatian tennis star Marin Cilic is set to make his debut in the Malaysian Open ATP 250 from Sept 21-29 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil despite being investigated for failing a dope test...

“Cilic is being investigated for the failed dope test but he is not banned by the ITF or ATP...he is free to enter and play in tournaments,” said Malaysian Open organisers IMG in a statement.
Interesting. If true, this would appear to confirm that Cilic has opted for a voluntary provisional suspension, indicating that he tested positive for a "specified substance" rather than a strictly "prohibited substance".

Update:  The Croatian media is reporting that Cilic has withdrawn from the US Open.


  1. So specified rules out hGH or steroids then.

    So he is going for the "somehow-someone-spiked-my-toothpaste" type of denfense; a substance that inadvertently entered his body.

    Too bad it's ITF that gets to decide if they consider his defense convincing. Or not.

    I would really like to hear that story and check it for its plausability.

    Too bad we won't hear that. What could that possibly be in the age of internet and WADA-lists and all the information available to athletes these days?

    His story must have been better than Contador's, I guess.

    Hard to top that ;)

    1. I think he has already said that he knowingly took a substance that turned out to contain a banned substance. It also appears that a warning label was on the product but he failed to read it, as did his team member who purchased the product. (

      As such, it would appear that he is setting up a Rule 10.4 request rather than attempting to be found completely "not guilty." Under Rule 10.4, he must prove (1) how the Specified Substance entered his body, (2) and that it was not intended to improve performance. If he does, the sentence can be reduced to a "reprimand." (It can include a ban up to the full amount of 2 years, but the only mandatory minimum sentence is a reprimand.) (See

      Accepting Cilic's story, he clearly has proven (1). Depending on the type of substances used, (2) could be easy to prove as well. He will simply state that he was using some type of product for some other use. If Cilic did disclose the use of this product on his doping control form, then it is likely he would only get a reprimand. There is a place on the doping control form where the player is required to list all "prescription/non-prescription medications or supplements" taken over the past 7 days. (

      Most likely, Cilic has had his hearing at this point and is awaiting the decision. He likely simply determined that he would get a sentence less than he has already served and decided to continue playing, obviously risking any money or ranking points he may win.

      Given the 18-month ban for Troicki, it will be interesting to see how Cilic is handled. Clearly, Cilic is expecting a 3-month ban from the time he withdrew from Wimbledon -- which would expire just shortly before this tournament. How he is so confident that his ban expire is also a good question. Does he have Stuart's phone number of speed dial?

      A good question to ask is how an athlete can prove a substance was "not intended to improve performance." Anything an athlete takes could always be viewed as "improving performance." For instance, eating just regular food "improves performance" because it is difficult to play when you are starving. Taking a sleeping aid would "improve performance" because it is also difficult to play if you are tired.

      The WADA code is not helpful here because is says that the player must prove that the "ingestion would not have been beneficial to the Athlete." As noted above, just about everything is "beneficial" to the athlete.

      The code is also unclear because it says the standard is that "such Specified Substance was not intended to enhance the Athlete's sport performance." Well, in a case like Cilic, the athlete did not know that the Specified Substance was being taken, even though it was negligently taken. Obviously, he was not "intending" for an unknown substance to have any affect because he didn't know about it. The questions should not be whether the Specified Substance was intended to improve performance but whether athlete intended to improve his performance by taking the substance that contained the Specified Substance.

      For instance, taking a over-the-counter supplement called "Super Speed" which unknowingly included banned stimulants should not result in a reduced ban because the intent was clearly to improve sports performance. On the other hand, taking "Super All Natural Laxative" that also contained a banned diuretic should result in a reduced sentence because clearly there was no intent to improve sports performance by taking the substance -- though the code still needs to be clarified because it would "improve performance" because it is very difficult to play when you are constipated.

    2. Diuretics function as masking agents, to clear the system. So I would be suspicious if an athlete gets caught for that and claims constipation or weight loss.

      Come to think of it, Nadal (I apologize for singeling him out again) DOES give me the constipated face look a lot...

      Thing with Cilic is, have they been testing his sample for other substances as well? In the (likely) case he has also been abusing insulin or possibly even hGH, as I laid out in the other post.

      Or do they simply stick to what they got, glucose levels, to not raise hell and maybe give Cilic a pass?

      I mean, if I would get caught with high glucose levels and had actually been abusing hGH or insulin prior to the test (I haven't, don't worry ;)) I would make sure to have some supplement ready to explain away my glucose level, just in case...

      I might be reaching here, I admit.

      As for adequately naming your (illegal) supplements, according to your logic, one would need to call them "Superloser" or "xprssFirstroundexit" or whatabout "FAIL"... idk if I am completely convinced by your explanation, Mtracy, regarding intent. Whether it's called "DoubleliquidBagel" or "FuckingAwesomeSlamWinner", for me it's more about the content and the likelyhood of illegal substances in them. If you take either of them and there are banned substances in them, you are responsible. Unless you pass out and your entourage is force-feeding you stuff.

      In any case, I'd make sure to bring my own stuff, which has been tested by my entourage and I'd stick to it just to avoid situations Cilic has found himself in, that is, if we believe what he says.

      That said, I do agree with you that proving intent is the weak spot in WADAs code. It would be easier, if the ITF would take the pains to compose a list of all allowed supplements and then there'd be less ambiguity.

    3. Hehe, that's okay, he does have that constipated look....and the tugging of his pants might be because he fears any moment that constipation comes out...

      Well, having a list of approved supplements and prohibiting any others would help. Also, whenever manufacturer come with new products, WADA/ITF could get some extra revenues from the mfg going through a process of getting their product approved (or an annual fee for each product to keep it on the "approved"-list). Playing field supplement-wise would get leveled to some extent that way.

      Of course players could still claim their approved product was tainted, but they would have to prove that. And if it is, then punishment could be mild and the product taken off the approved-list. At least no BS of allegedly not knowing what's in a product.

    4. And that extra revenue should go to drug testing, of course...

  2. Marion Bartoli has retired from tennis. What's going on?

    1. According to sports illustrated...

      “I have pain everywhere after 45 minutes or an hour of play…. it’s just body wise I just can’t do it anymore,” Bartoli said after the match.
      “Everyone will remember my Wimbledon title. No one will remember the last match I played here. That was probably the last little bit of something that was left inside me,” she said about her Wimbledon title.

      Seems a bit of a quick reaction no? I feel pain and so it means I should probably retire. That would be like every tennis player ever. Rafa would have retired ages ago.

      But yes, my first reaction, something bigger is going on behind the scenes. Of course, let's not discount the fact that she may just not have that fight in her left, she won a grand slam, in her eyes, what else can she realistically accomplish. It's just so sudden, no farewell tour, not attempting to play the last slam, finish out the year, no break either to see if the injury heals. Just done.

    2. Very interesting indeed....

      You're right Carlos, of course, given her history of injuries, her generally being somewhat overweight and her age, it's entirely possible that after winning Wimbledon, she doesn't see the point anymore of putting herself through more pain since there's nothing higher she believes she can achieve in any years left.
      Perhaps she has been pondering her retirement the weeks after Wimbledon and now makes the decision.

      On the other hand, it does seem awfully quick after her victory, and if she had already decided to retire after Wimbledon, why even play this match in Cincy? Why not just a farewell at a GS tournament, the highest stage?
      The problem with the suspected 'silent ban' habits of the ITF with respect to doping offences is that her sudden retirement is now suspicious, which is a shame if she's retiring for the right reasons...

    3. "Not normal," as they say.

      Why doesn't she just talk to Stuart Miller and he will tell her that tennis is a game of skill -- no need to physically exert yourself. Just use your "skill" and "mental toughness."

      It will be funny to see all the talking heads go on and on about how physical the game has become and how recovery is so critical, all the time completely ignoring the fact that PEDs greatly help with all of this.

    4. Isn't it amazing how many still dare come with arguments claiming PEDs don't help when a sport requires great technical skills?

      Recently the best female speedskater in the Netherlands (Wust) also claimed that PEDs wouldn't do much for their sport, since it's so technical.....Completely ignoring how PEDs assists in extra endurance, recovery and delaying fatigue-->prolonging proper technique.

      Always wonder to what extent those athletes are really that ignorant or whether they just try to divert attention away from doping issues, I'm guessing mostly the latter.

  3. She was tweeting just a day ago how excited she was to play at New Haven... and how she was motivated to keep winning after Wimbledon. She even talked about how fun it will be to play at Hopman Cup 2014 with Tsonga... Now she cites as the reason that her body can't take it anymore? I don't know whether she may be pregnant or serving a silent ban or what, but it's indeed strange.

    1. Very strange. And now Darren Cahill is saying Tsonga has pulled out of the US Open with a slight patellar tendon tear which will take much longer to heal since Tsonga doesn't like needles and will aim to heal it conventionally. IMO, feel that the players have been warned sometime around Wimbledon before & after, but it will not be exposed what has actually transpired behind the scenes. Itz the weirdness and strange contradictory things happening that continue to make us suspicious.

    2. Given the level of wear and tear, which must be tremendous, I have always been amazed at how few tennis players go Under the knife to repair a damaged knee or a shoulder. For my money, Tsonga seems to be taking a page right out of the Nadal. But why not? Nadal looks almost like his old 2010 US Open self right now. Tennis players would be great spokespeople for "natural" Healing methods...

      P.S. Oh, and what's up with tennis players being afraid of needles all of a sudden? Another fresh load of BS if you ask me.

    3. With Tsonga right now it is suspicious to me. B/c of the way he just retired at Wimbledon with no apparent injury but claiming injury. Fear of Needles seems like a very lame excuse & why the need to expose his fear now all of a sudden. With bartoli, I feel very bad being suspicious at all. I really like both players. They're very good for the sport. Great personalities. I hope that it is a very personal reason for bartoli rather than anything illegal caught. Not sure if we'll ever know. Justin henin,Hingis, capriati those were abrupt retirements we kinda just took but had suspicions.

    4. I've been wondering the same thing about the lack of surgical repairs. I am inclined to believe that in team sports, where they more or less have an employer (NFL, MLB, soccer, etc), they more often opt for surgical procedures, but I have no idea if that's true.
      If it is, it could be related to longer recovery time=longer loss of income, which is less of an issue in team sports it seems. Especially in individual sports like tennis/golf, missing tournaments means a big hit on income. They might be more likely to try non-surgical means first.
      Would love to see numbers on surgical procedures per sport.

      The needle thing is now Troicki and Tsonga, right? Anyone else? If more start using that excuse, it'd become a running joke.

    5. @Hola: funnily, I found Capriati very suspicious while she was playing after her comeback, but I never really took her retirement itself as that suspicious. Hingis strangely enough never seemed to be under much suspicion by anyone (not for doping at least, only for being a nasty character), yet got caught on Cocaine (debatable tho).
      Wonder if the ITF lets her come back provided she won't return to singles play.

  4. I guess there is only so much pain relievers can do for your body. I respect her decision though find it somewhat abrupt. Maybe there comes a point were any means to fight one's body, whether legal or not, won't do. Maybe she has reached that point?

    "My Achilles is hurting me a lot, so I can't really walk normally after a match like that, especially on the hardcourts when the surface is so hard. And my shoulder and my hips and my lower back. The body of a tennis player, you've been using it for so many years, and, yeah, my body is just done."

    She has been a player that stood out from the generic scream-queens and ball-murderes and I like her for that.

    Also for not giving a damn about the showbusiness side of tennis, which has polluted the game beyond recognition. I'd rather prefer not to see dancing/blogging self-promoters on court tbph.

    I like her for not falling for those all-too-popular, gluten-free-type of body modification offers out there which have been thrown at her by tennis pundits and "fans", but instead sticking to what she got. Her lack of vanity is applaudable as is her fighting spirit, she had great court coverage and was very agile despite not having an ideal physique (if such thing exists in tennis)she was relentless in her effort, which compensated for her deficits, proving that not only an idealized athlete type can win tournaments, but cleverness and agility outwin muscles. Athelets can come in all forms and sizes and represent the spirit of a sport.

    1. Although I did not enjoy her playing, I loved her character and intelligence. Whether there is anything suspicious going on or not, she definitely managed to get the most out of her career despite some limitations. And you're right, after winning Wimbledon, maybe it's suddenly become much easier to be happy with her achievements, not feeling ay urge anymore to push her body.

      I do think that there is a place for a certain type of showbusiness in tennis, but that it should come naturally from the players' personalities, which we also had in a way with e.g. McEnroe, Noah, Agassi, and now with Djokovic. Dancing on court does go a bit far sometimes nowadays, after Petkovic it was enough for me. The commercial part I do not appreciate as well, and to some extent overly self-promoting athletes.

  5. Former tennis pro Johan Krieg states his suspicions.

    1. It's encouraging to read a passionate article from an ex-pro on these issues, and I absolutely agree with his proposal to make the testing for doping a big industry and often test all players (whether that's financially doable is another story, but take away 10% of all tournaments' budgets and we have a start..).

      Nonetheless, his wanting a life-time suspension after a failed test, I can really not support. Perhaps for certain non-natural substances, but even then. Perhaps Kriek overestimates the state of science (as many do), but there is simply far too much we do not know about the human body, and under what circumstances the human body can produce more or less of a compound. False-positives will always be there, particular with naturally occurring substances. Threshold levels for such substances remain artificial, after all, based on population averages, and by definition there will be a small percentage that falls outside threshold levels. Right now I'm not ready to accept possibly wrongly ending careers. Maybe someday, but not now.

      "If an athlete then decides the risks are too high, and wants to stay “clean” and compete as such, such athlete will not be competitive! Is that fair? Of course not!"
      Although I agree with this in general, if I play Devil's advocate, you could make an argument that this is also true for anything an athlete does or ingests. If an athlete decides vitamins are too risky, he might be at a competitive disadvantage, but we would still deem that fair, right? This might sound like a silly example, but for example superdoses of vitC were always considered good for you, but we know now that for certain people, e.g. cancer-patients, it is detrimental. Do we really know longterm effects of altitude training? Maybe I find it too risky, but nobody would say it should be prohibited, right?

  6. In the wake of Lance Armstrong I believe the ITF have made some behind the scenes changes to prevent a UCI style catastrophe to their sport. Perhaps they are no longer loser testing?

    I think Bartoli has failed a test and the ITF has said 'keep your Wimbledon title and retire or carry on an we'll expose you'.

    1. Hogwash. France has been in the forefront of anti-doping measures for some time now. Her results at Wimbledon are consistent with coaching changes and technique enhancements. So please do not throw around baseless allegations. I take Marion at her word and I have no reason to besmirch her until credible evidence comes to light.

    2. [France has been in the forefront of anti-doping measures for some time now.]
      Perhaps, but according to AFLD stats, not so many tests are made on french tennis players ; not more than in several other countries - which means very few. (I'm french)
      And our authorities are like other ones : very pleased if there's no doping scandal - last example : le Tour de France : a journalist who knows this matter very well (Guillaume Prébois) recently wrote that customs officials were told not to be too zealous this year...
      I'm not saying Bartoli was doping, of course ; her explanation sounds credible. But her retirement was so sudden & surprised everybody (here in France as well)...
      Regarding what happens 'behind the scene', what I have understood is that if a player fails a test, his NADO (AFLD for Bartoli) and WADA (and ATP ? and IOC ?) are now aware of it - thanks to ADAMS... so, if deliberately hidden, WADA would be accomplice in it (??)

  7. Anyone looking forward to the Beauty and the Beast XXXI? Anyone placing bets on the outcome?

    1. Doping issues aside, this cannot be a good time for Roger to face Rafa. As much as Roger loves all aspects of the game, losing has to be his least favorite. The question becomes: How many more losses can he take before he retires? Sigh....

    2. Unfortunately, the outcome will be all too predictable. The Beast this year dominates the sport. The question is will it be a massacre or somewhat competitive. Given Fed's form this year, it won't be good at all for him. Murray actually has a shot at making the semifinal competitive against the Beast given his methods of success. But again, the outcome is all too predictable. But here's to hoping I'm completely wrong.

    3. Sadly, I don't see Federer making it competitve against his "not normal" opponent today. Even if the match were on indoor carpets where he has demolished Nadal in the past, he would be toast today. He seems more mentally fragile than ever, it won't end well. Hopefully were wrong but I doubt it.

    4. Despite his current mediocre form and seemingly fragile mental state, for some reason I have a feeling that Fed can at least make this competitive, maybe even win.

      My main concern with Fed is that his motivation seems to have dwindled this season, I don't see the same will to win as before.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. I think Fed's motivation has not dwindled, quite the opposite actually holds true. After reading all the obituaries on his former, succesful self in the press, I get the feeling our man is frantically trying to get the mental side of his game back in check and prove everybody wrong. He is not saturated, as some believe, he was bit listless for while, no doubt, when Djoker took him out of the limelight and made him third fiddle in the game. But as any top-ten athlete in any sport, he is ego-driven and probably was hurt by what he had to read.

      Thing is, does he have what it takes to get back on track? We can ask ourselves that, but motivation is on now thanks to the media.

      Apart from obvious technical deficiencies he needs to fix (serve, shank-balls, depth), the mental side is what has been dwindling dramatically. He begins to think before hitting and become uneasy.

      After the embarrassment of his last painful-to-watch losses, he seems eager to not fade away in disgrace and prove everybody wrong. Question remains: does he still got it in him, can he get his mojo back and not be distracted by doubters? Can he get his mental calm back?

      Side note:
      A loss to Nadal on hardcourt represents not really a catastrophe for me, for I believe it is an asymmetrical match anyway. And I don't necessarily mean Nadal forehand vs. Fed backhand or the age difference: there are strong indicators to believe Nadal is using illegal means to achieve his success'. Fed maybe too. But if he would be in need of some, it would have been in the past 8 months, and from the results, it does not look like he got "help". Unlike his opponent.

    7. A factor in Nadal's dominance may be the overall slowing of the courts over the years. See discussing player comments on how slow the Wimbledon grass has become.

      The ITF has been conducting a decades long battle to reduce the impact of serve and volley tennis in favor of the longer baseline rallies. It started with the introduction of a new ball type in 2000. See discussing "hot to slow the game down" by using the new "Type 3" balls.

      Fast forward and nobody liked the new balls and nobody played with them. No one manufactures the type 3 balls anymore.

      So, the ITF and tournament directors decided to slow the courts down, starting with Wimbledon. (See above article as well as referring to Wimbledon's grass as "faux-clay").

      The hard courts have also been slowed down. It appears that the Western and Southern Open uses "DecoTurf." Under the ITF's classification system, this is Category-3 (Medium).

      The ITF has developed a sophisticated system to measure court speed and rebound. ( However, the statistics for various courts are rarely published, so fans have little idea how much the courts have slowed over the years.

      The trend towards slower courts has lead to the "rise of the returners." That is, people like Djokovic and Murray are praised as "great returners" when in reality, they are able to return better because they are playing on slower courts -- they are also good returners as well. I won't digress into a discussion of how this makes any "greatest of all time" discussion meaningless.

      In any case, as it relates to Nadal... Certainly there are doping concerns. But there is also the issue that the ITF's attack on serve and volley has basically created a system that is ideal for his style of play. Nadal, known as the "king of clay," would naturally do better when grass and hard courts are taking on the properties of clay courts.

      Commentators always wonder at the ability to slide on hard courts. There are NOT the same hard courts that are in your public tennis facilities. The sand content is much greater -- which slows the court down and allows players to slide. Of course, the courts wear out very fast. This works well for a 2 week tournament with tones of money to spend on the courts. It does not work well for a public court that is resurfaced every couple of years at best.

      Federer has complained about the slowing of the courts as well. . Obviously, he is not going to win a lot of points with fans if he keeps say this over and over again, but in analyzing Nadal's performance and looking at it for "not normal" patterns, we do need to keep in mind the continual slowing of the courts and how that affects different players differently.

    8. U have a very valid point of the homogenization of all the courts. Itz sad really b/c serve & volley is a fun style, edberg & Becker, Mac; although only serve & volley would be quite boring. But I have been wondering for awhile now, why r so many players able to get great serves back. No wonder Roddick was having a hard time later on 'cause his serves started to be returned and his quick play no longer was that effective. His serve was so important to his winning. So, slowing down the courts is definitely one thing thatz messing with the game as is the racquet technology with bigger heads generating more power. U r right that it is quite stupid to compare players from different times as so many changes have been made over time. I hate when these comparisons r constantly being made. The slower hard court did, however, work for Isner today vs. the master of slowed hard courts Djoke.

    9. @Team: well, the listlessness has for me been an indication that hi motivation was not quite what it used to be. And who could blame somebody who is 32, has been that dominant for so long and won pretty much everything?
      His experimenting with a different racket is encouraging though, new-found motivation I think. I hope he'll continue experimenting with that later this year after the US open.
      Last night's performance was good, I liked what I saw in Fed's play, I believe he will make a real deep run in the USO again.

      @MTracy: Right on the money with your post. The courts etc. have become much slowed down, unfortunately, which gives especially Nadal a big advantage. I wish courts would've stayed just a fast as in the old days, not only because I thin serve-volley is the most beautiful playing style, but also because I think Federer could have been even a better serve-volleyer than he is a baseline payer. He was basically forced to be more of a baseline player, and still is the best ever so far. Imagine what he would've won as a serve-volleyer on faster courts...

    10. @MTracy - yes, you summed it up nicely, thanx. Everything you mentioned is somewhat implied in all my posts, if I may claim, for I constantly bemoan that development since it is homogenizing tennis and produces boredom.

      I still remmeber serve & volley and it's what I grew up with and how I began playing. Tennis needs variety and a mix of surfaces to encourage different playing styles and strategies to win. I am so fucking bored by what I see now.

      @Robert. Yes, that last match has seen him improved. Still, he could not keep it up to turn the tide although it was just a 3setter. I agree with your estimate regarding experimenting, I think with his achievements, he should go all out and be daring, maybe not so much in the early rounds, but whenever he encounters his nemeses. It could be liberating. Or a total mess.

  8. I came across this interesting read on Reddit (I know, shoot me) but it seemed well sourced and intelligently deduced.

    Here is the link.

    1. Someone on that reddit thread linked to an interesting Slate article, title/thesis being "The women's track and field record book needs to be expunged."

      I'm not a big t&f fan, but apparently female sprint WRs set way back in the 80s -- e.g., the 800m by Jarmila Kratochvilova and the 100m and 200m by Florence Griffith Joyner -- continue to stand today? Amazing ( dirty).

      Also from the piece, it's obvious after the fact, but I never really thought about it:

      "When men take steroids, a pituitary-gonadal feedback loop limits excess production of testosterone. Women, by contrast, begin to show male characteristics: decreased body fat, leaner muscle, facial hair, deeper voices, clitoral enlargement, male pattern baldness.

      'When you give women androgen, you're essentially masculinizing them,' says Dr. Linn Goldberg, a sports medicine specialist at Oregon Health & Science University. (Goldberg spoke as a medical expert, and does not espouse any theories on the persistence of women's records.) As distance runner Joan Nesbit Mabe puts it, 'a man can only become a faster man. A woman can become a man and get faster. They have a double boost. A woman who becomes more male, she's basically not a woman.' "

    2. Yeah, you could argue that the effects on women T&F records has been much worse than effects n tennis has been.

      Of the current world records of regularly contested stadium events, all of them were set before 1995 except for the 5k, 400m hurdles, javelin, 3000m steeple, pole vault and hammer throw. The last 3 are new events that didn't exist before 1995 or so. With javelin, they started over in 1999 and he wc at that oment hadn't been bettered since 1988. So that leaves only the 5k and 400m hurdles.
      And its not just that they haven't been bettered, for most of them nobody has even come close....

    3. Personally, I think that newer PEDs give men an additional improvement over the steroids from before in running events, while for women, none of the newer PEDs come close to high doses of steroids in terms of performance improvement. This also makes sense from a physiological standpoint, since steroids did so much more for women than for men.
      Interestingly, it's the technical/strength-based events in men that have old records. Only the 400m and 400m hurdles they won't come close to in the running events.

      Anyway, I know this is about tennis, just a side-thingy.

  9. When will this nightmare end?

    1. IMO, the Beast is making it hard to watch the end stages of tourneys this year that he's entered in, specifically his matches. He's actually become more neurotic, if that's possible. He's now added to his ritual of return of serve, pulling his shorts on the front side. He doesn't have time to do it on his serve 'cause of time constraints. So, the ritual goes something like this---- pick the butt, pull on front side of shorts, pull shirt on one side of shoulder followed by the other, then wipe forehead, pull hair behind one ear than the other ear, pinch nose. Sheesh, he does this on every single point!!!
      This is PEDs related, Nadal was sweating profusely despite the temp. Being pleasant. So profusely was his sweating that one of the commentators said Fed was having a hard time on the side Nadal was just on B/c of all the sweat!! LoL!

  10. Well all I can say is to anyone who still thinks Federer is on PEDs look only to last night's match against Nadal. Federer was using such skill and precision to hit the spots and Nadal had no clue how to handle him. Because Nadal isn't a talented player. He's just a brute. This went on for half the match and then the match took its toll. You could see it on Fed's face at the end. He was exhausted and gave everything he had out there. Nadal could have played for another 6 hours. Maybe Fed should jump on the doping bandwagon. It worked for Djoker, for a while. But Nadal is a different beast altogether. I mean, Federer was so exhausted he didn't even bother challenging match point, which as it turns out, was out.

    1. PED discussion aside, saying that Nadal isn't a talented player and just a brute is kinda ridiculous. He's no Fed in terms of talent, for sure (nobody is), but a player with more talent than most nonetheless.

      Hm, if Fed is clean (if), I wonder if PEDs could give him enough of a boost. I mean, he is getting older, at some point you'd expect him to start slowing down, whether it's because of his age or because his priorities are not with tennis (training) as much as when he was 25. Whether that's already the case, who knows, but it's natural.

      Anyway, his play itself yesterday is enough cause for me to be optimistic about his chances at the USO.

    2. Nadal's technique is indeed somewhat mediocre, I'd agree on that. His supposed doping aside, he definitely has a certain talent for court coverage though. He hits the ball from angles at a speed that is unmatched even by his most "advanced" rivals. The amount of top spin he is able to create on his forehand in any given situation is remarkable as well. Those talents help him in ground rallies, where he can outlast every opponent, enough stamina granted. He has a game and a style of play which are pretty much destined for the aid of PED. So even if other players would follow a similar doping regime as Nadal, they would probably not benefit of it as much as he supposedly does.

    3. Maybe I was being harsh. What I meant to say was "compared to Federer" he's untalented. I suppose he has a little talent.

    4. Hehe, compared to Federer, everybody else looks like a talentless fool! Who comes close to Fed in terms of natural talent? Nalbandian, Gulbis, Dimitrov?

    5. Well, the amount of top spin Nadal is able to create has more to do with power than technique, if I may add. Though no doubt technique is needed to produce that shot. It's really about grip control when being stretched while at the same time generating the encessary power to spin the ball - numerous times during rallies. Being able to hold that top heavy racquet and still get the ball back in moments of distress. Technique-wise, yes, he does find the lines and angles needed to out-maneuver his opponents.

      To me he is the best example to show how endurance and strength help you in the final stages of a rally or matches to keep reproducing those shots.

      One key-factor, I think Lopi was mentioning his "ritual" and how it has gotten longer, is recovery in-between rallies and how much time you have to recover after long rallies that take its toll. Nadal has always been pushing the time limit - imo he should get way more warnings for abusing the time rule. For that time is crucial, he benefits from being able to recover during those lengthy tic-ridden breaks. So instead of being tired or missing shots because he is out of breath/cooked, he does not breath heavily, recuperates and seemingly never tires.

      Interestingly enough, Dr. Keul (the doper guru from Freiburg I mentioned in one of my other posts on the German doping study) who closely worked with Becker and Graf in the 80s and 90s, did also a study on that crucial factor: recovery during rallies... Coincidence?

  11. Miguel Tejada suspended 105 games

    "Kansas City Royals infielder Miguel Tejada has been suspended 105 games after testing positive for an amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball's drug program.

    The suspension of the 2002 American League MVP is effective immediately, the Office of the Commissoner announced Saturday."

    Tejada is claiming he had ADD, and that he tested positive for adderal because MLB no longer gave him a therapeutic exemption. Correct me if im wrong, but doesn't MLB, NOT disclose what the player tests positive for under the players union contract?

    So basically, he can claim whatever he wants, for all we know he is making it up (and he can never actually prove what he tested for, neither would MLB). I'm glad some posters over at ESPN caught on to this fact. Talk about the perfect smokescreen for players, those unions, always a step ahead.

  12. I've loved tennis all my life, but I just can't enjoy it anymore. The athletic capability of some players just defies belief, and the whole product feels increasingly fake.

    I would love to think that the cheaters will get what's coming to them, but I have a sinking feeling they'll ultimately get away with it.

    I do believe that those governing the sport want it to be clean, but I suspect they are too strongly disincentivized to catch star players. A big scandal might be good for the sport in the long-term, but in the short term, it would hurt too many involved parties. Ergo, I suspect their strategy is to gradually improve testing going forward, and hope that the big players who are cheating get nervous and just stop.

    1. Despite thinking that most top players are doping, during matches I either just try convince myself that they are clean, or, when that doesn't work, to assume it is at least a level playing field if they're all doping. At least that way I can still enjoy the matches themselves. And after all, suspicions are still only suspicions, I don't want my suspicions to ruin my enjoyment of the game.

      Unfortunately, I don't think anyone in he governing bodies (bar a sole idealist exception here and there) has any incentive to catch the starts doping. Too much at stake in terms of money and power. Gradually improving testing they will yes, to keep up the appearance that they're doing something, all the while knowing that the doping and regimes themselves will advance faster/more than testing. The big players will always continue doping, alas.

    2. Same here, arcus. I used to watch a lot of tennis, but the more I know about doping, the more dissapointed I get. Matches and rankings don't feel real anymore, so what's the point? I stopped caring about Grand Slams, head to heads, declines, retirements or come backs. I feel I'm being fooled by everyone: the players, the ITF/ATP/WTA, the media.

      The most depressing thing though is seeing everyone worshipping top players and believing everything being thrown at them. People are so deluded they will try to find any explanation, no matter how ridiculous it is, to excuse the most blatant, fishiest cases. They will keep believing in incredible stamina and miraculous recoveries but ignoring the big fat elephant in the room.

      I'd love to enjoy tennis again, but who's going to stop this farce? Probably not the ITF...

    3. I globally agree with arcus and morriganblane. Tough to watch matches nowadays, when it's just stamina, brutal force, sweat...

      arcus, "I do believe that those governing the sport want it to be clean" : I would say that they absolutely want it to *look* clean ; whether it is or not, not sure it's the real point.

    4. I agree with arcus.

      I feel I'm being laughed at by tennis and by Team Nadal in particular. 7 months out "injured" and he comes back almost unbeatable even on hardcourts which he is not supposed to be able to tolerate. When he loses we hear "oh it's the knees" - so basically we're told he's unbeatable when fit. BS is what I say. The French were surely having a wry joke when they got Bolt to give him the trophy at Roland Garros.

    5. Yes, I share that sentiment. It needs simply too much suspense of disbelief to tolerate what one is seeing out there these days. Frankly, my intelligence feels utterly violated from knowing how testing is being handled.

      I simply stick to watching the occasional oddballs, one-handers or the ones who have a certain personality (not showmanship) and intelligence. And Fed. Of course.

      I think players who try to get by with big-serves need to be punished for one-dimensionality. Watching them tie-breaking to success constitutes torture ;)

  13. Deos anyone know what's going on with Cilic ?

    I thought he had to be judged (by an 'ITF independant court') last week... no news ?

  14. I just found this article from a year ago and thought it was very interesting. I was aware of the controversy regarding the Athen Olympics, but I didn't know that the Williams sisters, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and Amelie Mauresmo bullied the WTA into abandoning their off-season drug testing program:

    However the biggest issue I have with the Williams sisters is not their arrogance when it comes to the WTA tours but the plague that is rife with in all sports. Drug accusations have hung over Venus and Serena’s careers for over a decade but the accusations aren’t entirely unfounded. There are tell tale signs for when someone is using steroids, one key sign is snap judgement and emotional reactions to minor incidents. This is due to raised testosterone levels in the body and difficult to control adrenaline surges, when such an event occurs it’s often labelled as “roid rage”. Such “rages” are usually very minor and don’t last particularly long which is was alerted me to Serana’s possible steroid use. Her consistent over reactions to minor line calls and decisions, often resulting in verbal attacks against officials and racket abuse were totally unnecessary. Moments later, after her “rage” has subsided, her behaviour became normal and she was seemingly unaware of her prior actions. The Williams sisters physical appearance is also something that should be a warning sign for the ignorant individuals at the WTA. Their body mass seems to go up and down in a matter of days, it looks very unnatural. At times their muscularity just looks unhealthy, both sisters claim that this is down to their diet but I find it extremely hard to believe that diet alone would have such drastic results.

    American journalists have hounded the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and almost any professional wrestler you can name over steroid allegations, you have to wonder why with such behaviour Serana and Venus has been allowed a free pass. In the early 2000′s the WTA started taking the threat of performance enhancing drugs more seriously and called for steroid testing of all players on the tour. Three players took exception to the WTA’s new stance on drugs, Jennifer Capriati and the Williams sisters, due to their public complaints and refusal to be tested the WTA let them play on without a completed drugs test. Those three players along with Lindsey Davenport and Amelie Mauresmo are the same players that bullied the WTA in abandoning their already established off-season drug testing program. The shocking thing was that the US press all but ignored this story as to not taint the image of their tennis heroes. Serena issued the following comment regarding steroids in spite of the controversy, she stated that “women don’t need to be tested because women don’t take steroids”. She seems to forget that women’s sport has a sordid past with performance enhancing drugs dating back to the 1970′s. Such comments made her a target before the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, the WTA told the Intentional Olympic Committee (IOC) that all entrants into tennis tournaments would need to be drug tested prior to the start of the games. All entrants agreed to such conditions apart from Serena, even going as far as to refuse IOC representatives entry to her home when they showed up to carry out the pre-arranged test. After continually refusing to take a test the WTA caved in and allowed her to enter the tournament anyway, she was the only tennis player to be allowed such privilege. However the IOC did not take the situation lightly and continued to push the situation despite the WTA’s change of heart, she subsequently withdrew from the games shortly after refusing another arranged drug test, she cited injury as the reason although the European press cast doubts over such claims. The US media would defended Serena and painted her as being unfairly targeted whilst her father Richard Williams played the race card, causing further controversy.

  15. Yeah, but how do they know those players bullied the WTA into abandoning their off-season drug testing program? Is not clear enough. I've never found a Davenport or Mauresmo quote against drug testing. I suspect those five players but nobody can accuse without proof.

    1. That's what I was wondering as well because I had never heard of it before. And just by doing a quick Google search, all I could find in terms of Lindsay Davenport and drugs were quotes calling for more drug testing all the way back to 2002. If there were some rumors going on behind the scenes at the time, I wouldn't know because I didn't follow the sport as closely back then and was kind of hoping that maybe somebody knows a bit more.

    2. Out of those players, they've all been quite suspect in terms of PED use, except Davenport. Were there many rumors regarding her being on PEDs? Maybe I missed it.

      I have never found/heard anything about her speaking against her in terms of doping testing, so this would really disappoint me. I don't know, maybe it's just because she is such a likable person that it's harder to believe about her...

  16. and today Nadal adds more hardware to his cabinet, winning Cincy, one of the fastest hard courts on the tour. A tournament he's never even made the final at before this week. Methinks there's something amiss. He's now won 9 tournaments this year and has a 53-3 record. Unbelievable. He really is the GOAT I guess. Or is this just the weakest era in history? Apparently he now has a winning H2H against every player in the top 30. He's having his best season ever despite taking off the latter part of last year with a career threatening injury. 0_0

    1. Cincinnati has slowed down considerably this year in terms of court speed, which again plays into Nadal's PED enforced strengths. The man is a machine! For some reason though, I can't see him winning the USO. Maybe it's hope rather than expectation, but I can see somebody taking him down in New York. He is practically a walking advertisement for PED's, but the mainstream media continually refuse to acknowledge that his "unbelievable" comeback is just that. It is truly unbelievable that any clean athlete could come back and do what he's done so far this year.

      I read earlier today that Nadal claimed to have an elbow injury after Wimbledon, which is hilarious considering how dominant he's been post-Wimbledon. Perhaps he's setting himself up with another excuse if he does lose at the USO or perhaps he wants another site for those trusty PRP injections?

    2. Knee "treatment" already done. Time to find another "injured" body part that needs "treatment".

    3. Nadal is the most blatantly doped up player in history. If you gave him racquets from even the 1990s and fast courts, I bet you'd find a lot of people who could beat him. Sadly, the homogenization of courts has led to him being in contention to usurp players like Sampras and Laver in terms of greatness - what a joke!

    4. rated_r90 : "The man is a machine!"

      Exactly what I was thinking yesterday during the match : this guy is an iron, indestructible man... a machine.

  17. Back to Cilic: The following is a possible explanation. The drugs is nikethamide and is combined with glucose and sold over-the-counter.


    Belgian article (in French) that I believe accuses the players taking unexplained absences/retirements of doping.

    1. Interesting article, but I think the author makes the mistake of assuming that just one indication of doping is sufficient to assume that the person is more likely doping than not.

      First, there is no such thing as 100% certainty. Even a positive test for a drug is not 100% certainty. Google "false positives." It may be a 1 in 100,000 or 1 in 1 trillion chance, but it is not 100%. Even if the player admits the doping, it is not 100%. The player could simply be agreeing in order to get leniency or because he/she thinks the public will be more understanding of a remorseful person and there is no way to prove a "false positive." Unlikely, yes, but not 100%.

      Given that, all doping accusations, including positive tests are simply based around some probability. The standard for conviction under the WADA code is "comfortable satisfaction." This amounts to more than 50/50 balancing test but less than "beyond a reasonable doubt."

      In the "court of public opinion," pretty much anything goes, but it is important to look at all the evidence. Yes, strange "injuries" and retirements are consistent with doping. However, by themselves, they are far from sufficient to even get to the 50/50 level.

      Sure, Bartoli's sudden retirement is consistent with some type of ITF doping scandal, but what other evidence is there about her? She is strong, but not overly muscular. She has a quirky style that makes it difficult to play against. And, I don't want to take anything away from her, but sometimes you just get lucky in your draw and with the other players being beaten or getting injured. It was not like she stepped into Wimbledon and blasted 125mph serves for 2 weeks. She was able to beat Lisicki, Flipkens, Stephens, Knapp, Giorgi, McHale and Svitolina -- not a single one in the top 10. So, the win at Wimbledon does not stick out as unusual in terms of performance -- just got a little bit of luck and played well against opponents that were all outside of the top 10. Her top serve speed in the final was 106 mph -- which also does not raise any red flags. That is a pretty typical "fast" serve for women.

      In terms of Clijsters, I find it difficult to believe that a pregnant woman would dope -- the risk to the child would be completely unknown and could be catastrophic. Maybe she was doping at other times, but I would need more evidence than simply erratic performances and odd retirements.

      It is good to see people looking at doping in tennis, but articles should be more thought out than the one above. I am not saying Bartoli was not doping, just that the only evidence I have seen is that (1) she had a very odd sudden retirement, and (2) has vastly overstated how much she is tested. (See where she says she is tested "35-40" times every year. The ITF shows 4-6 in competition and 1-3 OOC for Bartoli in 2012, but maybe her dad was testing her the other 30 times, I don't know. I list this as evidence of doping because she is lying about doping control. People who lie about doping control are more likely to lie about doping.)

      If anyone has additional information that she missed doping tests, had pulmonary embolisms, trains is remote locations, has mysterious foot injuries, has one arm that is twice the size of the other, or serves faster than most men, then I'll certainly consider that as well. As it is, the sudden retirement is not enough to move her to the doping column in my book.

    2. Actually, although my French is a bit rusty, I believe the author does not accuse the players himself.
      What I could make up, he actually (mildly) criticizes the people who accuse players without much proof. He points out some reasons why, if people accuse Bartoli based on just her sudden retirement, players like Henin, Clijsters, Flipkens, Williams, Nadal etc. should/could also be suspect.


    An old article from 2006 discussing that Nadal failed a test and the ATP being was pressured by Nike and other important bodies not to disclose the results.

    Couple of things that hit me:

    There was a line in there that said something along the lines of:
    "The truth must be pursued and eventually reached, beyond nationalist considerations and emotional responses that may arise in the mind of the fans."
    Considering that this article was written in 2006, it's sad that the truth has not being pursued

    The article mentioned that At the last Roland Garros, there were many rumors in the corridors of the ATP and European specialized sports media that a Rafael Nadal sample tested positive.

    Since 2006, other rumors of failed tests have followed Nadal for example 2009 and 2012. I read online comments from people have spoken to insiders who claimed they had knowledge that Nadal had indeed failed a test and had been suspended.

    So 2006, 2009 & 2012, whispers hear and there and rumours of multiple failed tests. If he did fail tests in these years, I am surprised that he has gotten away with doping for so long. But then again, so did Armstrong.

    1. If Spain has aided its athletes in systematic doping, I'm somewhat surprised Rafa has been caught so many times (well allegedly). Either his team is doing a bad job about it (doping) or he has the worst luck. But as Tyler Hamilton has said, you have to be pretty dumb to get caught.

      This brings another issue, the article mentions EPO as a preferred drug. What surprises me about it is these superstar athletes still use common, non-designer drugs. Especially when a lot of people claim designer drugs are somewhat rampant.

      The article mentions Nike as being involved in the coverup and possibly helping in doping themselves (we've seen this play out with Armstrong). No surprise there. What does surprise me however, is that one of their two premier tennis players would get caught that many times. Aren't sporting companies on top of the latest designer drugs? Don't they have the proper contacts? The money for the R&D?

      I think the answer is no. I think designer drugs are somewhat of a myth. They are too expensive, take years to develop, etc. Otherwise, people like A-Rod wouldn't need to go to Biogenisis and Armstrong wouldn't have to resort to common drugs.

      Or maybe they are truly reserved for people who if found guilty, would devastate the sport. Roger Federer, Serena, Leo Messi, Ronaldo, Lebron James, Floyd. Who knows.

      I think if a big player gets caught, it could be Nadal, not because others don't dope but because he has the "dopers body" It would be so obvious to everybody in hindsight (everybody being the media).

    2. Good point Carlos, the existence of designer drugs has been grossly exaggerated in my opinion. People who claim they are ubiquitous seem to underestimate how difficult it is to actually design drugs, create a reliable synthesis method and test them for efficacy/safety.

      Considering the discovery of a new drug is estimated to cost appr. 1 billion dollars (including all failed compounds, preclinical, animal and human testing), there is no reason to think the costs would be much less for a designer doping compound, unless you really think they would just take anything even if not proven safe and/or efficacious.
      It's much more likely that research is being done on
      a) known substances to figure out better regimes of usage to remain undetected, or maybe to try to attach a chemical moiety to a known substance to make it undetectable, but even that is quite difficult and time/money-consuming.
      b) closely following results of clinical drugs currently in trials and published work on (side-)effects that could be beneficial to athletes' performances. Whenever one might be interesting, then they would spend some extra time investigating whether it might work. Which is what I think happened to AICAR and GW501516 for example.

    3. Nadal and many elite Spanish athletes get excellent advice from a specialist (Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro). I believe that the said Doctor gets all of the updated information on what is being testing for, and how to beat the tests. There are Spaniards in WADA, and it is likely that they pass on their knowledge of changes to the drug testing regime to doping doctors.

      I am sure that Nadal "adjusts" his doping regime based on what the good doctor recommends. The doctors specialty is "licensed physician for completion of doping control", as the below link suggests. This really means "Doctor responsible for keeping Spanish athletes from testing positive".

      This would explain some of the absences from competition. When the testing regime changes, Nadal and his experts need to adjust his doping regime. This takes time to do it right.

      Remember, the IOC publicized that they had a better test for HGH, IGF1, and IGF2 last summer. Then Nadal goes absent for many months. I believe that this is the more likely reason for at least some of his absences. It is unlikely that Nadal has tested positive many times, with this level of expertise working on his behalf.

    4. Regarding NIKE and doping, I just read this interesting article on Thyroxin doping/Oregon Project run by Salazar.

      Since we have been trying to stay on top with current doping practices, I thought we should educate ourselves further on the usage of Thyroxin/ thyroid hormon doping as propagted by Salazar's team doctor Brown.

      The article by Michael Reinsch/FAZ discusses Jeffrey Brown's recent disclosure on having treated athletes with Thyroxin. He works closely with Salazar at the Oregon Project. Most prominently Mo Farah (who just happens to have won two golds at the World Championships in Moscow) has risen to fame thanks to their concerted effort at their high-end sports science lab.

      Salazar is the head of the Oregon Porject, which is fully sponsored by NIKE.

      Brown, a sport-endocrinologist, is rather keen on diagnosing hypothreosis in athletes, which is basically a hypofunction of the thyroid resulting in considerable drops of performance.

      That diagnosis is (too) easily achieved, says Perikles Simon, a well-recognized sports scientist and doping fighter, and it comes in all-too handy when athletes are in need of a boost.

      Brown claims to have treated 15 Olympic medalists, Carl Lewis and Mo Farah being among them. So by giving them hormones (Thyroxin), he is able to "cure" natural fatigue which naturally befalls athletes after strenuous trainings or in competitions. Being treated with Thyroxin is also nothing new under the sun, even Muhammad Ali claimed he took them in the Eighties, with mixed results, he lost.

      One of the many benefits of Thyroxin: weight loss! Due to Thyroxins many-fold effects, it has so far not been considered doping. There is currently no test to detect it. So far, an increase of efficiency/performance has not fully been proven therefore Thyroxin is currently not on WADA's list.

      However, Prof. Frank (a very trustworthy, devoted German anti-doping specialist/doctor/crusader) politely disagrees: Thyroxin does in fact increase ones overall performance, both physically and psychologically. The athlete shows higher resillience particularly helpful during training. Franke can simply not understand why it is not recognized as doping by WADA.

      During the London Olympics, a very prominent t&f manager, Jos Hermens, openly complained about Thyroxin abuse in runners.

      Again, that very thin line between legitimate therapeutic usage and doping is stretched to give athletes a pass.

      Already Conte described in great detail how he manipulated the aerobic metabolism with the help of Thyroxin, but still, to this day, WADA has not even added Thyroxin to its monitoring list.

      Excellent German source:

    5. The article says at the last French Open (2006) rumours said Nadal tested positive and a 16-years old russian girl was suspended instead of him. I think they talk about Sesil Karatantcheva from Bulgaria, she tested positive at the French Open in 2005. Another article (from 2008) says after 2005 French Open Nadal tested positive and he payed Mariano Puerta 1 million dollars for "exchanging urine tests" (not "urine samples"). So, Both tested positive instead of Nadal, Puerta for a ton of money and Karatantcheva for free. And later says “we still must check another story about a Nadal positive test wrongly attributed to a junior female player”. It's not clear to me if they are talking about Karatantcheva agin or another girl. This is the least professional "journal" I've ever seen.

    6. GoldenAgeOfDrugs: Your explanation is the most logical to me. I don't believe in silent bans. By the way, Nalbandian also works with Doctor Cotorro.

  20. Anyone who understands Spanish can comment on the article? I don't trust google translate that much :)

    It's indeed sad that by the looks of it no truth has been pursued since 2006, at least not by the ITF.
    If these rumors about 2009 and 2012 have any truth behind them, that would be horrendous, but it would fit nicely with the ITF punishing Nadal more with each subsequent failed test, since the injury layoffs seem to be getting longer.

    1. Is not a newspaper presenting any kind of research. Is an argentine online journal, I'm from Argentina but they sound like bitter fans. They got several articles about tennis and doping, an article contradicts the next one. Once they accused chilean Fernando Gonzalez of doping because he defeated Guillermo Coria: "several coaches (no names, of course) told us they suspect Gonzalez because he is faster than ever"; "Chilean tennis is second class compared to ours, no doubt Gonzalez is on drugs" said another "expert".

  21. In Troicki news:

    He is appealing his 18months ban. As to be expected.

    "The CAS procedure is in progress and a decision will be issued in around four months."

  22. Why do you think Cilic wasn't allowed to play at the US Open? Bad publicity for tennis perhaps. Also, notice how no one in the Media is talking about Cilic's absence. This is a guy who is almost a top 10 player. It would seem to be huge news.

    1. He says, officially, he has a knee injury! I think it can be taken as read now that there is actually a doping investigation going on although the ITF, as usual, has not confirmed this.

      Cilic is probably sitting out a provisional suspension while due process take place into his presumed doping violation. It is likely that he knows that some length of ban will be imposed. We've seen rumours already of a one year ban creep out into the Croatian press. By agreeing to a provisional suspension now, the time he serves off tour, including missing the U.S. Open, will be detracted from the length of ban imposed when his hearing takes place.