Saturday, August 24, 2013

Latest Statistics from USADA

The USADA has released their testing statistics as of the end 2nd quarter of 2013 (as of June 30). They conducted 7 out-of-competition tests on tennis players during Q2, compared to 19 in Q1. Still, in total, they have conducted 26 out-of-competition tests on tennis players so far in 2013, compared to 29 for all of 2012. Here's who was tested during Q2:

5 Athletes Selected
7 Total Tests

Athlete Name
Test Count

Mardy S Fish
1

John Isner
1

Wayne Odesnik
2

Sam Querrey
1

Venus E Williams
2

And here are the running totals for 2013:

9 Athletes Selected
26 Total Tests

Athlete Name
Test Count

Michael C Bryan
3

Robert C Bryan
3

Mardy S Fish
2

Liezel Huber
1

John Isner
4

Wayne Odesnik
6

Sam Querrey
1

Serena J Williams
2

Venus E Williams
4

68 comments:

  1. WOW! Serena's won 8 titles this year including a major and she's been tested twice. Well done USADA. Not that it would make a difference with their lame-a** testing. Meanwhile sister Venus has won zero titles and has been tested 6 times. Odd.

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    1. It would make sense that the more time you spend "in competition" would mean that there would be less out of competition testing -- because you are spending less time out of competition. In addition, presumably Serena was tested in competition by the ITF.

      In any case, the USADA does not conduct in competition testing of foreign tournaments. The fact that Serena was playing so much would explain why the USADA tested her less. What remains to be seen is whether the ITF did its job and properly tested her in competition. Also, the ITF may have tested her OOC. Sure it is a stretch, but the ITF has stepped up testing, so we will have to wait until next year to get all the statistics.

      Ultimately, it appears that the USADA has basically doubled the amount of OOC testing, which is good news. They also seem to be targeting the proper people. True, Serena could have been tested more, but as I noted above, there are probably valid reasons for this.

      The other statistic we would need is the number of attempted samples of Serena. They may have attempted to collect a sample but Serena didn't answer the door or hid in her panic room. She gets 3 of these every 18 months, so maybe she got a strike or two this quarter.

      Delete
    2. Lisa Raymond is a top doubles player at 40 (FORTY!) and she was tested... zero. That's terrible.

      Delete
    3. The registered testing pool (whereabouts) is limited to the top 50 ATP and WTA singles players and top 10 doubles players. Currently, Raymond is not ranked in the top 10 doubles. (http://www.wtatennis.com/doubles-rankings) but is rather ranked 24. She is also not in the top 50 for singles. As such, she is currently not subject to the registered testing pool requirements and would not normally be tested by the USADA out of competition.

      Her sometime partner Liezel Huber was tested once earlier because she was in the top 10 in the first quarter (as was Raymond). As of April 1, 2013, they were both out of the top 10, so it would make sense that neither were tested in Q2 of 2013.

      Lisa Raymod was tested by USADA one time in 2012 out-of-competition. She was also tested "4-6" times in competition by the ITF.

      I don't follow women's doubles, but it appears that her ranking is the result of simply playing in a lot of tournaments rather than really being the best on the tour.

      Are there any signs of her doping? I don't really follow her. In any case, I am fine with USADA focusing on the top ranked singles players. A 40 year old that comes and goes out of the top 10 and has not won a title all year is not a real concern. The WTA lists her 2013 stats as 15-16 to date. (http://www.wtatennis.com/players/player/6840/title/lisa-raymond), so that is not jumping out at me as a huge doping concern given that she looses more than she wins.

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    4. MTracy, USADA can test any player, I know the ITF rules but is not forbidden to test other players! As you can see, they tested Odesnik 6 times.

      Last year Raymond was #1, won an olympic medal (for USA, of course!) and a Grand Slam tournament at 39! She always had great results on grass but this is a joke. I've seen her winning Women's doubles titles partnering Samuel Stosur for years so I tend to think that MAYBE she is not innocent.

      Delete
    5. Yes, in theory, both the USADA and ITF can test any player at any time. However, without adding them to the RTP (whereabouts), how would they go about doing this?

      Ok, you want to test Raymond today. Where is she? At home? The gym? Out of town? How long to you wait for her. There is no violation for not coming to the door for periods of time outside the one hour designated in the whereabouts, and she is not even part of that. So, you go to her house and no one answers. Or her husband answers and says she is not there. Not much you can do but come back later -- at which point she will also not be there. The RTP attempts to solve this by requiring the player to be there for 1 hour a day -- no excuses (unless your name is Serena). There are numerous problems with the whereabouts (primarily they they don't test enough to make a 'strike' mean anything), but without someone being on the whereabouts, testing would be extremely difficult.

      I suspect that Odesnik was added to the RTP or agreed to be part of it as part of his deal. (Anti-Doping agencies can add people to the RTP for various reasons such as returning from retirement or injury, being caught is drugs, etc).

      If you are saying Raymond should be added to the RTP, then that is fine. I would think there should be some suspicion of doping beyond simply playing well. Odesnik doped and he sucked. He is on the RTP because he is suspected of doping because is has caught transporting HGH.

      She is 40, and sometimes plays well. Erratic performance or sudden improvements are indicative of doping. However, Raymond won grand slams starting in 2000 and made the finals starting in 1994. She has been in the finals of a grand slam pretty much every year since 2000 (including womens and mixed). True she won Wimbledon at 39 -- but she was partnered with Mike Bryan, so maybe that helped. Also, winning a Bronze with Mike Bryan does not come as completely shocking.

      In pictures, she does not look overly muscular. In addition, I suspect that most drugs that would help doubles players would be ADD types of drugs to increase focus and decrease reaction time. These would be taken in-competition. Obviously, she would benefit from various steroids to increase strength and improve recovery. But, she does not have a consistent set of "team" members or partners to make it easy to dope. (She did play with Stosur for a little while, so maybe some of that testosterone cream rubbed off onto Raymond.) She seems to train in the USA, which is easy enough to dope in, but hardly a Kenya. The Tennis Channel has her listed as 5'5", 121lbs (55kg). This gives her a BMI of 20.1 -- which is "normal" and does not scream "steroids." I have never seen her in person, so I am assuming that the 121 is accurate, but someone can correct me if I am wrong.

      All in all, I don't think there is a reason to single her out to be added to the RTP. When she was in the top 10, she was part of the RTP and was tested by USADA. She is not in the top 10 any more and is no longer tested. I don't see a reason to subject her to additional scrutiny. Simply winning, by itself is never sufficient to show that someone is doping.

      Of course, I didn't watch those matches. If she was serving 120 mph and able to jump 3 feet in the air to make a smash, then sure, time to get the doping kit out. This would not simply be "winning," but would be "not normal" performance.

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    6. Serena shouldn't even be playing at the Open this year as we're still within 2 years of her "panic room" incident!

      Case closed!

      Delete
  2. Li Na, China’s Tennis Rebel REFUSED

    DRUGS AND STEROIDS!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/25/magazine/li-na-chinas-tennis-rebel.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&hp&

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    1. It is a long article. Where does it say she refused? What I saw was:

      "The note didn’t elaborate on her reasons: the burnout from excessive training, the outrage at her coaches’ attempts to squelch her romance with a male teammate named Jiang Shan, the debilitating period that the head coach insisted she play through, overruling a doctor’s recommendations, by taking steroid pills, to which she was allergic."

      It is not clear whether the doctor recommended that she take the pills or not. However, how would she know she was allergic to them if she never took them? The article was just very vague about the whole issue.

      Delete
    2. Once she liberated herself from the controlling Chinese sports system, she also gained new financial freedoms. Now, with only paying 8 - 12% of her earnings back to them, previously they kept up to 65 %, she had quite an incentive to perform well.

      Interestingly enough, her FO win and breakthrough into the top 10 went along with the following, lucrative changes in her life:

      "Stunned by the size of the Chinese audience, the W.T.A. ramped up its plans for expanding its presence in Asia while top brands rushed to sign endorsement deals with Li. With Rolex and Nike already signed up, her agent, IMG’s Max Eisenbud (who also represents Sharapova), struck multiyear deals with Mercedes-Benz, Samsung and Häagen-Dazs, among others, pushing Li’s total annual earnings to more than $18 million. "

      Hmmm.

      Call me a cyninc, but I am sure all that money helps treating her self-confessed "allergic" reaction to steroids much.
      It nicely outlines how both the WTA as well as IMG have a strong financial interest in a succesful Li. Rather than a clean Li.

      It's sickening how greedy they are. It becomes clear that she is good for branding & exploring new markets in order to fill their pockets. With that incentive, doping issues are just a hinderance that needs to be covered up (to ensure spectacular wins=marketability) rather than prosecuted.

      Seriously, no sane person would argue that this is not part of the doping problem in tennis and why we will likely not see a positive sample of Li disclosed to the public in the near future. Who would ruin the prospect of such a wonderful new emerging market, with Li being the ambassador, or rather self-empowered, liberated female rebel?


      Rebelling against an oppressive communistic system, that drilled her 24/7, dictating her life which left her with little personal freedom, only to, well, enslave herself to the worship of another mighty god: money in the form of endorsement deals and checks...

      Call me old-fashioned, but my understanding of a true rebel, if it ever exists, is something altogether different, someone like Snowden might qualify here. But that's another can of worms I'd rather not open here.

      Delete
  3. http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/physiological-cost-is-part-of-tenniss-evolution-reyes-says/?_r=0#more-33788

    Reyes beating about the bush:

    "The graphite strings and rackets give you more control and the ability to put more topspin on the ball, and so everybody started hitting the ball bigger. But that’s left every player with a dilemma.”

    "The problem Reyes is talking about is the physiological cost of power: the increased strain on the muscle and skeletal systems, which is the direct result of a sport that has become exponentially faster."

    “The harder you hit the ball, the less time you give yourself to get back into position, and you don’t see any guys giving up the power because they feel that automatically becomes a disadvantage,” he said. “But at the same time they realize that the harder I hit this ball, the more force and torque and wear and tear I have to put on my hips and my knees and my back to constantly slam on the brakes to get back into position.”

    “There’s a tape which physios use called kinesio tape; look at how much of that you see on players’ bodies,” Reyes said. “And that’s understandable. It’s almost like a given because right now, we’re about a half a generation away from their bodies catching up to the size and the speed of the game. These days you’re not chasing the loopers or the moonballs for the most part. You’re chasing line drives, and this last generation we’ve seen so many great movers and great athletes with knee, hip and lower back problems in particular.”


    "He said he believed that as training programs continue to incorporate sports medicine and understanding of the skeletal wear and tear on the joints, then injuries would be prevented."


    -----> Money Quote:
    “If you look at basketball, it wasn’t that long ago that it was all long and lanky and lean, but now you look at LeBron James and he is huge,” Reyes said. “He’s the greatest basketball player in the world and it shows you that getting bigger and stronger is important. It’s the case in baseball too. Players are being caught taking steroids, and of course there’s no place for that in the game, but if strength wasn’t important, they wouldn’t be doing that.”

    -----> So he really thinks there is no part for doping in the game? We know that Agassi got caught doping...he must be in denial.

    I really like how certain quotes give away the obvious...even if he did not intend it that way:

    “Just look at Andy Murray when he won Wimbledon this year,” he said. “This past year, he’s really been looking kind of strong compared to years prior. He hasn’t necessarily become bigger and bulkier, but he’s just really lean and muscular and a powerful athlete. Djokovic, Murray and Nadal are very muscular men, and if you don’t think so I encourage you to watch the 2012 Australian Open final.”

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    1. I think those three players are all strong even if some of them are lean. Djokovic for example is the very defintion of lean muscle these days. Murray isn't necessarily huge but he is also very strong. And Nadal is plain strong as we all know.

      Djokovic has always looked lean but ever since 2011 beginning with the AO he has had a lean-muscle look. And of course the AO 2012 incredible-hulk shirt ripping antics (revived at the 2013 AO when he beat Wawrinka in 5 sets) show this off too. (It must be something about the Melbourne summer air that encourages him to always do this there.)

      He is "looking strong", as THASP used to say here, ever since January 2011...

      Delete
    2. That article leaves me asking, "What is the point?" The author seems to do little more than piece together some anecdotes and random quotes to try to prove something -- what it is he is trying to prove still has me guessing, but I think it has something to do with the "physicality" of tennis.

      In any case, I have never heard of "graphite strings." I suppose some manufacture might put a little graphite in them as a marketing ploy, but graphite does not stretch well which is why it is used in racquets, not strings. Maybe he meant polyester or perhaps nylon strings. Even if he did, how did these strings "revolutionize the sport beyond all recognition?"

      Has there ever been a scientific study that shows that certain strings impart more power, speed, spin, or anything at all to a tennis ball? Sure, manufactures spout various marketing phrases, but where is a scientific study? There is none. Such a study would be simple. Just have a racket with the old gut strings and shoot a tennis ball at it. Record with a high speed camera the rebound. Then do the same thing with these new fangled strings that give the ball so much power, speed, spin, whatever.

      Believe it or not, the ITF has such a device. http://www.itftennis.com/technical/rackets-and-strings/research.aspx . The ITF states that "The aim of this project is to benchmark the amount of spin produced by all the strings that are currently on the market. This will enable us to identify the effect of string tension, gauge and type on ball spin generation. In addition to this, we will also look at other factors which may effect spin generation, such as head size and string pattern."

      Ok, so why hasn't this ground breaking research been published so that we can all clearly see that the new strings have "revolutionized" tennis? Simple -- because the new strings do nothing in terms of performance.

      In the book, "The Physics and Technology of Tennis," the authors conduct a detailed analysis of strings and conclude that "there is not much one can do to increase the bounce speed off the strings, just by decreasing the string tension or using a different type of string." They go on to note, "the difference in power between any two strings is almost undetectable." (Note, the reason the ITF has never published the results from its advanced string testing machine is likely that the tennis industry would not appreciate it. All the new strings that come out are based on nothing more than marketing hype, and club level players parrot like robots how much more "spin" they are getting from their new strings. Don't let actual science interfere with solid marketing plans. In terms of "spin," see Chapter 41 nothing "The faster you hit the ball the faster it will spin." "strings don't make much difference.")

      The authors also cover the "revolutionary" racquets noting that "most of the power comes from the players arm." Some rudimentary test show that "players can serve a ball almost as fast with an old wooden racquet as with a modern graphite racquet." (They cite an article in Tennis Magazine in August 1997 as the source of one such similar study, but claim to have also conducted their own research. These quotes are from Chapters 13 and 14 in the book).

      So, when you actually scientifically look at the game of tennis, racquets and strings mean very little in terms of power. It turns out that the "players arm" is the biggest factor in power. Once you understand that, the rest just all seems to fall into place. All this talk of racquets and strings is just code for "we know its steroids, but let's talk about something else."

      Delete
    3. Great post regarding new racquets that many think changed the game of tennis. One of the reasons the game is changed is maybe slowing of the playing surfaces which brought power play and that led to, I believe, wide spread use of pharmaceutical help to build and maintain that power.

      There are two articles worth reading:
      Bleacher Report - Jeremy Eckstein, "Parity Defines Current Era of US Open Men's Tennis"
      ESPN - Garber, How bad knees made Rafa unbeatable

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    4. Racquets and strings do make a difference, but not as much as some people think. Graphite racquets undoubtedly gave a player more power than wood racquets. I recall Tennis Magazine doing a test in about 1990, where wood and graphite racquets were compared on the speed gun. The wood racquet produced first and second serves of 90mph and 75 mph respectively, whereas the graphite racquet (served by the same player) gave 105mph and 90mph for first and second serves. There has to be a big difference in power: the wood racquet was only 75sq inches whereas the graphite racquet was 95sq inches, with a thick beam. The graphite racquet would also have been using synthetic strings, not natural gut. (John McEnroe has said he doubted a 17 year-old Boris Becker would have blasted his way to his first Wimbledon victory in 1985 if he had been using a traditional wood racquet instead of his new Estusa graphite model. I also recall that the great Pancho Gonzalez, who had the biggest serve of his generation, was only able to hit a serve of 112mph with a wood racquet, as measured in a wind tunnel. In those days of course the server also had to keep one foot on the ground, and couldn't jump into the serve.)


      However, it is doubtful that racquet technology has added a similar exponential jump since the 80's and the advent of graphite. Racquets today remain much the same size as they were twenty years ago. Much of the improvement has been in shock absorption and feel rather than pure power. Indeed, it's interesting that the pro's don't tend to use oversize racquets with the thicker beam, which are much favoured by the average club player. The pro's tend to go for a heavier mid-size frame, with a thin beam. Why? Because they don't need a lot of extra power. They can generate that through their strokes. They prefer the control of the mid-size racquet head (like Federer's preferred Wilson model.)

      Do strings make a big difference? Agassi and Sampras have indicated that the type of strings they used in the 90's meant you just couldn't 'tee off' and expect the ball to land in - you were more likely to hit the back fence. Control was a necessity. With the advent of polyester strings we saw players taking a huge cut on the ball and the resultant spin pulling the shot into court. Ironically, it isn't the strings that are giving players this boost in power and spin. Luxilon polyester strings are very stiff and resistant (unlike gut or synthetic gut), with little feel, but this deadening effect (together with a stiff racquet frame) allows players to hit out without trampolining the shot.

      So the facts appear to be that the racquet 'revolution' occurred thirty years ago, with the advent of graphite racquets, and improvements in technology since then have been incremental rather than dramatic. Modern strings aren't more powerful but are stiffer, allowing for a predictable response when a player takes a full drive with a lot of racquet-head speed to generate spin. So it isn't really technology that is generating all this extra power we see today: it's something else, that allows for much greater arm speed. Yeah, it has to be nutrition...

      Delete
    5. @ MTracy

      Yes, the writer of this fabulous piece of tennis reporting is lost in his own terminology. As is reyes when it comes to talk about strength and muscular/lean types while at the same time avoiding the forbidden word doping.

      It is yet another bloody helpless, gutless attempt at talking about physicality in tennis, where someone, Reyes, who surely knows better talks to someone, who knows very little, especially in the recent development of strings/racquets and subsequently gets it all confused and muddled to avoid the obvious question: where does all that power, arm speed and stamina come from, that athletes need these days?

      As we all know, the general trend goes towards lean/muscular types with rubber-like ligaments and seemingly unending breath on the male side. And more bulky/roidy physiques on the female side courtesy of testosterone.

      Delete
    6. What is funny is that Reyes is a physical trainer. His whole career is based around the premise that tennis players will play better if they are more physically fit. Yet, he fails to address the simple question you mention, "Where does all this power come from?" Shoot, at least he could have made a plug for his "Bilt" gym equipment. Something like, "Of course players are so much stronger. They train using Bilt by Agassi-Reyes." (http://www.biltbyagassiandreyes.com/) -- also thanks to Pfizer, Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and designer drug manufactures everywhere.

      Delete
    7. Richard, Richard, Richard.... you will always amaze me with your assumptions... Today's rackets do not generate more power??? So do you think, players started doping these last few years???

      Delete
    8. You address none of the points I made, or those of the previous post that I was responding to. They were more than assumptions but I guess that escaped you, as usual.

      Delete
  4. According to this article anoymous Croatian player told that Cilic told him that he is suspended for 1 year starting from Hamburg http://www.index.hr/sport/clanak/anonimni-hrvatski-tenisac-izdao-cilica-dobio-je-godinu-dana-suspenzije/696884.aspx

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  5. Replies
    1. Excellent counterarguments. Kudos.

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  6. In the past few months, my interest in tennis has dwindled considerably. Too much behind the scenes shenanigans, slaps on the wrist, half truths and all that shit, not to mention suspicious superhuman performances/recoveries that basically go unquestioned all the time. It's just too much for me to care for at this point. Something smells at the WTF and ATP and I'm tired to hold my nose. I have no interest whatsoever in this US Open and won't as long as the Nadal freakshow continues.

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    1. Speaking of strange, superfast recoveries, Monfils won 6:1/6:2/6:0 ag.Ungur today.


      Well, that was quick! He did not look visibly bothered when playing.



      Delete
    2. Yeah, although I'm suspicious about what happened with him lately, I think he does have a real injury there. He couldn't serve for crap and was wincing a lot of the time - the scoreline looks silly simply because Ungur is a joke, couldn't hit two shots in a row without making an error.

      Delete
  7. More corruption in tennis:

    http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/billie-jean-kings-battle-sexes-win-reportedly-rigged-112918580.html

    It would be interesting to see which males Serena could beat today. Maybe she could do some exhibition matches with Cilic, Troicki, and all the other banned male players. Not like they are busy with anything else. Plus, no drug testing at exhibition matches -- sort of a win-win.

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  8. Federer can haz a bit of everthing ;)

    "Q. Some players are interested in the gluten free diet. What do you think about that?

    ROGER FEDERER: Oh, no, I have extra gluten (laughter). No, I mean, I don't. I've always paid attention to what I eat. I've always been a healthy eater. Clearly you can take it to the next step, you know, when to eat, exactly what, before the match, during the match, after the match, what to eat exactly if you're not sure. I grew up sort of as a vegetarian when I was younger.

    I'm happy I can eat a bit of everything today, which makes it easier overall. I've seen some nutritionists from time to time, but nothing crazy or major really."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You'd think with the amazing transformation in Djokovic's game in 2011 due to such a diet that Fed would at least be somewhat interested in the idea. That is, if it wasn't quite clearly a crock of shit.

      Oh wait.

      Delete
    2. I thought I saw Federer reading "Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence", Djokovic's new book on how his "diet" helped him. That and I think he was reading, "It's Not About The Bike," another great work of fiction.

      Geez, you only need 14 days on this gluten free diet. Is it too late for me to enter the US Open?

      Delete
    3. Has anyone read the book? Has it said anything about his serve/forehand etc? They were notable improvements in 2011; coupled with the never ending fitness which he has explained away with the diet.

      Note: Gluten-Free or not, cutting out wheat from your diet actually helps you feel fresher overall but that would mean you'd have to eat a lot if you're getting your energy from alternate sources. That's the only reason I can't buy the Gluten free story. I've never so much as seen Djokovic eat a banana on court, so where did he get his extra reserves from?

      Although I think his "amazing" transformation was in part due to him being a mental flake faking fatigue, staying toe to toe with Nadal in gruelling encounters (something no one else has done - even Murray has beaten Nadal by outhitting him) is what tells me something is not right.

      What is interesting though is how Djokovic has relatively underperformed since 2011. He just doesn't seem to be able to keep it up like Nadal does even with a more economical game relatively speaking.

      Delete
    4. @MTracy

      Man, I'd love to see you play a five setter on the grandstand purely based on your new gluten-free diet. I know you'd kick ass!

      You'd be sponsored by THASP (OF COURSE!) and whenever your opponent outruns you or paints the lines, which will hardly ever happen thanks to your diet, you'd be throwing fists and do some serious verbal abuse, also never forget to accuse your nemesis of doping and the obvious gluten abuse.

      You'll be living with a white poodle which will also follow your diet. You may call it Pierre.

      During breaks, we all watch you munch on some leeks and the occasional rice cracker. Sometimes you'll just take a bite from a huge cold steak. Followed by a sip of homemade carrot juice for a change.

      You'd be painstakingly arranging all your bottles and vegetables in front of your right foot in a straight line. Actually, you'd be bringing your own little vegetable garden along.

      You clothes would be some tie-dye shit THASP provides you with. You'd be high on greens and meat: totally awesome. Your racquet is self-made, hand-carved and made of precious woods. You got the design from Björn Borg, whose underwear line you'd alswo be sporting.

      Fed and Stan, whom you have converted to your esoteric brand of dieting, would be your hitting partners (both as a kid went to some kind of Waldorf School, if I remember correctly) and they will do some amazeballs steam yoga with you. Stan finally would have dropped the chunk and be quick and Fed would regain his old self back and be a stellar #1. Needless to say, you'd be starting a new school of tennis.

      Reyes will marvel at your lean green physique.

      You'd refuse to play on those super-slow plasticky hard courts, claiming they contain gluten, which you can't stand.

      Your new book is called: "Winning Beautifully".

      Delete
  9. 17 year old Victoria Duval defeat Sam stosur in first round at the Us Open.

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  10. And the beat goes on... Then NBA is as clean as a whistle. Ergo, so are all sports...

    http://www.tmz.com/2013/08/29/david-lee-nba-drug-use-very-thorough/

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  11. Li Na article insinuations refuted.....

    http://english.sina.com/sports/2013/0828/623297.html

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    Replies
    1. Well, as long as her coach says she didn't take steroids.... Why do we waste all this time and money on testing?

      In any case, it is still not clear whether she took a banned substance. She apparently took some type of birth control/menstrual cycle regulator back in 2002. Prior to 2005, the most common such pill was banned. (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/World+Anti-Doping+Agency+Rules+Yasmin+Is+Acceptable+For+Use+By+Female...-a0130334304) Apparently, it contained some type of diuretic.

      Birth control pills have also been known to cause false positives. (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2011-06-23-1344564548_x.htm) Maybe she failed some type of "home" test administered by the coach which lead to confusion about whether she was or was not taking some steroids.

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  12. Tsonga just dumped Rasheed *cough*

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    1. Tsonga claims language barrier for the split. Does that sound plausible?

      Dunno, he was able to work with Monfils who is, as we all know, a french speaker - that worked well for a couple years, no?

      Delete
    2. No point paying for coaching if you're no longer playing tennis, eh? Watch out for mononucleosis!

      Delete
  13. Listen to tennis fans explain away the unexplainable.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?s=dc278b84fc4e5b302ff6158f313809c0&t=475287

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    Replies
    1. Delusional fans. Very reminiscent of Armstrong's doping apologists/fans.

      Delete
    2. Thread is gone. No surprise there.

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    3. Interestingly there is a thread on TW that links Stosur & PEDs and that thread is still up. Yet when there are threads either hint at top players doping, questions their fake injuries or miraculous exploits on a tennis court, those threads are quickly deleted. OMERTA is strong on Tennis boards as well.

      Delete
    4. Google cache is very handy!
      ------------------------------------------------------------------
      Post1:

      Nadal's knee issues have been well documented over the years. Despite his seven month departure from the tour apparently for the purpose of getting the knee strengthened and rehabbed, and then his return with his left knee still taped, as recently as Wimbledon, it can't help but make a person wonder, what has happened. Most tennis fans speculated that he would experience regression and be forced to miss portions of the tour and that the knee eventually would wear down even within the course of his first season back. Now that is still possible, (he did take a break after IW) but strangely, the knee seems to have gotten stronger and has withstood the pounding of the hard court events he has taken played in.

      Watching him at Montreal and Cincinnati and now at the US Open, he seems to be in top physical form and we are being told (by JMac) that he is not even icing his knee after his practice sessions or his matches. In no way am I looking for a sinister explanation but what surprises me is that so little seems to be made of an elite athlete who has a chronic injury but whose injury seems to have improved during the course of competition. I know there was a bit of a layoff after his early exit from Wimbledon but his dramatic physical improvement is quite remarkable and little seems to be said about it.

      For the sake of all of us who like to see great tennis players compete at their highest level, I hope that his knee issues can be managed properly. I would like to know if someone has heard something or read something about what the turning point was for Nadal in his attempts to get proper treatment for his chronic knee problems.
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      Post 2

      Malevolent speculation. Give the guy a break. He is sacrificing his health for the sport he loves and lives!
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      Post 3

      10pedscandowonders
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      Post 4

      Unless your a doctor and have looked at his charts I think it will be hard to tell or speculate. He did have torn ligaments and there are professional athletes who have played with torn ligaments even ACLs and still competed at a very high level without any surgery and just insane hours of therapy daily. Think just enjoy it while it lasts. He is finally playing aggressive tennis the way everyone wants him to play.
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      Post 5

      What healing? Nadal wasn't injured in the first place, it was a good piece of PR from his team so that he could skip the entire hard court season.
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      Post 6

      Rafa/Wafa's new massage guru is...Jesus of Nazareth.

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      Post 7 - this one is a gem!

      Nadal has tendinitis in his knees. One doesn't have to be a medical expert to know that the pain from tendinitis can sometimes ease off, or go away completely.

      Delete
    5. I saved the page at one point. Here are some few gems:

      1.

      Nadal has tendinitis in his knees. One doesn't have to be a medical expert to know that the pain from tendinitis can sometimes ease off, or go away completely.

      ---------------------------
      2.

      The trolling on TT is insane with Nadal

      ---------------------------

      3.

      If this is the case, why did Nadal not take a 6 month break in 2008. Or 2010 for that matter. His most successful seasons. Has he just been 'guessing' when these tests will be administered and hoping to not get caught. In all of Nadal's recent wins, is it really endurance that won him his matches (assuming you have been watching his matches and not just following the results). Your theory does not hold water either.

      ---------------------------
      4.

      Absolutely correct. The hate for Nadal in some quarters is insane.

      ---------------------------
      5.

      You don't like Rafa, you can keep crying or appreciate what he has accomplished.

      ---------------------------
      6.

      Nothing new here, just haters being haters, and completely dumb as always. They're just bitter Nadal's knee isn't hampering his game like they wish it would. They're just pathetic like that.

      ---------------------------
      7.

      Uhm, no, it isn't. And yes, it does show up, you haters just like to deny it and claim there was nothing wrong with him in the Rosol match for example.

      ---------------------------
      8.

      If Nadal wasn't injured in the Soderling match, how do you explain Nadal's 2010 FO win when he beat Soderling in the final who was playing better than he did in 2009? And bear in mind that that has been his ONLY loss at Roland Garros. Surely, an injury is the only explanation? Against Darcis, he could barely hit an effective backhand and he was limping. As for Rosol's match, maybe he was in discomfort and didn't show it? why else would he take 7 months off if he was not injured? He played lights out tennis, sure, but Nadal wasn't his usual self.
      ---------------------------
      (It seems this poster is not aware of the AFLD's interference at Roland Garros in 2009)
      ---------------------------

      Conclusion: In the minds of Nadal's fans, only "haters" and "trolls" would accuse Nadal of doping.

      Delete
  14. First two rounds complete. Sabine Lisicki's fastest serve: 124mph. Rafael Nadal's fastest serve: 123mph.

    I guess German engineering really is better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most certainly!

      In all respects ;)



      As for Lisicki, her serve did not make the difference in the end. If anything, she needs mental doping.

      Delete
  15. Interesting watching the Murray / Mayer match on the USOpen website live stream (available only in the US). The commentators, including Mal Washington, seemed pro-Murray, and they talked about how hard he trained on the track and in the gym, but some of the quotes were perhaps ill-chosen? cough cough........

    I'm paraphrasing, slightly, but they included this gem

    "Look what the cyclists do to prepare their bodies for the Tour-de-France, look what the Navy seals do, they can put their bodies through so much, he's trying to condition himself to match and exceed anything that he's ever going to find on a tennis court"

    and

    "27 pull-ups a minute with 40lb weights strapped to his chest - super-hero stuff"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. I watched that match too. It struck me how Mayer was able to hang in there and with stringing everything together and all his might he was able to win the 3rd set - after that, Murray found another gear and Mayer was never able to maintain his 3rd set level and clearly looked physically deflated.

      I felt bad for if Murray would not have this rather exceptional physique and stamina lately ( whose origin we still don't know much despite guardian's "embedded" camp/tune-up reports from Florida) Meyer who played great tennis and was able to hurt Murray, would have been able to pull off an upset - yet Murray was able to outplay him physically - not so much with his shot-selection. Mayer too was able to hit the angles and had a great serve that stretched Murray nicely and got him great points on his serve. Murray probably was expecting to cruise into the next round, but kudos to Mayer, who did not give in.

      Especially in those matches, doping would make a great difference and blurr the result considerably. Mayer had all the right tools, but not enough power to make it last.

      Just imagine Murray would have been more out of breath from the running - Mayer had to sit down during rallies and was visibly more shaken than Murray who did his usual ranting when he noticed that Mayer simply did not want to go away...

      Delete
  16. Interesting interview from Dmitry Tursunov.

    http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Totally-Tursunov-Dmitry-Talks-Life-Lessons,-Sugarp.aspx


    "Does it surprise you that Rafa Nadal has been able to have one of the best seasons of his career after being off the court for seven months?"

    " Tursunov: It’s a tough topic because a lot of people insinuate that he’s not just taking Flintstones to play so well. We all have to do something a little extra because we have to maintain the level we need to compete. I’m not talking about something illegal or something hard-core. I don’t know, maybe he does have butt implants. That seems to be the topic of the locker room (laughs). I think he’s definitely exceptional in a lot of ways. Mentally, he’s able to focus in a way that not a lot of people are able to. I think he loves just the grind of it. He loves the challenge of it. I’m not the person who likes to go out and compete for the hell of it. I’d rather go lay on a couch somewhere. Rafa is able to focus, not to win the tournament and say, like, “Holy crap, I did such a good job! Let’s go party somewhere in Mallorca and Ibiza!” He wins the French Open and the next day he’s practicing for two hours in Queens. I’m sure he takes certain steps to give himself the best chance to get there, whether it’s taking Flintstones or eating correctly. It’s a little bit unfair from our side to say, “For sure, this guy is juicing,” because in our minds, we’d rather believe he’s doing a quick fix instead of believing he works for seven hours like a horse to get there. "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm interesting. The Russians don't make much bones about what they say do they?

      I remember Safin at his best, what a talent he was but he too was plagued by injuries, more due to his physique than anything else, because he had an efficient aggressive style of play. Once his knee started bothering him, that was that' he disappeared, had surgery and then never moved the same again. How Nadal, with a far more gruelling style, and bigger upper body is able to continue without surgery and then come back better than ever is beyond me. Well, its not beyond me because I have a clue as to what he might be doing, but watching it is so frustrating.

      Delete
    2. Well, let's not fool ourselves here, the advantage would be even bigger if Nadal would not only be working diligently for seven hours with his butt implants, but in addition would also juice.

      Instead of giving Nadal the benefit of the doubt, as generous Tursunov does - for reasons only he knows - I'd volunteer to say that the combination of both would surely be the winning mixture for any player.

      Especially since doping does both, allows for short-cuts, while also let's you train even harder - so Nadal would have been able to make the most out of his purported discipline and talent thanks to EPO and roids.

      Delete
    3. In his on court interview after his match with Dutra-Silva Nadal said that he had only practiced for three weeks before coming back after 8 months off. Yet in this video from Nov. 2012 he's shown to be back in training, on court. What's up with that? Is he just a compulsive liar?

      http://youtu.be/VP5vd5-w_2k

      BTW the espn comms all laughed when they heard him say that, considering all that he has accomplished this year.

      Delete
  17. I am truly mystified.

    Watching another Wimbledon debacle from Rafa one wondered if it was just FO fatigue hangover or injury or what.

    But this summer, Rafa is a BEAST on HC. Seriously, its the best he has looked on HC since 2008. Rafa, the man who complained the HC season is too long, too hard on the body etc. and yet lo and behold, he is having his best year on hc after missing 7 months due to 'injury'

    he won IW, Montreal and Cincy. And is crushing all comers thus far at the USO.

    I have never seen a player after so called debilitating injury make such improvement on his worst surface.

    that said, he has been lucky not to face murry or djoker at these tournaments but still.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadal beat Djokovic in Montreal. Lucky Murray escaped a fully "recovered", "injury free" Nadal :)

      Delete
  18. Ben Johnson to lead anti-doping campaign

    http://espn.go.com/olympics/trackandfield/story/_/id/9613912/ben-johnson-promotes-anti-doping-campaign

    "Winning a gold medal and being the best in the world it cost me my reputation, my life," Johnson said Thursday in London. "I'm here to try and change that. I'm trying to clear the air and clear my part of life, trying to help future generations and future athletes, athletes of my caliber, who have tested positive, been in the same boat as me, trying to help them and say, 'You're not alone.'"

    Johnson said he hoped to convince future athletes not to resort to drugs.

    "If I can help change the mind of athletes in generations to come, that's what we are here for," he said.

    The campaign's backers said in a statement that Johnson will ask sports fans to sign a petition demanding action to "improve the waning credibility of world sport," while demanding a truth-and-reconciliation process across sport.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahahhahaha.

      What a genius move! Way to go!


      Putting the fox in charge of the henhouse!

      Delete
    2. It is beyond ironic... the anti-doping campaign n question is being launched by a sportswear company, so this wonderful, fair-minded humanitarian is almost certainly being paid to do this..... Speechless.....

      Delete
  19. amazing...18-0 for the year on hard court, with bad knees, on the most unforgiving surface for knees.


    how is no one's mind in the tennis establishment completely blown away by this??

    ReplyDelete
  20. Poor Dodig - I mean, he gave his all, kept running down those merciless fh top spin shots Nadal threw at him copiously and seemingly unfazed. Dodig himself could not believe what he saw.

    He had multiple shots during those rallies that would under "normal" conditions considered sure winners. But not with Nadal.

    Nadal is actually a sadist at heart, I think he gets off dominating, or rather punishing and torturing his opponents. It gives him a kick when he can out-do Dodig by finding yet another incredible, impossible shot or create a deadly angle.

    NOt to forget, Nadal should have gotten numerous time violations during changeover - for arranging his head band - but also for his towelling orgies between shots, using TWO towels now left and right. Why does he get a pass?

    Coming back to my last post, if his type of dominance is in fact achieved with the help of doping, as many suspect, it becomes clear how PEDs do destroy competition leaving someone like Dodig (or any other player who gets thrown under the bus) wihtout equal weapons.
    Nadal is flushing the ethics of the game down the toilet in front of our eyes!

    Resulting from this, any publicly known positive test of Nadal would be the ITF's true meltdown, proving that all his magical wins would in fact be achieved by cheating while crumbling to dust. Armstrong all over again. So it would make much sense that they protect him no matter what...


    He served SEVEN love games and his fh looked deadly throughout, his serve was sharp as a knife. How can this be after a supposedly threatening knee injury and 7months off from the tour on a surface that is cruel to your knees?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ive never seen a player come back from ruinous injury time and again, and come back faster, stronger and more dominant each time.

      most players' games decline when they try and come back from serious injury. rafa's improves!

      Delete
  21. Maria Kirilenko tweets the following:

    "I just can lough about my game today!Going to the doping control,maybe I have something after 0-6! haha sick of it!!!1000times doping doping"

    Not a happy bunny.

    1000 times though, REALLY?

    Makes her the most tested player evah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But, Stuart Miller assured us that they don't do loser targeted testing, yet the only tests we hear about are people who have lost.

      Maybe she can just call Stew up and tell him that she doesn't need to take the test because he is allergic to needles -- or cups if it is a urine test.

      Also, Serena Williams tells us that doping control only tests her and no other players, so these two need to talk and get their doping stories straight. One of these days, people will stop believing them.

      Delete
  22. Never too old to start doping:

    http://olympictalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/31/80-year-old-weightlifter-steroids-usada-doping-banned/related/

    Of course, it would be funny for this guy to win some medal in the Olympics and then tell everyone just how hard he works.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Locker room talk on Cilic's whereabouts:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/tennis/2013/08/31/us-open-marin-cilic-reported-doping-violation/2751697/

    "Stuart Miller, who oversees the program, declined to comment, saying in an email: "The only time we ever issue a statement on any player…is if a player has been found to have committed an anti-doping offence once the investigation process is complete."

    "It's tough," Finland's Jarkko Nieminen said after losing his second-round match to Joao Sousa of Portugal. "If there is a mistake and I'm not guilty, then I would see that it's also wrong that I keep missing big tournaments. It's not my fault."

    ---> A mistake? It's more likely that the ITF is intransparent so they could take care of the problem behind closed dooors and not the possibility of a mistake that is the problem here. And even if it were so, what is the big deal revealing this? What is at stake is a cover-up.

    "If Cilic has opted to accept a voluntary provisional suspension, as other players have, and is ultimately exonerated, neither he nor the ITF are obligated to make the positive test public."

    Hmmm, other players... So we know its a common practice. Nadal, anyone?


    "A number of players — Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Brian Baker, Rajeev Ram, among them — said they were comfortable with the current system where doping violations are withheld until appeals are exhausted."

    Baker, I can see that. Coming back from so many injuries, I am sure he'd prefer the current system. Mattek Sands - yeah, well. One thing: google her husband!

    "Miller said "silent bans" — basically quietly serving a suspension while waiting out an appeal — don't exist since "every violation of the rules is publicly reported" and it's "not possible for a player to serve a suspension and it not be reported."

    "ATP board member Justin Gimelstob agreed."

    (There are things about him I'd like to say here, but I'd rather not.. but it fits the picture that he agrees)

    "I believe the silent ban is a misconception," he said Saturday. "There has to be a period of time where people have the ability to evaluate the information. It's unfair to speculate while that process is ongoing."

    "Players seemed mostly sympathetic to Cilic, considering the circumstances, and said they would probably act similarly.

    "What else could he do?" said Sergiy Stakhovsky, a member of the ATP Tour Player Council."

    Well, fellow THASPers, what COULD you do? How about disclose the current status of Cilic and keep things transparent?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So let me get Gimelslob straight... Fans should not "speculate" while a pending doping investigation is going on, but the player himself can outright lie about the whole thing? And this is somehow the moral high ground?

      The problem is that the system basically requires players to lie. I mean, there are mandatory tournaments. The players MUST play in them unless they are injured, suspended, or are a "senior" member like Roger Federer (See ATP Rule 1.08). In addition, in the case of Cilic, the suspension came down in the middle of a tournament and he withdrew citing a non-existent injury.

      "What else could he do?" Well, he could not lie. He could say nothing. He could say, "I am required to withdraw for reasons that I will not disclose at this time." He could say, "I tested positive for a banned substance and am reviewing the analytical findings but have decided to take a voluntary provisional suspension."

      Also, I am so sick of Millers doping-double-speak. There is no such thing as a "silent ban" because all violations are announced. Yes, those are the terms the rule books use but they are meaningless to the general public. There is a provisional suspension after an adverse analytical finding but before the "violation" is determined by the tribunal. So, yes, there is a "silent ban" -- which is what Cilic is serving right now.

      Really, this isn't that difficult. If someone is arrested for murder, they are not yet guilty of murder. However, they are put in jail pending trial unless they can post bail. We don't keep arrest records secret even though numerous people will be arrested but never convicted. We can also "speculate" about why police are putting someone in handcuffs and taking them away, even if the person is later found innocent of all charges.

      So, really, Gimelslob, you think that someone like Casey Anthony would just be silently detained without anyone knowing why? Because if we announce that she was arrested for murder, it would be very bad for her. If the trial was public, it would also create unwanted publicity for her. So, we should just silently detain her, then have a secret trial, and because she was found not guilty, then just release her and say nothing? Would anyone remotely think that this system of justice was fair for anyone?

      "But, accusing someone of doping could ruin their career?" Ok, but accusing them of murder won't? I mean, Hernandez is not guilty of anything yet. Should we not "speculate" about why he is not playing any more and just silently incarcerate him? Maybe he is found not guilty and this whole thing just ruined his career. Is Gimelslob suggesting that any time an athlete is arrested for anything, it should just be completely silent until a secret trial is conducted and a jury finds him guilty? Otherwise, he is just released and no further information is provided?

      Why is that when Michael Vic was arrested for dog-fighting, it was perfectly fine to "speculate" about what he had done prior to him being convicted? Does Gimelslob suggest that Michael Vic should have been allowed to keep playing until a guilty verdict was reached? (Personally, I think Michael Vic was unfairly treated by the criminal justice system, but I won't get into that. I certainly don't think the crimes should have been kept secret pending trial, nor was there any obligation to allow him to continue playing while they were pending.)

      Funny thing is, the reason why we have public trials is because it is fair for everyone. Sure, people get accused of murder but are found not guilty. This ruins their entire life. Just ask OJ Simpson and George Zimmerman. However, a secret system would be far worse. But for some reason Gimelslob and Miller think that the Gestapo and KGB had better ideas of criminal justice than western societies -- just keep everything secret and "trust us" that we are protecting you.

      Delete
    2. ^Fantastic post. In other news, age has certainly been kind to Tommy Robredo.

      Delete
    3. wtf...zimmerman did kill trayvon martin.

      only florida's bs stand your ground law made it possible for him to be not guilty of manslaughter.

      please limit your assertions to the world of tennis, geez.

      Delete