Friday, October 4, 2013

Djokovic: "So she was lying a lot."

Viktor Troicki's case is really provoking some interesting reactions. The latest volley comes from Novak Djokovic who has this to say about the Doping Control Officer involved in Troicki's refusal to submit a sample:
I don't see why they're keeping him suspended.  For what?  For failing to provide the blood test?  He asked the lady that day, you know, he's not feeling well.  Can I provide you tomorrow?  She said, Yes, if you write report.
He wrote the report, and the next thing you know she's failing to say the truth in the court in London.  She was saying that he was convincing him, that it took her 20 minutes to walk from anti‑doping office to the ATP office in Monte‑Carlo tournament, which is 20 meters.  So she was lying a lot.
That's very bad for our sport.  That's very bad for anti‑doping agency, you know, to have people who are responsible for this work to fail to say what really happened that day.

As readers of this blog know very well, the WADA and ITF anti-doping rules are crystal clear on the consequences of failing to provide a sample without compelling justification. And the single indisputable fact of the Troicki case is that he did not provide a sample when asked. The ITF tribunal did not find his justification compelling. Therefore, he was suspended. End of story.

It seems like only yesterday that players, fans, and the media were extolling the stringency and transparency of the ITF's anti-doping program. What happened?


  1. Trying to scapegoat some poor minor official. Disgusting really.

    1. The Ryan Braun way!


    2. And we all know what happened in the end...turns out the poor minor official in the Ryan Braun case actually did nothing wrong and had his name smeared by Braun and his lawyers. Braun has yet to apologize to the guy for ruining his job and his life.

      Unless something else comes out, I just don't believe Troicki's story; dopers or someone who is trying to hide doping has a vested interest in lying.

  2. It nicely shows how morally decrepit some of the fans favorites are really.

    The only one failing the truth, really, is troicki for pulling the "I-feel-sick-card" when he was tested. Now besmearing the ODC of lying is rather daring, in fact, it is a complete reversal of events.

    As a result truth can mean the complete opposite as long as it serves your pruposes. Not that I would dispute the fact that truth is relative to your own interests, but here it has become something that does hardly resemble the old notion of truth...

    Again, I would very much like to know who else signed that self-serving petition of indignated, self-declared "anti-system" rebels.

    Names, please!

  3. Also this innocent little daisy twitters:

    Matt Cronin ‏@TennisReporters 22h
    "Wow Djokovic completely threw the anti-doping official in the Troicki case under bus: "She was lying a lot."

    Was he really caught off guard that someone like Djokovic would try all tricks in the book?
    Plenty of folks get thrown under the bus when it comes to much roadkill, really. Mothers, trainers, foreign speaking officials, DCO's who clearly lie a lot... Cronin must be aware of how long that list is already.

    Why so silent, Matt?

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  5. Publically accusing a DCO of lying, when djokovic was not present and therefore cannot verify the facts, is out of order, IMO.
    The officer was experienced, apparently, and had no incentive to misinform Troicki. I would guess that she is forbidden to comment publically about the matter, so making these kind of statements about her is very poor form.

    1. Not only did Djokovic somehow force an unnecessary rule change but he is also allowed to happily continue to slander a DCO as well as making claims that "politics" is involved. I'd love to read his "petition". Must be a masterpiece of argumentation.

    2. It pisses me off because, as you said, she probably is forbidden to talk about it, so Djokovic will continue to be a scumbag and spout his nonsense conspiracy theories and unfounded garbage. Unless he was there during the meeting, he should keep his mouth shut.

      Troicki (is going to say anything and tell his friends anything that puts himself in the best light as some poor and naive innocent who was taken advantage of by that big meanie at doping control.

  6. Meanwhile, Nadal seems to be getting ready for another round of treatment:

    "Nadal felt pain in knee early in quarterfinal win"

    Rafael Nadal, who will become No. 1 in next week’s rankings, says he felt pain in his knee during his three-set quarterfinal win over Fabio Fognin. Nadal recently missed seven months between 2012 and 2013 with knee trouble, returning at Indian Wells in March.

    “When something happens in a place that is sensitive for me, you get scared, first thing,” Nadal told reporters. “Second thing, I felt pain at the beginning. I don’t feel comfortable with my movements for all the match, but it’s true that I improved during the match. I finished the match with a little bit more confidence on my movements than what I had during the first set and almost two sets. But I really hope that it’s only a bad movement.

    “When something happened like this in the first point in the match, your knee, the memory stays there and is very difficult to be 100 percent focused on the match because you are thinking about if I really did a bad movement or not. I don’t felt power on the knee when I was running to the balls for long time in the match, but what’s very positive is I really was feeling better and better during the match. So if something very bad happening, going to be the opposite.”

    1. Looks like Rafa will be off for one of his breaks again.

    2. non story, nadal preparing the excuse on the off chance djoker can beat him.

      when he wins beijing the knee will be fine again.l

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    4. @Broke Chef

      Funny, when I read his remarks here, last nite, I was about to post that Nadal is very likely going to lose the final.

      The off chance, as you call it, was foreshadowed by Nadal's knee comments.

      I am so fucking done with this KNEE SAGA!
      I am done with Nadal using those precious knees as a side kick to instrumentalize as it pleases him...

      Now Mr. "She-was-lying-alot" won easily over Nadal - having greater depth, better serve, more 1st & 2nd serve pts won and more calm to beat the man who looked like a mere shadow of his UO self.

      What to make of that?

    5. How convenient that once again Nadal put it out there that his knees were "hurting" to give him cover if/when he loses.

    6. Every. Damn. Time.

      How many years has he been preemptively announcung defeats/dry spells? Since 2009, at least? Yet, the sports press takes him at his word all the time, no investigating, no nothing. This so-called "Golden Era" is really tennis' dark ages. Sad, sad, sad.

    7. > What to make of that?


      Two theories:

      1. Nadal was doping for the USO and not for the China Open.

      2. Look at his recent history with Djokovic. He invariably loses when the conditions are damp or humid or don't allow his spin to have its usual bite. He was getting *destroyed* at the 2012 French Open when they were playing in the rain. He got beat pretty badly at Monte Carlo, again in damp, cool conditions. At the China Open, I'm not sure exactly which hard court surface is used there or what the balls were like, but it wouldn't surprise me if the conditions were faster, resulting in lower bounces.

      From Nadal's presser following the China Open final:


      Q. You and Novak have played many times over your career. Do you think he made any significant adjustments since the last match, or was it just him executing better today?
      RAFAEL NADAL: Combination of things were difficult to analyze one match in particular. I did a lot of things worse than what I did in the US Open and he did the things very well.
      In the US Open he played very well, too. Probably the conditions of this court, this ball, were more favorable for him than for me. He did very well. He played a great match.
      I didn't play as good as I did in Montréal and the US Open. So to play against Novak when he's playing well, if you are not playing almost at the perfect level, is very difficult to win.
      That's what happened today. I didn't play at this level and he played at very high level and I lost.


      No mention of the knees.

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    9. My theory - he did not give a single fuck if he won or not, for the #1 ranking mattered most to him anyway. Add to that the fast court (too bad Fed was not around...) which Djoker used to perfection in creating low bouncing balls, finishing points early and serving well, which, generally, made it harder for Rafa to get his spin going and subsequently get a foot in the door.

      WTF will be his goal, he still needs that win badly, and like any OC person, completion of a series, like accurate placement of bottles, is what matters to him a lot, no?

      All this does not preclude doping, for if he doped in Bejing or not, the current Nadal, as we see him prancing on courts throughout the world, is very much a product of his past illegal helpers.

      Also to pick up a thought from our last discussion, where you pointed out that changes in equipment brought about the changes - some of which I called negative - we currently see in tennis. My reply would be that other sports have dealt with that issue as well and came up with adjustments, or even reverted back to the former status.

      Among others, I was thinking of swimming and the invention of those infamous bodysuits - which created unbelievable records and faster athletes all along. Yet, the swimming federation, FINA, realized quickly, after one and half year, to be more precise, that this prop is changing the nature of the game lastingly and creates artificial, illegal records, because only some swimmer benefited - the ones with lager physiques (creating a favorable angle of buoyancy) and they subsequently banned those suits.

      Not saying tennis should time travel back to wooden racquets, yet, a greater variety of court speeds should be considered, wouldn't you agree? It would not erase doping from the game - yet it would downplay endurance and in fact favor making the point.

      Btw, I also agree that Sampras was a big snoozefest for me, any player with a big serve makes me turn off the telly pronto ;)

    10. > My theory - he did not give a single fuck if he won or not

      From what I've heard, Nadal would be pissed if he lost a game of Mario Cart, much less an ATP 500 final against his biggest rival. There's also his unbeaten streak on hard courts to consider. I doubt he'd part with that without a fight.

      > completion of a series, like accurate placement of bottles, is what matters to him a lot, no?

      Haha, no argument there.

      > very much a product of his past illegal helpers

      There is definitely merit to that argument, but isn't THASP's theory that his performance dips after the US Open are due to him cycling off the PEDs? Or is the argument just that he doesn't have the talent to play on the fastest hard courts?

      > Not saying tennis should time travel back to wooden racquets, yet, a greater variety of court speeds should be considered, wouldn't you agree?

      You might have missed this, but when you brought this up last time, I said:

      "I would like that as well, I just don't know how to achieve that without restricting equipment or escalating the number of aces to boredom-inducing level."

      It just occurred to me, they could also raise the nets. Think anyone would go for that? :)

    11. "From what I've heard, Nadal would be pissed if he lost a game of Mario Cart"

      I don't know - he comes across as someone who does ANYTHING to win, certainly. Yet, I get the feeling he is much more calculating than we think. He knew the surface would not benefit him, maybe he was cycling down as well and he knew he had bagged that #1 spot anyway - so why go all out for a measly 500 event?

      Regarding illegal helpers. I think from the explanations below on cycling/EPO you now understood how I actually meant it . So he might have been off the juice and it showed - especially on a surface that normally least suits him. Still, the Nadal of today, whether losing or winning, is very much the sum of the training hours he put in - which would be greatly aided by doping. As would be aggression, concentration/focus, not to forget!

      Regarding the time travel remark, I think I recall you saying that you are pretty much okay with the current state of atrition based tennis which emphasizes athleticism and fitness over attack to woo audiences to create more drama and spectacle to shed out more bucks for tickets and to keep them slap happy in their bubble, glorifying their faves etc...
      So yes, changing court speeds would again submit you to the occasional attacking game/acefests and would mean less spin and less time on the ball once more courts would become fast(er) again... creating less advantages for those obnoxious überfit players.
      In essence different court speeds would make more variety - and you said you'd agree on that - so don't you think you could handle that? Your occasional boredom then would be equal to my boredom when seeing endless baseline rallying. Now with the current trend towards slow courts it's mostly me being bored to death while you, somewhat unfairly, seem to enjoy yourself...

    12. > so why go all out for a measly 500 event

      Well, it's highly subjective to get into whether Nadal didn't play his best because he wasn't trying his hardest or because he wasn't feeling confident about his game (or because he was off the juice). All I can say is that I didn't see anything overt like him letting balls go that he would normally run for. He may have just come out a little flat too. It happens.

      > As would be aggression, concentration/focus

      This raises a question: do qualities like aggression and concentration/focus wear off quickly when you go off the juice? I would think the mental/physchological effects would be more about your current hormonal situation than your strength and endurance, which would be more about your long-term training (/doping) regime.

      > you are pretty much okay with the current state of atrition based tennis

      I enjoy it if there's some passion, ferocity, and power evident. I don't enjoy watching endless rallies where no one ever goes on the attack, and it literally becomes a game of waiting for an unforced error to occur.

      > So yes, changing court speeds would again submit you to the occasional attacking game/acefests

      I take issue with your use of the word "occasional". In the years before Wimbledon was slowed down, I remember thinking that the number of ace dominated matches was getting out of hand. Wimbledon went from being easily my favorite tournament to one I almost grudgingly watched. I do enjoy serve and volley, but only if the possibility of a break of serve is not completely remote. If they can do something about lowering the power on the rackets, I'd be happy to see Wimbledon sped back up.

  7. Oh dear, unbelievable stuff from Djokovic and Nadal. Again...

    At the same time, one thought hit me the other day. How do you expect people on Prozac, Ritalin, cocaine, you name it, and I'm talking about top executives (sports equipment, sport federations, journalists, you name it), how do you expect these people, who basically cheat (at least cheat their body and their conscience) to get ahead or keep their jobs, or meet a deadline, how do you expect these people to have any serious negative thought about doping in sports? They must be thinking: what's the big f. deal, they're not stupid, these athletes, like I'm not stupid, they know some stimulant may be needed to get ahead, or basically do your job. I'm certainly not gonna blame them for that. To hell with all those whining loser cry-baby conspiracy theorists.
    The society we live in is unfortunately not fertile ground for any big, widespread outrage.
    Only if proofs are found and published, will cheaters be exposed. Otherwise, they will keep their undeserved glory, or at least good reputation, depending on the ranking we're talking about.

  8. Troicki and Cilic are defending the indefensible, and their legal advisors will no doubt have made that clear to them. If you refuse a doping test: you get sanctioned. If you ingest a supplement without satisfying yourself that it's legal: you get sanctioned.... No amount of obfuscation or PR will / should change the verdicts.

    So why the persistent "eyes-wide....I-will-be-proven-innocent" stances? Why appeal?

    I wonder if the intention is to muddy the waters to the point where sponsors (and maybe even fans) will not walk away. If they're not seen to publically fight, it's like they're fessing up, and that could have consequences.

    Regardless, a lot of people's time and money will be wasted........

    1. What I don't get in Troicki's case is that he is essentially arguing that he is a complete moron. I mean, let's assume the ADO really did say, "I guarantee you that you do not need to provide a sample if you write a letter to Stuart Miller."

      Ok, accept that as a fact. Now, I don't play professional sports, but I do pay my taxes. If I talked to some IRS agent and she said, "I guarantee you that you do not need to pay your taxes as long as you write a letter explaining why." I would not say, "Oh, great, let me go write my letter." I would say, "Yeah, right." Because that is just common sense. I would know that I could have a nun, a priest, and a rabbi all witness that IRS agent saying I didn't need to pay my taxes and have it recorded on 15 video cameras. I would be smart enough to know that it just wouldn't make a bit of difference.

      So, why would Troicki believe someone who was telling him essentially the same thing? I mean, seriously, did he really think that writing a letter would get him out of a doping test? What if Stuart Miller didn't like his explanation? He honestly believed that anyone could write any letter with any explanation and it would automatically result is an excused missed? If so, he is a complete moron and that should be reason enough to ban him.

  9. Time for another vacation, no?

    1. Yep, precisely. His poor ailing knees will be so much a worry until the WTF. Where he'll blow everyone away as if nothing happened only to take another recharging break to dominate AO. unbelievable---10 titles, 12 finals??? Really, r people actually buying this story still???

    2. Nadal looked so poor in that final. By contrast, Djokovic was at about the level he has played in the US Open (or actually better). Maybe Novak's stuff is undetectable. Maybe he hasn't been on anything.

      But the point is, Nadal had zero chances on Djokovic's serve. Now Novak may have served better, and the surface may have been faster, but seriously, wasn't obvious that Nadal was off the juice for this tournament?

      This is one huge farce.

    3. > but seriously, wasn't obvious that Nadal was off the juice for this tournament?

      It's obvious he was very uncomfortable with his game during the tournament, but it didn't look like he lacked strength or fitness, so I don't know. Was his serve speed markedly slower than at the USO? That would potentially be a good measure, but I'm not sure whether that information is recorded or available.

      To me, it just looked like his timing was off, perhaps because the ball was bouncing lower and skidding more. His spin didn't seem to bite as much as it would on a slower surface, which is crucial if your game relies on RPMs rather than forward motion. It would be helpful to know just how fast the courts in Beijing really are. Are they significantly different than the courts at the USO?

      If he was off the juice for this tournament, why? Is the testing more strict at ATP 500 tournaments than at grand slams? Does he only juice up for big events?

    4. >If he was off the juice for this tournament, why?

      Cycling perhaps? Nadal might want to peak later during the year, or maybe his body cannot handle what he puts into it long term,

      > It's obvious he was very uncomfortable with his game during the tournament, but it didn't look like he lacked strength or fitness, so I don't know. Was his serve speed markedly slower than at the USO? That would potentially be a good measure, but I'm not sure whether that information is recorded or available.

      I think it was obvious to many that Nadal was struggling with his positioning, especially on the wide forehands, many of which he was shanking. His crosscourt backhand, a revelation this season was also missing. Body positioning and biomechanics have a lot to do with all of these, not just surface speed (he had a week to adjust to speed after all). As far as I'm concerned, when a huge potential doper is a little off and spins the knee excuse earlier during the tournament, he is off the dope.

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    6. > Cycling perhaps?

      @Beacon Tripper,

      Every time I do a Google search for "steroids cycling" or "doping cycling", it thinks I'm talking about bicyling :) Is there a good article that talks about "cycling" as you mean it here? I mean, I get that you don't stay on the juice 100% of the time, but I'm curious how quickly the benefits dissipate after you stop. Nadal was clearly flying high through Davis Cup, which ended September 15. Two weeks later, he's really struggling. Can you really lose strength that quickly?

      > Nadal was struggling with his positioning

      But did he actually look slow? I didn't see every match, but against Fognini and Djokovic, he seemed to be getting to balls, he just didn't seem to have his usual confidence when he got there.

      Anyway, I guess we'll see what happens going forward.

      BTW, I just dug up this very interesting article on ITF court pace ratings. Sounds like that program is just as flawed as the doping program :-/

    7. Sorry, that link was wrong, I meant:

    8. Anabolic steroids, which is what you are referring to above as "steroids," are training drugs. That is, you use them in training to build muscles, improve recovery, etc. In general, you would not use the during a tournament and there would be no immediate benefit to doing so -- because you aren't going to build significant muscles from day-to-day, even with steroids, it takes time.

      Steroid cycling is simple used so that your body does not stop producing the hormone naturally (or other harmful side effects). See for a complete description of how athletes use steroids as well as links to purchase them.

      As such, anabolic steroid "cycles" would not result in sudden increases or decreases in strength. However, there are numerous other drugs that would have this effect -- EPO being the most prominent.

    9. Thanks, @MTracy.

      So I guess when people around here say "off the juice", they're talking about EPO. From the WADA site, it sounds like it can thicken your blood and cause heart disease and pulmonary embolism. Scary.

      Interesting they also mention autoimmune disease as a side effect. Wonder if EPO could have been a factor in Venus Williams developing Sjorgren's Syndrome.

    10. Yup, EPO is predominantly what we would be talking about - and having played tennis, my guess is that the evolution of the game would lend itself to EPO and HGH more than any other PED.

      The surface speed thing is rubbish and I actually think the speed varies on a yearly basis; I'd advise you to watch tapes of matches at a particular location through the years. The US Open to me cannot be considered a faster court anymore.

      > But did he actually look slow?

      Speed in tennis is useless if you do not have the footwork and strength to be in correct position to hit the ball. I would also argue that this process along with serving and sudden change in direction is what tires the body out the most during a tennis match. Nadal has pretty good hands but most of his retrieving involves perfect position.

    11. > Speed in tennis is useless if you do not have the footwork and strength to be in correct position to hit the ball

      I play tennis as well, and I would totally agree that speed and footwork are not the same thing, but my footwork only noticeably degrades if I get involved in a long, arduous match with long rallies. If I get pushed too hard for too long, yes, my legs will start to feel like rubber, and I'll feel the need to rest longer between points. However, it doesn't happen early in a match. Against Djokovic, I have a really hard time believing he didn't have the leg strength/fuel to position himself properly. He basically had a walkover against Berdych, so there's no reason he should have come into the final that tired, and he was failing to compete at his normal level right from the first game. I don't see how you explain that purely with a doping argument.

  10. If you folks haven't seen "The War On Doping", it's worth watching....

    On Hulu here.............

  11. Berdych sticks to rules, apparently:

    “I mean, one day we have a rules which someone agree on them, and then you have to accept that,” Berdych said. “If the rules going to be different, then we will be accepting the different rules and we will go by different standards and different things that they are set. But if one day it’s said that not giving a sample means that you are positive, that’s kind of rule. If it’s a good rule or a bad rule, don’t ask me about it. I mean, it’s a rule. For sure I would like to change it. I would like to have it different. But these days it’s how it is. I mean, you need to be careful basically what you’re doing.”

    1. Djokovic is funny..."It’s just not fair towards the players, because there has to be I guess technology or a camera or an additional person in the room while you’re doing the test, because then ‑‑ the player has no really rights."

      Hey, Novak, ever hear of a cell phone? Maybe you call it a "mobile." Anyway, these days the things come with cameras. They can record video, audio, everything. They can even download the doping rules from the internet while you are waiting to give a sample. They can also be used to call your lawyer, or the world #1 so he can give you advice about what to do when you don't want to give a sample.

      So, why didn't Troicki break out this wonderful piece of technology and record what was going on -- then there would be no questions?

      Even if Troicki had a fear of technology, he could still use the old pen/paper method. You know, just have the DCO to sign a statement that says, "I told Troicki that he didn't need to provide a sample today if he wrote a letter to Stuart Miller." Again, then there would be no question about who said what.

      Of course, the most likely reason that he didn't do any of these apparently obvious things is that the DCO didn't say anything like that.

    2. Fuss, fury, and obfuscation from the erstwhile world no.1.

      Djokovic seems under the impression that retrospective immunity from sanctions after refusing a test is a mere matter of writing a letter. Life would be just wonderful, wouldn't it, were that the case?

      He ought to be fined himself for bringing the ATP into disrepute with those remarks of his, calling an experienced doping control officer a liar.

    3. Also writing letters... with an actual pen...who still does that these days?

      He might as well use carrier pigeons.

    4. Wait, can't Djokovic be sued or something for the statement he made? At best, he is relying on Troicki's version to defame a doping official. At worst, he is doing a PR stunt for his countryman by pulling his weight as a big name.

      This clearly proves Djokovic's stance on doping. He is against anti-doping as he has always been. National duty and winning titles clearly is more important.

    5. Suing could be tricky. Generally, the offense is tried at the location of the offense. As Djokovic was probably in Serbia at the time, suing him would probably be a waste of time (regardless of what the laws in Serbia are). Any trial of Novak in Serbia would be as big a joke as an ITF tribunal.

      Try to get him to repeat the statement in France or England.

  12. I am so over the feigned ignorance of these apparently professional athletes (and their associates)...acting like they don't understand why refusing to furnish a doping sample is a problem, and saying 'placement' and 'touch' are what tennis is all about and no one would use PEDS.... In the current sporting milieu, those kind of comments just sound ridiculous.

    That Berdych quote contains nothing but waffle and nonsense. "For sure I would like to change it. I would like to have it different."... Really Tomáš? The only reason a well-informed athlete would like that rule changed is so that they could refuse a test with impunity, no matter what was in their system......

    Where are the quotes from the athletes saying that they want testing to get tougher, so that others athletes won't be able to steal their money, ranking points, titles, and glory?

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  14. Navratilova on doping in Tennis:

    Q - On a more serious note, the volume of the doping discussion has risen exponentially in the last year. Do you think doping is an issue in professional tennis?

    - It has to be a clean sport. I started learning more about doping after I retired. It’s easy to evade. There is stuff that can help tennis players, particularly in the endurance and recovery areas. They can train much harder, and then they have that confidence because they put in more hours. So the effect is mental even though there aren’t drugs for the mental side. So, you have to keep it as level a playing field as possible. I think that if people really do get caught cheating, the penalty needs to be severe. At the same time, when they catch someone, we treat people who [ingested something inadvertently] the same way as if they were trying to cheat. It’s obvious whether people are cheating or whether it’s some accident. It needs to be fair, but I have absolutely no patience or sympathy for cheaters.

    1. Interesting comments but I call absolute BS on her saying she "learned" more about doping after she retired. She didn't know about doping while she was playing? Come on now.

    2. Thing is, has there ever been a convincing case where "inadvertently" really happened? An accident? How?

      Let's be real, most of those "explanations" belong in the realm of fairytales - I am insulting the Brother's Grimm here big time with this, which I should not, really, for their tales have indeed a moral unlike those fabricated lies from the athletes.

      So how about simply calling those vindicative stories desperate brainfarts? That's really what they are. Involving unrealistic settings, ideally in strange foreign countries, weird-ass props, inexplicable plot twists and wooden main characters with very low intelligence and bad reading skills and not to forget the inevitable language barrier problems...also never forget to include a mother in it. Also, in those worlds folks never heard of smartphones or google...

      I find it hard to think of a plausible, realistic scenario, where you inadvertently take, say, Clenbuterol, to name an example, that we could call an accident. Not saying it is totally impossible ever, but the likelyhood of that happening must be close to one in a million... Yet, anytime we see an athlete get caught, we are being presented with yet another of those eyebrow-raising "tales".

      No wonder our believe in them dwindles rapidly...

      Not criticizing Martina here, she is clear in her stance and I wish they had asked her more in depth about the current episode of doping cheats and their indignant pamphletists we are seeing currently...curious to hear her thoughts on this new-low in the ITfs anti-doping efforts.

    3. "Thing is, has there ever been a convincing case where "inadvertently" really happened? An accident? How?"


      That's the question isn't it TK? My guess is that there have been lots of adverse findings that the ITF have accepted bogus excuses for.

      At least she kind of acknowledges a problem in the sense that PEDs can help players. This is a welcome change from players and also coaches who say things Tennis is a skill based sport, doping wouldn't help e.t.c

    4. "Interesting comments but I call absolute BS on her saying she "learned" more about doping after she retired. She didn't know about doping while she was playing? Come on now."


      "I can definitely say the same thing [discussing Steffi Graf’s claim that she had played against at least one top player who used steroids]. Steroids can really make a difference, physically and mentally. I’d be really disappointed if I had been ranked No. 2 behind someone who took steroids."
      -Chris Evert 1992

      Maybe Navratilova didn't really know...

    5. I agree, Icarus, I'd be curious to read those...


      (It would be a great service to humanity, needless to say, and we would make sure you would NOT have to live with the Russians or go to jail unfairly)

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    7. Snr tweeted in response to a linked interview with body builder Boyer Coe. In the interview Coe alleges that, in 1983, he and another body builder, Mike Mentzer chatted to Navratilova about her steroid use. Allegedly, she was visiting a well-known trainer, Arthur Jones, that day. Jones and Menzer are deceased, so verifying the story would be problematic.

      I have no idea if Boyer Coe is a trustworthy individual, or why this was not followed-up, but I'm equally unclear why he would feel the need to make this up.

    8. @ arcus

      Yep, that was a pretty revealing, damning quote by Byer Coe and in hindsight it would make a whole lot of sense. It would paint a different picture regarding doping in tennis as well.

      Doping might have been prevalent in tennis for quite some time, let's face it. The fact that the 80s had their fair share of top players using would in some way also normalize PED abuse, proving that each generation had their PED of choice and the current generation might have access to the state of the art substances anyway: meaning the most fanciest stuff available - making look Navratilova look like a total beginner. And making Miller like a complete fool - not that that would be something new or surprising...

      If Navratilova was indeed using roids to buff up and get a better payback from those boring-ass gym hours back then... I think it's only fair to assume that Nadal's PRP treatment is just the seemingly legal end of what he is actually taking - note that Nadal serves just as placeholder, I am not keen on any particular player - I would just point out that the likelyhood of PEDs is high regardless the name of the player, considering that in that other glorious "golden" era of tennis (they are never golden, let's be real) they had been around already and were used by some of that era's top players.

      I am interested in Martina's logic though - how can she possibly reconcile her above quotes with her presumable roid usage? Beats me! When were roids ever NOT a PED, I wonder?

      This leads to my next remark, players seem to have found a way of perceiving these substances NOT doping when they use them, however, when someone sticks a mike in their face, they are strictly anti-doping. There seems to be a switch in their heads that gets flipped once they begin using them...

      Regarding the Dickinson/Daily Mail piece below, I was rather disappointed, to say the least, he could have done MUCH better, really.

      Nadal is quite a hypocrite when it comes to Fuentes. While Dickinson mentions his outspoken stance against Fuentes/bloodbags to make him look good, we all know that only happened after years of silence and downplaying that scandal - only after it was safe (when he knew they were not going to further investigate the list/blood bags).

      Also, the whole fact that PRP nicely helps in explaining HGH levels that would immediately set off the any blood passport alarm...

      In general, I am not fully deceided on PRP treatments - also all that fancy recovery training equipment described in the article... my gut feeling is that it creates a situation where some successful athletes use their wealth to enhance and prolong an otherwise shorter, more bumpy career, while other players have no way to compete in the chemical race simply for lack of funds and access or, not to forget, moral quarrels.

      I am highly doubtful that this is what tennis, or any other sport, should be about. It again distorts a level playing field and negates talent - which ironically is tooted by some as the very argument to counter those pesky doping allegations...

      You can be talented as HALE, still, that opponent fucking never tires...etc. etc.

      So from what I've come to know so far, I feel PRP had any right to be on the WADA list originally - those treatments create a caste system of the one's with access and the others who don't. Especially since players seem to be using it openly after matches during tournies and not as part of a strictly defined period when laboring an injury off court. Also the way it is described - who tells me that they do not also shoot up more to boost the red blood cells as well, once they are at it with the centrifuge...

      Sure some fans might say that anything that allows their chosen idol to play longer is good thereby accepting ALL costs.

      I am not willing to do that.

      However, I am willing to listen to their side and find out more, though.

      THASPers, what think you?

    9. I would not criticise Mike Dickson. You need to recognise subtlety when you see it. Mike Dickson is flagging it, but doing so in a way that gets him published rather than admonished. Journalists work under constraints and the UK press is under the cosh generally at the moment for its less-than-savoury ways. What other major media are running articles of this nature and in this detail?

      It's for others to look further into the technical aspects and see, for example, whether high levels of HGH do get produced as a natural result of blood spinning. How can Mike Dickson come out and say this is all just masking when he doesn't have the facts or evidence base to go on? He's doing what he can.

    10. True. Just the mention of Nadal and high levels of HGH is a pretty suggestive move. I'd be surprised if it didn't encourage at least a small amount more skepticism.

    11. @ Peter. True, I'll rest my case. As I mentioned, he does hint in a certain direction, more than other mainstream media ever would tbf, but for the reasons you rightly mention, he won't be going all out. I did catch those hints, however, felt that this approach creates a bastard of an article as a result from that. Maybe that left me somewhat wanting more. Maybe this is the only possible way to allude to HGH and Nadal in an article before getting dragged to court... who knows?

      That said, I do cut him some slack for even investigating the matter further also talking to experts is highly recommendable, I feel a bit bad for putting him on display here. Especially since his outlet gets a lot of flak these days anyway and he seems a decent soul in this otherwise abysmal puddle of mud.

      That said, Dickinson, keep on doing gods work ;)

      (try to be more bolt though...sigh)


    So the most miraculous sporting comeback in history is attributable to PRP therapy, which the writer acknowledges creates unusual amounts of human growth hormone in the body as a by-product. Of course the presence of unusual amounts of human growth hormone, which undoubtedly courses through Rafa's body, could also be the by-product of something else (for which of course he would have a TUE.) But, really, who else with bad knees, who has undergone PRP therapy, has become like Superman as a result of this injury treatment?

    Interesting that the article acknowledges doping suspicions associated with Nadal but tries to explain them away by suggesting that it is all a natural consequence of his PRP treatment. Shades of Lance all over again. Any implausible explanation but the most likely one.

    1. He should seriously consider to rewrite that. He could o better on the Fuentes bit, easily.

      Also this bit: "The enabling factors behind a spectacular run of form appear to lie in a combination of hard work, constant rehab, two space age training machines and the use of Plasma Rich Platelet therapy, often known as bloodspinning."

      "The Nadal camp is comfortable admitting that, as part of his ongoing regime, he undergoes PRP therapy, and there is no reason not to. Infact it has become so mainstream that health insurer BUPA these days will pay out for it to be used for ordinary citizens tackling tennis elbow."

      He forgets to mention that ordinary citizens do not take part in pro sports. Also, he should name the experts he spoke to.

      Also it somehow wants to have it both ways - he lays out enough hints that PRP might not be so innocent afterall, mentioning it does have wider benefits to performances ("dramatic HGH increase with a not to be ignored systemic effect"), yet makes no mention of the possibilities of inherent abuse. He lays out that it involves only small amounts of blood being used, however, never mentions who is to control that?

      He does say that PRP treatment will again be discussed by WADA during their annual conference next month, yet finishes with: "The treatment remains entirely above board." - he should have added "for now".

      It seems to be virtually impossible for writers to explicitly say what they actually think about PRP. Legal threats would be a possible explanation, I guess.

    2. The writer of the article also did not mention the studies that have said that PRP treatments are ineffective. I think that was probably worth a mention.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Damage control by Nadal but Mike Dickson's article brings the issue to an ever-widening audience.

  16. Reader should get a ban for this nonsense, too. For being completely delusional and non-aware of doping rules. AS A COACH for ATP pro's!

    "But he didn't refuse, he got given permission to not take it by the DCO (doping control officer)."

    ""I was in there, and I know he asked twice if there would be any problems and she said 'No, should be fine' and I left that room thinking it was all done with," Reader said. "And that's not the case obviously. She should have said, 'Well Mr Troicki, if you don't take the blood test, there will be consequences. You will face a two-year ban plus loss of points and loss of prize money,' and then nobody in their right mind is going to take that chance."

    They really tried to play the she-said-he said card here. Hope CAS is not having it and changes the ban back to two years - as it should be. That reduction was unfounded and a joke.

    As for the speed dial option, Reader claims Troicki did not get the right number from the DCO and was unable to get through... Uh huh.

    Remember, that DCO served her function for FIFTEEN YEARS impeccably!!

    Now this here is the money quote by Reader - a gripping real life tale of phobia and how it affects you, so fasten your seat belts, THASPER's - it does not get any better than this:

    ""In (the ITF's) minds, he could have gone and had drips all night to flush any substance out of his system but instead he was in the room with his father and he's scared of needles" Reader said. "To give you an example, we were at Roland Garros this year and he had to give a blood test and I was in the room. And I actually laughed which was a bit nasty of me but I couldn't help it. There's this 6-4 Serbian bloke, a strapping young fwllow, and he's getting his handheld by a doctor and his hand held by a nurse who's also patting his forehead for sweat. The poor guy was pale as hell. And I laughed, because it was just the picture of seeing this big guy quivering about a needle. If you've got a phobia, it's a horrible thing and I'm fortunate I don't have it but it was slightly amusing in a black sort of a way."

    So if I had needle-phobia, I think it would be time to quit the game once and for all, considering that the ITFs new bloodpassport , which undoubtedly will entail numerous blood drawing procedures in the near future.

    Or he should take some lessons from Verdasco and Nadal who do bloodspinning ALL THE FREAKIN TIME ;)

  17. For completition sake, other tennis folks getting their PRP treatment:

    Sharapova (who withdrew from Istanbul, btw, citing shoulder injury)

    Haas in some clinic in LA

    Jo Wilfried at it as well:

  18. That is really disgusting from Djokovic. The poor woman should sue and he should be given some sort of sanction from tennis. Looking at other professional sports, they fine players and coaches for even criticizing the referees. They should be ashamed of themselves for throwing this woman under the bus. The truth is that Troicki was doping and didn't want to take a blood test, because he was worried he would get caught. That is who is "lying a lot." And my guess is Djokovic knows this.

    1. Odd, isn't it, how the contract with his coach provided for a payment in the event the player was caught doping. Makes you wonder whether Reader was in on the act from day one or at least suspected his player sufficiently to insist on a payout in the event of the coaching relationship being disrupted in this way.

      As for Djokovic, had the ATP or ITF any balls, he would have already been called to account for those remarks of his.

    2. Exactly. It's exactly what Ryan Braun did the first time he got caught (throwing the DCO under the bus) and while he did get off the first time, he got busted again and it turns out he was using all along. Now people who defended him the first time around look like fools and no one has apologized to the DCO he slandered.

      Djokovic wasn't there, he has zero clue what happened. He's taking everything Troicki says as the gospel truth. I get they're countrymen and friends, but unless Djokovic was there he has no business making the comments he did and slandering the DCO who probably isn't allowed to speak publicly to defend herself.

      Troicki has a vested interest in lying to try and wiggle out of this suspension. The fact that some idiots (not on this board but other places) can't see that is infuriating.

    3. One thing I cannot stand to see in tennis, is abuse of the officials. I include DCOs in that group.

      They work hard, and generally to a high standard. In the event of a conflict, they have to remain professional, and sit quietly while some petulant overpaid brat screams their lungs off about how terrible they are.

      That line judge who called Serena Williams out, reminded me of David and Goliath...... and I think 'Goliath' is very apt in this situation.

  19. Federer and Nadal weigh in on the Troicki Situation

    Roger Federer’s stance on anti-doping protocols is a simple one: Do whatever it takes to catch and discourage cheaters. He has little sympathy for players skipping tests.

    “I want it as tough as possible, as many tests as possible,” he said Wednesday after beating Andreas Seppi in his opening match at the Shanghai Masters. “You’re not allowed to skip tests. I don’t care what the circumstances are, except if they’re super extreme, like you’re in the hospital already. But I just think when you get tested, you show up, you do it, you move on. It doesn’t matter what time of the day or where it is.”

    Federer was unaware of Djokovic’s specific calls for change.

    “I just know it needs to be extremely tough and the punishments need to be severe,” Federer said, “because you want the athletes not to think about, ‘Is it worth it because I’ll get away with it and the punishment will not be so big.’ So I’m just all for anything it takes to catch the bad people.”


    Rafael Nadal backed Troicki.

    “I think that if the person who is there doing the control said, ‘Yes, Viktor, you can to do it tomorrow,’ he did it the next day and everything was fine, I don’t see a case here,” Nadal said after beating Alexandr Dolgopolov in his first match in Shanghai.

    Much like Djokovic, Nadal did not understand the alleged lack of clarity from the doping control officer.

    “If Viktor said, ‘I don’t want to do it today,’ the [doping control officer] had to say, ‘OK, if you don’t do it today, you will be penalized and you will not do it tomorrow,’” Nadal said.


    Well done Federer. I was getting tired of all the players being sympathetic towards Troicki.

    1. Shows you on what end of the spectrum you'll find them.

      Also, sorry, with those Nadal comments, Dickinson/Daily Mail (link above) might have to pick up the pen again and write a correction of that all-too-rosy picture he drew of Nadal being on the forefront of fighting doping. I am afraid,that Fuentes paragraph seriously needs a re-write, Mr. Dickinson and do include the last asinine statement on Troicki as well...

    2. "It seems like only yesterday that players, fans, and the media were extolling the stringency and transparency of the ITF's anti-doping program. What happened? "

      I guess now we know. If the Troicki case is anything to go by, the majority of them aren't really for stringency.

    3. Thanks Icarus Vox.

      I asked the question in another post "where are the quotes from the players asking for more stringent testing?"...... Thank you, Roger. The PR war being waged by some people against anti-doping controls was getting on my nerves.

    4. This quote from Federer:

      But I just think when you get tested, you show up, you do it, you move on. It doesn’t matter what TIME of the day or where it is.”


      Now if only these players can stop complaining about being tested at 6AM.

  20. And as for Nadal's statements, sure we can skip our tests as far as we do them the next day.

  21. Nadal responds to the Daily Mail article about his PRP treatments.

    Excerpt from his pre-tournament Shangai presser:

    Q. In one of today’s English newspapers, there’s a big piece about you, saying how you got fit again and everything. It talks a lot about the use of PRP therapy. It says your team are very comfortable talking about it. Can you just tell us what you think about it and also about these two very special machines that helped you to get fit again.

    RAFAEL NADAL: Well, first of all, nothing what I really used worked great for me.

    Q. The machines, you mean?

    RAFAEL NADAL: Machines. PRP worked unbelievable on my knee before, in 2010, 2009. 2009 I had to pull out of Wimbledon, then I came back, but still I have pain. Just after Monte Carlo I did for the first time in my life the PRP treatment for me knee, but it was on the top of the knee, not down. Worked unbelievable. That injury I had was recovered 100% in very short period of time during the PRP treatment.

    With the injury I have now, I did. I tried lot of times, and it really didn’t help me a lot. The machines I have at home, the only thing that help me is to put me a little bit more fit without have to run or something like this, to make an aggression on the tendon.

    But seriously we didn’t find the key of the recover because I need to keep working hard on finding things that will help me more.

    Q. So you say you didn’t find the key to it. How did you recover? Was it just a combination of many things that you did?

    RAFAEL NADAL: Well, at the end I did a lot of things. We tried to find solutions in every moment. The feeling I say it since I came back the feeling on the knee is not 100% perfect. But the feeling on the knee is very good for me because even if I have pain a lot of days, the pain is not limiting my movements. That’s the most important thing. I am playing with no limitations. I am free when I am playing.

    Even if I have pain, I am able to control that pain something in the past I was not able to control that pain, so I couldn’t play.

    But the feeling is I would like to improve a little bit more. But for the moment, I am happy because I am able to play. Since I came back after the injury, I was able to play all the tournaments I want and with a very good feelings.


    It's interesting to me that he is not really that optimistic about PRP for his latest injury. Also, he doesn't appear to be making any excuses about his knee limiting his play.

    1. "...because I need to keep working hard on finding things that will help me more."

      My guess is he has already found them back in 2005 but won't reveal them to us - for obvious reasons.

      His remarks hint at pain killer abuse. Since he won't admit to what exactly he does to limit the pain when playing, I assume it involves pain killers in some form, a very common thing also in football (soccer).

    2. Does this mean you're actually admitting he has an injury? :)

      > His remarks hint at pain killer abuse.

      Agassi was famous for getting cortisol injections in his back toward the end of his career. It did prolong his career for, I don't know, two or three years? I'm not sure what the cost was to his long-term health or if that would qualify as "abuse".

    3. Nadal's comments are very interesting indeed. First of all, in my opinion, the Daily Mail article was a PR stunt by the Nadal camp, as someone has already pointed out. Also, the "experts" are never mentioned by name. Nevertheless, along comes Nadal and says that the PRP treatment and the "space age" machines, right now, for this long 6-month period of rehab, haven't worked that well and that there's still pain and the knee isn't 100%...Wait a minute, the article has just explained to us why Nadal is playing so well, it's the PRP treatment, the machines, the exercises, the training sessions, his ever-growing strong will. Moreover, Nadal's response to the article mentions that he used PRP treatment in 2010. When exactly ? Because the article states "It was banned by WADA in 2010(...)". Did he use it before Monte Carlo 2010 and afterwards? Anyway, after Nadal's comments we are left with more questions and without knowing the real reasons, the "key", for his performance.

    4. "But the feeling is I would like to improve a little bit more. But for the moment, I am happy because I am able to play. Since I came back after the injury, I was able to play all the tournaments I want and with a very good feelings."

      That sentence might actually make sense if you replaced 'feelings' with 'dopings' lol

    5. @Edu,

      My take was that "haven't worked very well" meant he didn't heal as quickly as he did when he tried PRP with previous injuries. Seven months was I believe his longest absence.

      > he used PRP treatment in 2010. When exactly ? Because the article states "It was banned by WADA in 2010(...)"

      That would indeed be interesting if he admitted to using something at a time it was banned!

    6. @DanM,

      Nadal states: "With the injury I have now, I did. I tried lot of times, and it really didn’t help me a lot." What I take from this is that the PRP didn't help to heal or improve the current injury situation. And he states that everything else didn't help either. So, what did ? The interviewer asks:"So you say you didn’t find the key to it. How did you recover?" And he doesn't answer.

      As for the pain he still feels in his knee, it's a symptom of a physical problem, right? But, if he has a physical problem, how can he be playing so well ?!

    7. @Edu,

      It's possible to have a chronic injury that doesn't affect range or motion or strength. It's not physically limiting. It just hurts. I have a chronic knee injury that works just like this. It can be dormant for long periods of time, then flair up and be quite painful, but I can still play. If the pain gets too severe, though, I can't play because the pain is just too much. I don't think Nadal is lying about having knee problems. This doesn't mean he's not doping, and it's certainly possible he's let that be an excuse for certain loses, but I don't see how he can put the type of forces he puts on his knees without some kind of consequence.

    8. Dan, any top player will tell you about their current injuries, that is the reality of sports. The physical wearing is tremendous in tennis, especially with Nadal's style of play. Yet I never found an athlete who has magic knees like Nadal does.

      My stories go more like this: it hurt badly, could nto take it anymore, I had to stop playing singles and began playing doubles now...

      So, yeah, maybe he does feel pain in his knees, it's likely, like many others do. That's is to some degree part of top level sports.

      I still doubt his particular knee story - meandering through the media at crucial moments in his career to serve a certain purpose. Manifold reasons can be found on this site posted by various posters.

      In the light of his latest statements, strangely contradicting everything Dickinson presented us with, you wonder what secret stuff he possibly found to bag all those wins this year... very ominous.

    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    10. I don't think it's magic at all, I think it's rest. Playing causes the tendons in his knees to become inflamed. Not playing causes the inflammation to recede. The fact that his absences keep getting longer is actually consistent with a chronic condition like tendinitis. Is it possible, once a flare up of tendinitis has healed, to play at your very best level (perhaps aided by PEDs)? I suspect it is because of my own (admittedly less dramatic) experiences.

      Also, he has stated a number of times that he'd like to see the number of hard court tournaments reduced, because he thinks they are harder on a player's body than clay. The immediate reaction to this should be, "Well of course he does! That's his best surface!" But he says he has no illusion this would happen during his career. He's thinking about future generations. If he doesn't feel that hard courts have done him permanent damage, why would he wage this fight?

      I'm totally open to the possibility that he hasn't been entirely honest about every injury he's suffered. The ATP rules make that pretty likely, since you have to claim injury if you want to get out of playing an event. Perhaps Nadal has also used fake injuries as an excuse for losing.

      None of that means he doesn't actually have serious issues with his knees.

    11. As I see it, there are two possibilities. Nadal is a freak of nature, tennis's ultimate warrior. Or he's a doper. I'm leaning towards the latter.

      > I don't think it's magic at all, I think it's rest.

      Just curious, how do you mean rest? Seven months? Was Nadal practising during these months or just sitting around doing nothing? As far as I'm concerned, Nadal's season this year was way more gruelling than anything he faced last year. Let's compare the two seasons:

      1. Nadal in 2013 skipped the Australian Open but played a far more congested first part of the season in 2013 than 2012. He tears through the clay court season in similar fashion, playing more matches than 2012.

      2. Somehow, the knees give in by the time we get to Wimbledon (both seasons). Well technically, only by the time we reach the actual matches that Nadal lost because everything seemed fine before then. Is that because tendonitis somehow limits you more on grass? Going by the way Nadal has been yammering, I thought hard courts were the greater problem.

      There is an obvious difference though. Nadal talks about the knees in 2012. He goes off for 7 months. Nadal looked fine in 2012 when he lost to Rosol, but pretends to be hurt against Darcis. Still doesn't talk about the knees because he isn't planning on a vacation.

      3. Come the hard court season in 2013, Nadal does something unprecedented by going on a tear. Now, how exactly did he rest this time? He must have been resting pretty good mind you because he's played more matches in 2013 during one of the more gruelling parts of the season than ever before. He wins everything in sight and there is no sign of pain or injury.

      So what was the difference in 2012 and 2013? How did he manage his knee?

    12. @Beacon Tripper,

      Three things:

      1. The assumption in your analysis seems to be that the only time he stresses his knee is during tournament matches. What about practice? It seems entirely feasible that the more matches he plays, the less he practices. I don't believe he was that smart earlier in his career, as he was known for practicing an ungodly amount (e.g., simulating 5-set matches in practice), but he has talked a lot in recent years about not practicing as much as he used to.

      2. As usual, the vast majority of his matches were played on clay, which from all accounts is easier on his knees than hard courts. And while grass is softer than concrete, the deeper knee bends required by the low, skidding bounce may actually be the most aggravating. The fact that he played only one match on grass this year (as he lost in the first round at Wimbledon and didn't play his usual tune-up) not only saved him a lot of hours on his most damaging surface, it gave him an extra long break to rest his knees before the summer hard court season.

      3. His summer hard court season was defined by him trying to stand closer to the baseline and end points earlier than in past years. That could potentially allow his knees to last a little longer before the next flareup.

    13. ^^ Fair enough. Your points are valid, but I'm still not buying his story. To me, the knee bend on grass angle and Nadal's supposed aggression are overplayed themes in the media, and I haven't actually watched too much of him play (bored as I am by how he does) to verify.

      Like I said, it just seems more likely to me that something is going on behind the scenes. But you certainly make a good case for Nadal with some reasoned arguments.

    14. I appreciate that and I don't blame anyone for thinking it's more than a little miraculous what he pulled off this year.

    15. Nadal hit a 170kph forehand in his match against Bellocq in Shanghai. He has been wearing knee bandages since 2005. Sorry, but that is not, and never has been, a player with any kind of serious injury - or his career would have been over long ago.

    16. @richard,

      There are certainly arguments to be made that Nadal has made the whole thing up, but how does hitting a hard forehand or wearing a knee bandage prove his knee issues are fake?

    17. They prove that talk of his injuries is irrelevant.

    18. @ Dan

      From all we know about Nadal's past take on doping and his support for anti-doping , or rather blatant lack thereof, so far do you truely feel comfortable to put your trust in someone like that when it comes to make correct statements about absences and all matters injuries?

      Someone who backs Troicki and supports lies and possibly signed that silly petition?

    19. Nadal has claimed knee injuries throughout his career. But it hasn't impeded his performance, as he demonstrated once again yesterday, hitting with ridiculous power and running down every ball - as he does - and nor has it gotten in the way of his results - unless you think he should be sitting on 20 slams already. He must be the most regularly injured no.1 in the history of the sport. Or its biggest pussy. Or a chronic liar. Of course he may well have a pain in his big toe that bothers him from time to time.

    20. > do you truely feel comfortable to put your trust in someone like that when it comes to make correct statements about absences and all matters injuries?


      At least you are making a reasoned argument for your position. You didn't just say, "he hit a really hard forehand today, therefore his knees must be perfect".

      My take: The case for him lying about his injuries seems more complex, convoluted, and riddled with inconsistencies than the case for him actually having a chronic, intermittent knee injury, so I'm inclined to believe that his injury is real.

      Again, I'm not saying he's never lied about an injury (the system actually encourages that), but it really does seem entirely plausible to me that his knees simply can't take extended periods of play without long (and increasing longer) periods of rest.

      I'm not rejecting the possibility that Nadal has been serving increasingly long secret doping suspensions, but given how corrupt the ITF's anti-doping effort appears to be, what do they gain financially by taking one of their biggest money makers out of the game for months at a time?

      Also, does this mean that the PRP treatments really are not successfully masking his PED use? If you're not injured and can't use PRP as an excuse for positive test results, what exactly is the point of him doing PRP? This whole line of reasoning seems to require more hoops to be jumped through than the reasoning that simply says (1) he really has knee tendinitis and (2) he is using or has used PEDs and has gotten away with it.

      One more thing. Clearly, Nadal has put more effort toward making the sport less taxing on the body (with him constantly calling for a reduction in the number of tournaments, particularly on hard courts) than him making the sport cleaner. This is entirely consistent with him genuinely having issues with his body and really worrying about maximizing a professional tennis player's longevity. If he's been doping, then maybe he should be blaming any shortening of his career on that rather than hard courts, but in either case, when someone goes out of their way to be vocal about something, it usually because it's something that touches them personally.

    21. Well, it touches him personally in so far as he would like to see more tournies on is favorite surface clay to keep scoring wins easier than on those "gruelling" hard courts he strangely mastered this season to perfection...

      As for the longevity, he should have put away some cash for retirement already (hope he paid all his taxes too) and if one's body is ailing, for whatever reasons, one should accept the fact that a career can not always go on successful into very old age. It is mostly vanity, adrenaline, attention and comeptetive spirit that make you push beyond that. And in some cases, doping and high end treatments are involved to prolong that longevity.

      So he is acting selfish when he tries to reap the ALL benefits possible and make it even harder for his oponents to score a win/slam.

      I forgot to mention that I have given up believing in or accepting any PR statements from top athletes at face value long time ago, but especially when it comes to things they are pretending to care for coz it ~ touches~ them.

      Look at Djokovic, what he is currently touched by? Something that, according to your logic, he cares for deeply: "truth" and justice for his innocent buddy.
      Yet, having read the ITFs decision, we all know its about the polar opposite: lying and obfuscation of facts.

      Most of that is just that: self serving. Look at Armstrong, the great cancer survivor and humanitarian - using his foundation to whitewash his image. I could go on, but I guess you get the idea.

      I take those statement with a huge grain of salt, especially coming from athletes who are ego-driven for the most part.

      I would also disagree strongly with the following statement

      > Clearly, Nadal has put more effort toward making the sport less taxing on the body

      Now this is truely a case of trusting the cat to keep the cream...
      It is Nadal who put the physicality and aggression back into tennis, like you said, Sampras was a gentle slow giant basically relying on his serve, putting audiences to sleep, but Nadal's punishingl fh, spectacular spin and excellent court coverage / relentless defending was heavily drawing on his extraordinary physicality and endurance. So he in fact did everything to make the sport incredibly taxing on the body - I mean, look at his knees ;)

    22. Serious injuries shorten and usually end careers: Nadal has had chronic knee injuries for 8 years, and shows no signs of slowing, or retiring - unlike any other top sportsman with a similar problem. Knee injuries impede movement: ever seen that with Nadal? Knee injuries - like most joint injuries - are hard to recover from: Nadal has just had one of the best seasons any sportsman could have. Nadal has knee injuries every year but at the same time, since he never misses the clay-court season. Nadal's knee injuries don't get worse every year: they stay about the same, no matter how hard he competes, enabling him to play about the same amount of tournaments every year and at the same level - he actually gets better, as we have just seen. We don't see that he has finally succumbed to a chronic degenerative condition that finally literally stops him in his tracks, or at least requires surgery - which he has never had for his knees. PRP treatment, which is his answer to the problem, has been scientifically documented as little more than a placebo: I am not surprised it has therefore "cured" Nadal in the past - or that he continues to use it, since he doesn't need it for his knees. I have had patella tendonitis, which Nadal claims to have had, and nothing about him persuades me we have suffered from the same ailment. To talk of his so-called "knee injuries" is to buy into his bullshit - because that's what it is.

    23. Well, you focused more on my aside then my main point, but let me clear up one very important aspect of this: Nadal has basically said it's too late for him and his generation. He has said he knows it will take too long for any changes to affect his career but that he was waging this fight on behalf of the next generation.

      Nadal probably deserves a large share of the blame for the wear and tear on his body, but that doesn't mean his point about too many tournaments (regardless of surface) is not valid. Anyway, the only reason I brought this up is that it seems like the type of effort someone would take up if they felt the requirements of the tennis circuit were harder on their body than necessary.

    24. @Richard,

      > Nadal has had chronic knee injuries for 8 years

      You are basically saying since he turned pro, but I don't recall him missing several months in a row until '09. That is when I assume his knee problems became significant.

      > Nadal's knee injuries don't get worse every year: they stay about the same

      But his absences get longer, implying that he needs increasingly more rest for the flare-ups to subside.

      > he actually gets better, as we have just seen

      Yes, because he's becoming more and more an expert at his craft, working on aspects of his game (e.g., learning to play with more aggressive positioning on hard courts).

      > PRP treatment, which is his answer to the problem, has been scientifically documented as little more than a placebo

      As I posted earlier, he said in a Shanghai press conference that PRP didn't help him much with his most recent flare-up.

      > I have had patella tendonitis, which Nadal claims to have had, and nothing about him persuades me we have suffered from the same ailment.

      I have a patella issue with my own knee that is chronic and intermittent but not degenerative. It flares up every two or three years (usually because I don't avoid the things that put pressure on it) and it can last for months. When the inflammation finally recedes, I can play tennis without any limitations. It's almost exactly like what Nadal seems to be going through. So, I'm inclined to believe it.

      If you have experienced the opposite, I can understand why you are not inclined to believe it.

    25. @DanM

      > "You are basically saying since he turned pro, but I don't recall him missing several months in a row until '09. That is when I assume his knee problems became significant."

      In 2005, it seems Nadal took an extended period of tour for an injury. Here's a pretty nice flash presentation (it's outdated now) that chronicles Nadal's injuries and shows how long he took off tour for each one:


      100 Days off
      (2005) Inflammation of the left foot. Absent in the Paris Masters and the Masters Cup The problems of tendinitis in the knees, especially the left, are evident in October at the Madrid Masters. There was a speculation about his retirement, but not only participated in the tournament, he ended up winning it.

      (2006) Support problems in the feet. Inflammation of the left, for a month. Absent in the Australia Open. Retired in Queens against Hewitt. Treatment works. Nadal retained his crown in Paris, remains unbeaten on clay, reached his first Wimbledon final and first-time participant in the Masters Cup in Shanghai, where he falls against Federer in semifinal.

      In 2004, he even had 60 days off.


      Now hopefully that webpage won't just randomly disappear.

    26. @Icarus Vox,

      Thanks, interesting. It looks like he has reported knee problems as far back as 2005, but it still seems to be the case that '09 was the first time they caused him to miss multiple months.

    27. @DanM
      No probs. But according to the timeline I think he missed multiple months in both 2004 and 2005-06.

      2004 (60 days off):
      He suffered an injury in Estoril, a Fissure scaphoid in his left foot. He gave a W/O to Irakli Labadze in Estoril (April) and wasn't seen again till Bastad (July). All together he was out for two months skipping Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Athens in the process.

      Playing activity for '04:

      2005-2006 (100 days off)

      Wins Madrid in October of 2005 (beating Ivan Ljubicic in 5), despite saying he was injured during the tournament. After Madrid, he skips Paris, The Masters Cup and the Australian Open citing injury. He returns on tour at the Marseille tournament in February 2006 (3+ months off)

      Playing activity for '05:

      What's strange is that despite all his time off for alleged injuries, Nadal improved very rapidly from 2004-2005. Just looking at his stats (in terms of titles won, matches W/L, and year end ranking) his improvement from 2004-2005 is pretty frightening.

    28. @Icarus Vox,

      Yes, but he didn't miss several months in a row **due to the knee** until 2009.

    29. I am not saying Nadal's injuries have caused him to take extended breaks since 2005. It should be clear that I don't believe he has, or has had, serious injuries at all. That is not to say that he doesn't have many of the usual aches and pains that even amateur sportsmen, but especially pro's, will succumb to. I don't believe any regularly injured sportsman could play the way he does (especially after injury), and have the kind of career success he has had. Physicality is at the core of his game. If he is playing better it can only be that he is still able to make the extraordinary demands on his body that he does, which involves freakish levels of speed, strength and stamina. I think we need to find some other explanation for his breaks than real injury.

    30. @DanM

      > Yes, but he didn't miss several months in a row **due to the knee** until 2009.

      - (2005) Inflammation of the left foot. Absent in the Paris Masters and the Masters Cup. The problems of tendinitis in the KNEES, especially the left, are evident in October at the Madrid Masters. There was a speculation about his retirement, but not only participated in the tournament, he ended up winning it."

      From what I've read above, knee tendinitis was a part of what sidelined him from Oct - Dec in 2005. (Unless the translation is wrong)

    31. > From what I've read above, knee tendinitis was a part of what sidelined him from Oct - Dec in 2005.

      Okay, I see what you're saying now. I just read it as the knees were bothering him in October only, but you are probably right.

    32. > If he is playing better it can only be that he is still able to make the extraordinary demands on his body that he does


      I'm not misunderstanding you. I know you don't believe he has ever had significant injuries, and I think you make some good points. For the moment, I still believe otherwise because I know from my own experience that it is possible to play at 100% for long periods of time even though I have an underlying problem that flares-up every so often. However, I'm definitely not saying his comebacks couldn't have been aided by PEDs. And I'm also not saying that he's never faked an injury (I think players do it all the time to get out of their commitment to a tournament when they simply want a rest).

    33. @DanM

      You are not a pro player so I doubt that you put your knee through what they would, which includes hours on the practice court as well as 4hr-plus matches, otherwise I doubt you could keep coming back to the game to play at 100% as you say. If Nadal has had serious knee issues (as distinct from minor complaints) I suspect we might be referring to him in the past tennis as a promising player lost to the game through injury, and we would now be speculating on what he might have achieved had he been healthy.

      But we see instead a player who, despite claims of injury in the same affected area over 8 years on the tour, has accumulated 13 slams and could conceivably take out Federer's record of 17. Federer had to be healthy to win his slams, as did Sampras and co before him, when they won their titles. It defies my understanding of professional sport to see a player with apparent injury achieve over the years what Nadal has - and continues to do.

      Nadal may well incur periodic minor injuries, as even recreational sportsmen do, but to my view they can't be serious because I have never seen another top sportsman recover from his kind of complaints, which are always to the same joints, and accomplish what he has. I also believe he has faked or exaggerated injury when he was on the losing end of a match (as with his loss to Murray in the sf of the AO in 2010.) Frankly, seeing how his explanations have varied over time I don't trust anything he says, and I suspect his oft-incurred injury cycles - and cycles they appear to be - have more to do with something else we have long suspected in him.

    34. In the first para "past tennis" should read "past tense". Duh.

    35. @Richard: Fantastic write-ups.

      (as with his loss to Murray in the sf of the AO in 2010.)
      +++I agree wholeheartedly. I was watching that match and Nadal came out of the starting blocks as hungry and agressive as ever (he often reminds me of how Mike Tyson used to start his matches in his prime). Only, Murray had an answer for everything that day and when it was clear Nadal wouldn't come back from a two-set deficit, he threw in the proverbial towel. It was obvious to me back then.

    36. @Richard,

      I agree with @Picassowhat. Thank you for writing up your thoughts in detail. What your saying has definitely put some doubts and questions in my mind I didn't have before.

      A few specific comments:

      > You are not a pro player

      Certainly, but that works both ways. I don't put nearly as much stress on my knees, but I also don't have access to the training and therapies (and who knows what else) as Nadal. Nonetheless, I only mention myself as an example that some injuries respond very well to rest. Given the extensive time-outs Nadal has taken throughout his career, he has had many opportunities to rest.

      > It defies my understanding of professional sport

      Just curious what you would make of Agassi, with his chronic back issues. Admittedly, they became serious only toward the end of his career, but he was able to keep playing at a very high level despite the issues. Eventually, the pain was just too much, and the time between cortisone injections kept getting shorter, but he is an example of a pro tennis player continuing on despite a serious injury. Did he rack up 13 grand slams? No, but he wasn't ever as dominant a player as Nadal, regardless of his health.

      > and I suspect his oft-incurred injury cycles...have more to do with something else we have long suspected in him.

      So, do you explain his long absences as undisclosed doping suspensions or something else?

    37. > (as with his loss to Murray in the sf of the AO in 2010.)

      I'm not sure what this particular example proves. Nadal did not quit in the middle of his loss to Murray in the 2008 US Open SF, nor claim injury afterward as far as I call tell, so I'm not sure why he would go as far as quit mid-match against the same opponent in an equally critical grand slam match to "save face". I think it's plausible that he was genuinely worried about exacerbating the damage to his knee.

      Another anecdote would be his 2011 AO QF loss to Ferrer. In this case, he got treatment on his left thigh in the middle of the first set, but he finished out the match. I have to assume this was a real injury because it was way too early in a match to fake injury in order to have an excuse for losing.

      (Also, minor correction: the 2010 AO match was a QF.)

    38. It's also worth noting that Nadal had treatment on his left thigh, but it was shown afterwards to actually be a rupture of his right groin muscle.

    39. @Adam,

      From what I can find, the tear actually was to the left side, but Dr. Cotorro's original diagnosis was mistranslated into English. Apparently, the Spanish press reported the injury correctly as "ruptura fibrilar en el adductor mayor de la pierna izquierda". Izquierda = left.


    40. Just to clarify, I should have said: mistranslated to English on Rafa's website, which many other sources quoted, leading to much confusion.

    41. @DanM

      I think the match against Ferrer at the AO was also a tank. He fought like hell for 20 mins and I think he realised he wasn't going to outlast Ferrer that day. So he claims an injury - and stays on court for another couple of hours! As the great Pancho Segura told Jimmy Connors, if you are on court you aren't injured. You sure as hell can't run down balls with an adductor injury (which I have also had) as the damage can be catastrophic, but Nadal periodically ran after balls as though nothing had happened. No, I think there are matches where Nadal knows he is on the losing end that day and he uses minor or faked injury to bail. Even if he doesn't claim injury at the time you can bet that after an embarrassing loss the comments start circulating from his camp sooner or later that he was "injured". (By the way, after the so-called adductor injury he was back on court in a very short period of time - same for his knee injury against Murray. Miracle powers of recovery, but as far as I am aware he has the same muscles and tendons as any other human being, and has access to no more special medical advances than anyone else.)

      Like many I have wondered what the hell is going on with his many injuries. My conclusion, judging from his results and his ability to recover and play even better is that he was never really injured. I think Pancho Segura would have agreed. PRP is no miracle cure. I have friends who have used it for knee tendonitis. It may help; it may not. It essentially uses the body's blood supply to aid recovery. Medically that's no big deal. James Blake tried it a few years ago - he was off the tour for months - and the results were at best inconclusive.

      A clue is in recent media articles suggesting that PRP has a side effect of boosting of human growth hormone in the body, and that is the reason for Nadal's remarkable come-back. Well, no one I know has shown the effects of performance enhancing drugs (which is what hgh is) as a result of their using PRP. My pick is that Nadal uses injury treatments as a way of introducing ped's into his system for which he would likely obtain the use of a therapeutic use exemption: he might test positive for hgh but it's ok because he has a TUE for it. Hence he "recovers" completely from his so-called injuries and performs even better following his injury - unlike any genuinely injured athlete. I wouldn't know the detail of what he does but I am betting that his injuries are somehow linked to doping practices; it fits better than accepting he has a physiology unlike any other human being on the planet.

      You mention Agassi playing despite serious injury later in his career. Well, the injury eventually got him, but his remarkable renaissance after age 30 may also have had something to do with those special concoctions he said his trainer Gil Reyes produced for him.

      Last point, if you as a recreational player have a persistent injury issue you can obtain the same medical advice, that includes specialists, as would be available to professional athletes. What you won't necessarily get is the same drugs - but there is another reason for that.

    42. If I might sum up how I see it: all players have injuries. If the injuries are minor they play through it, or take a short break. If it's serious, it's serious - and they are off the tour for some time. Their career might be over. If they come back it can take some time to regain form.

      I have no doubt that Nadal, like any other player, would have his share of aches and pains - minor injuries. What I have yet to see evidence of is serious injury; he usually takes very little time off (last year excepted) and always returns stronger than before. Any athlete injured as often as he says he is, and as seriously, would have broken down irreparably years ago.

      But minor injuries can serve a useful purpose: he can take medical treatment for which he can obtain a TUE for a ped: he comes back "bigger, faster and stronger". And minor injuries can also be a useful excuse for a poor sport who needs an excuse to lose, for whom - as I suspect - winning is absolutely everything.

    43. @richard,

      Thanks. If my sum up my thought as well...

      I see Nadal's injuries following into three categories: (1) completely made up, (2) exaggerated, and (3) genuine. Perhaps more have been in category 1 and 2 than I would have thought, but I still believe some have been genuine.

      Given his style of play and the forces his knees endure, it's certainly likely his knees aren't perfect, but I'll grant you that perhaps they are not as bad as he makes them out to be.

      It does seem strange to me that he would voluntarily take such long breaks from the tour, missing grand slams in the process, if he's not really injured, but given the wackiness of the ITF, it's not impossible to imagine that he's been serving secret doping suspensions. If that's the case, however, it calls into question the PRP-TUE argument.

      All in all, I'd say the case against Nadal is not quite air-tight, but suspicion is more than warranted.

    44. The case against Nadal depends on much more than dubious injuries, but I am sure they are part of the picture. There is so much about the guy that doesn't really fit.

      To me the latter part of 2009 revealed what Nadal was when he was without physical advantage over other players. He was highly beatable. Mats Wilander remarked that his game was essentially the same as before but lacked its previous speed and power. He was smaller. And that's the key to Nadal - he has to be faster, fitter and stronger than his rivals; without those advantages he can be outplayed by shotmakers - as we regularly saw at the end of 2009 (when I happen to believe that for whatever reason he was off the ped's.) He is undoubtedly a highly talented player, who always chooses the rights shots for his game, but without physical superiority he falls back into the pack - as we so often see in the later part of the year, when he routinely loses to guys called Mayer or Dodig (who??) I believe the guy has built a career on doping. Like Lance.

    45. @ Richard

      Nice summary, I'll cosign that!

    46. @Richard

      Crystal clear insight yet again. Thanks for taking the time to post.

  22. If anyone's in the mood to feel nauseated............ This is from BBC Radio 4's Four Thought, broadcast today....

    "Paul Dimeo argues that drugs made modern sport what it is today, and that we ought to take a more sympathetic view of those athletes whose will to win takes them outside the rules of the game.
    Paul believes the entire Olympic movement was saved by the drug-fuelled rivalry between the United States, Soviet Union and East Germany, and makes the case that drugs dramatically enliven sport as a spectacle and as a talking point."

    Mr Dimeo is a senior lecturer, in the Department of Sports Studies at the University of Stirling, in Scotland

    It's ironic that his name starts with "D-I-M"....

    He argues that doping saved the Olympics, Armstrong really didn't do anything wrong, and Marion Jones and Ben Johnson were just fighting for their families and their countries.......LOL

    1. What is he on?

      What a dimwit, indeed.

      UoStirling = maybe Troicki could get a degree there, now that he will have planty of time...

    2. At least the truth finally comes out. This is what every athlete that dopes thinks -- that they are just giving the public what they want and "saving" the sport. Armstrong is glad he doped, just upset he got caught.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.


    "In a counter appeal, the International Tennis Federation has challenged the Cilic verdict of its own independent tribunal, Reeb said.

    The ITF seeks a two-year ban for the Croatian player's positive test for a banned stimulant, nikethamide, at a tournament in Munich in May"

    - The ITF are pushing for a two year ban. Pretty funny considering that if the news of Cilic's positive hadn't been leaked by the Croatian media, they would have most probably let Cilic quietly nurse his false injuries for 9 months.

    1. Funny they don't trust their own tribunals decision.

      Maybe they don't like Troicki organizing a revolution with the help of his buddy and acting up publicly - bad PR rubbing them the wrong way. Too much negative attention and public discussion - ITF likes to keep the cover on those matters.

      Glad Croatian media is notoriously indiscreet and leaked the story.

    2. "In a counter appeal, the International Tennis Federation has challenged the Cilic verdict of its own independent tribunal, Reeb said. The ITF seeks a two-year ban for the Croatian player's positive test for a banned stimulant, nikethamide, at a tournament in Munich in May."

      wtf???? Epic.

      I get that they are fessing-up that, by the rules, the ban should have been 2 years, regardless of how foolish Cilic allegedly was, but........

      .... Troicki refused a doping test, and they're fine with a reduced 18 month ban for him? #confused

    3. I don't know if the ITF had a counter appeal in Troicki's case, but I doubt it as Miller already has plans to change some aspects of Tennis' anti-doping rules.

      Honestly, the whole situation with the ITF, Cilic and Troicki is a complete mess. The ITF are trying their hardest to make themselves look good, but are failing terribly.

      Though I wonder, if CAS does end up increasing Cilic's ban, will he try and save himself by turning into a snitch? *gasp*

  25. < In January 2011, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed intramuscular injections of PRP from its prohibitions after determining that there is a "lack of any current evidence concerning the use of these methods for purposes of performance enhancement".> :P

  26. watching the fed-monfils match, i can't help but notice how monfils has considerably lost some muscle. he looks almost frail even. could it be a withdrawal from some PEDs? monfils of old is miles apart from how he looks today where i was sure he was doping

    on another note, fed seems to sweat more profusely now really. and i'm not so sure age has anything to do with this sudden change or the tournament location for that matter. now i know you'd hate him being remotely mentioned in this site (disclaimer: i am a big fan of his), but it's something that should look upon)

    1. Armstrong was skinny, so is Cilic. Not doping? How about Djokovic?

      Sweating suggests doping? Let's include towelling off, too. Or breathing.

    2. if you dared try to understand, i was comparing both to their past states -_- muscular to a little thin, no sweat to soaking. i'm not here to present these as definitive proofs, but just trying to say it's peculiar

    3. "now i know you'd hate him being remotely mentioned in this site (disclaimer: i am a big fan of his), but it's something that should look upon)"

      - Anyone can and should be discussed. Also if his sweating is a by product of doping, then he needs to ask for a refund ASAP because his drugs aren't helping him slow down his decline.

    4. actually, i was leaning on, he may not be taking it now hence the sweating. i don't know, it's just odd to me how up untill WTF last year, where we never really see him soaked in sweat, now, since the AO, he's been sweating like crazy. on whatever surface. i'm just genuinely curious. you'd have to admit, it is odd

    5. The dangers of seeing evidence of doping in everything - or in any single thing.

    6. well, since the premise of most people here regarding their suspects is intense scrutiny on physical appearance, endurance (and sudden changes in those) and actual results, i don't know how you see this as petty while i've never seen you react the same on our more popular suspects. And what are the dangers exactly?

      look, if you cannot answer about the reasons then don't. all i'm asking is for someone knowledgeable enough to maybe give me some explanation. i don't mean to take this as a definitive sign of doping, bu doping may be one of the explanations. but if you answer with nothing but that dismissive, nonsensical stuff your writing, better ignore this.

      that is one of the reasons this site ain't exactly gaining many friends

    7. Hero, may I suggest an explanation: humidity, around 82 % currently.

      Also visible in Beijing.

      Yes, we do observe changes in physical appearance and look for possible explanations, among them doping. SOme manage to present this as a hypothesis or an option, others simply claim its fact and jump to conclusions. As you see not all act similar here and the more voices we have here, the better the debate gets.

      That said, don't withdraw, keep posting your observations and let us discuss them mutually. In any case, we need to gather them here and put the many puzzle pieces together - that's the effort.

    8. "Hero, may I suggest an explanation: humidity, around 82 % currently"

      Forgot to research this one myself. If I remember correctly, a group of friends who were invited to do research in China mentioned that pretty much everything is air conditioned, precisely because of the humidity. And change of clothes isn't that uncommon.

    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    10. it's not just shanghai though. if i remember correctly, he has been sweating like this since rome. now, if humidity was the reason for all other tournaments since then then i guess that answers it. but for the record, i'm not seeing the same profuse sweating from other players, including monfils. thanks for the replies

    11. @ hero

      Check this out:

      Shanghai has no roof - airconditioning impossible.

      Beyond that, I cosign Carlos statement below (have no sweaty feet though)

  27. Monfils had been suffering from a lot of "injuries." I put injuries in quotations because I am not sure if they are real, or simply "silent bans." Anyhow, I wonder if he simply slimmed down for longevity of the knees, prevent injuries, etc. Nadal and Tsonga had slimmed down before, as I am sure other players did as well. Either way, Monfils physique has always been rather slim.

    Regarding Federer, maybe its an age thing? I too brought up him sweating before, simply as a comment, and that caused quite a stir. Since then, it did occur to me that it could be simply be explained by age. Shanghai is only around 80 degrees top, not that hot really.

    1. That's the thing, is 1 yr age difference, 32 yrs of age (quite young really), a legitimate reasoning? if it is, well and good, if not, then what is it?

      on the other hand, Nadal has been sweating profusely since a decade ago, and i have no doubt he's the biggest doper of all. so yeah, just really confused on human physiology

    2. The thing with Nadal is he has always sweated profusely, its only noteworthy if he STOPS sweating. Come on, we all know people who sweat profusely and people who hardly break a sweat. I, for example, have particularly sweaty feet, regardless of if I'm running or not. So you can imagine the preparations and precautions I have to take when I run long distances. Blisters being the most common ailment.

      I think the sweating observation should stay that, a simple observation, not an indictment of wether a player has stopped or started doping.

    3. Let's not get into a sweat over it.

    4. This should settle it, Nadal on humidity & shirt changes:

  28. What are the exact odds of once in a twenty year tennis career ingesting Clenbuterol (1 day out of 7,300) occuring at the exact same week you have your once a year blood-test (one in 52)?

  29. Even the Spanish press admit that there is something very rotten in Spanish sport.

    1. The best bits:

      The case began on December 13 when Xavier Tondo, a cyclist in the Movistar team who died in an accident at his home in 2011, met with a judge to tell her that he had been offered EPO and other substances via Facebook. The judge began an investigation, and regional police in Catalonia discovered that a drugstore in Andorra was sending drugs via a messenger service to destinations in Spain and Portugal; most of the recipients were athletes or involved in the sports world. Most were either amateurs or second-tier competitors."

      So the lessers in Spain get their stuff through facebook/Andorra. Interesting distribution, where do the top athletes get it, I wonder?

      "The police continued to look for the intermediaries between an Andorra drugstore that has sent out more than 500 packages of drugs between January 2010 and March 2011. Around 40 percent went to athletes, trainers and others involved in sport in Spain and Portugal."

      "Llobet's statements were part of yet another criminal investigation into doping in Spanish sport - one which, like all those before it, has come to little. In July, the CEDD national sports disciplinary committee overruled the sanction handed down to Llobet and four other athletes. The case has angered the government, and Ana Muñoz, until Friday the head of the country's anti-doping agency, has described the decision as "unacceptable."

      Well, Munoz stepped down, maybe she was frustrated by those overrules? Again, Spains drug testing/WADA compliance is still shady leave much to be desired - as a result Madrid did not get the Olympics bid.

      "The list of recipients is long. The regional police have said that being on the list itself is not necessarily proof of having received banned substances, because nobody knows what was in the packages. "

      So while they go after the names on that rather longish list, they might want to look at Fuentes clients and get hold of the bloodbags, no?

      If I were a (clean) Spanish athlete, (I am not, I know) I would get involved and speak out publically. don't you think?

  30. Off topic: There's a book coming out revealing what Sheryl Crow knew about Armstrong's doping. Apparently, he was open to her about it & did transfusion in front of her.
    “Rather than try to hide the transfusion from her, Armstrong was completely open about it,” the book says, according to the NYDN. “He trusted that Crow would have no desire to tell the press or anyone else about the team's doping program. He explained that it was simply part of the sport — that all cyclists were doing the same thing.”

    According to Albergotti and O’Connell, Crow only revealed that information to FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky after Novitzky promised her a proffer agreement, which protected Crow from any criminal prosecution in connection with the case.

    Now, if only some girlfriend of a top tennis player or anyone who knows anything about dopers in tennis would come out & reveal all---wouldn't that be nice?

    Glad the Spanish press is getting on board to expose the rot. Hoping that the appeal of destroying Fuentes blood bags by several doping agencies goes in our favor. That could expose a lot of Spanish players.

  31. Really? Do my eyes deceive me? Delpo took out Nadal easily. Haven't seen the match yet, so can't comment why. But me thinks we'll be hearing quite a bit about the knees,

    1. As someone on anther string put it, "Nadal obviously needed is his vitamin supplements". Delpo almost got Nadal in Indian Wells. He was up a set and a break and faded. It was 100 degrees and they were playing in the broiling sun. Delpo wilted in the heat but Nadal did not..that was March and Nadal was just off of his "vacation"

  32. Nadal looked pretty juiced, apparently he had the intention to win this tourney. However, it was also apparent to me that Delpo was on the juice as well. The Argentinian has many controversial moments in his career - super tournaments, followed by ridiculous losses.. Well, today he was brilliant, so powerful and confident.. Amazing performance by Delpo!

  33. Wow, Federer quit with Annacone - didn't see that coming.

    Otoh, 13 losses already and no final at a slam this season - maybe time to get some fresh air and new ideas?

  34. I don't know if this was already posted here:

    AICAR, the new magic potion
    Build muscle and burn fat without any effort, is the incredible feature of this molecule. Clearly, training ended in the rain, wind and cold! Just absorb this magic potion and your physical abilities are increased tenfold.
    All sports require some endurance may be involved. For the runner, cyclist, but also tennis, or football, this molecule has all the attributes of a miracle product. First doping cases have been revealed in cycling. The sulfur sports doctor Colombian Alberto Beltran, for example, had been arrested last year with AICAR in his luggage.
    Advances in medicine have the right, but there is also a downside. Whether in cycling, football, tennis, swimming, athletics, or other sports, the temptation to cheat through illicit products has always been present.
    Two years after the work done by Professor Evans, the AMA has questioned the physical appearance of some top athletes, especially in the same period, some athletes have suddenly changed their diet and lost weight. In 2011, the fashion of "gluten free" was born...Novak Djokovic had expressed his allergy to gluten. The now world No.1 has quickly followers of this diet, starting with his countrymen, Janko Tipsarevic and Ana Ivanovic, but also Germany's Sabine Lisicki, who is also a passion for this scheme. Will he link this weight loss and this new molecule?


    YouTube video explaining the use of AICAR/GW1516:
    “Like 20 years ago, when EPO arrived, the spectres of a new miracle product hang over the athletes. Some sportsmen suddenly get over to the next level, becoming number 1. Cycling, tennis, running, all the endurance sports are potentially concerned” – I’m not sure Miller would agree.

    “This new champions justify their sudden progressions by a significant weight loss of weight, due to a new lifestyle, a crash diet or a gluten-free diet”


    First reports that AICAR may be in use by athletes came in 2009, but still there isn't a test for it. Also interesting is that in the video they calculate that to get on the AICAR/GW1516 “program”, an athlete would have to pay at least $65,000 a month; suggesting that it’s truly only for the elite. So what are the chances that top tennis players (with all they earn) maybe using these drugs? Pretty high I’d think.

    Well it beats refusing to take a test or testing positive for Nikethamide, wouldn't you say?

    1. I researched the AICAR / PPAR-delta combo a while ago, and was struck that the peer-reviewed science remains opaque. By this, I mean there is so much that's poorly understood about these agents, especially in vivo (ie in living humans). Published evidence is severely lacking. However, that doesn't mean they are not performance enhancing, and athletes putatively using these agents may have more experience than the medical profession.

      A New England Journal of Medicine editorial highlighted these agents in 2008 (NEJM is among the worlds most impactful medical journals), and this fueled considerable interest. It focused on some impressive mouse studies, where endurance was significantly augmented by these agents. That said, mice aren't humans........

      There are human studies for acadesine (AICAR), that document some mild -to-moderate toxicities with short term administration. However, results with respect to efficacy are inconsistent, at best (mainly relating to results of cardiac revascularization surgery).

      The scariest thing about that video is that the AICAR they purchased online is actually the real deal.....

  35. Mr Djokovic, it's never "OK" to put off the provision of blood or urine samples. Your arguments that your good friend is a victim of both incompetence AND conspiracy is nothing but a diversion. There are good reasons why a blood or urine sample must be provided in a timely manner.

    “There’s a list of things we have to keep an eye on and one of these is the continuing development of designer drugs and the other is that people are using smaller doses."

    “In some cases these smaller doses can be undetectable in three, four or five hours and just give a little edge to the athlete."

    - WADA director general David Howman

    1. What is with people named "Miller" when it comes to anti-doping? The Jamaican PM is named "Simpson-Miller," and is about half as ludicrous as Stuart Miller, so there must be something with that name:

      "Jamaica’s prime minister Portia Simpson-Miller had contacted WADA and provided reassurances but after Howman asked to visit on October 15 and 16, he was told JADCO could not accommodate him until next year."

      Guess it takes a long time to destroy all those old samples so that WADA can't verify they were tested properly.

    2. @ michlob
      Howman's quote comes to show what small time windows we are talking about here.

      Any fan who feels it's alright that Troicki gave a sample the next morning should take note!


      That was pure comedy gold... I mean,Jamaica...some truely fierce motherfuckers when it comes to handle those pain-in-the-arse folks from WADA...

      ITF's Miller can learn a thing or two from Jamaica when it comes to get WADA off their backs ;)

      I am sure Miller can relate to below quotes provided by the former head of the JADCO, the Jamaican NADO. She had to resign, undertsandably, for she was too eager-beaver catching them cheats and therefore rightly named not Miller, but Shirley:

      >Now, in an interview with Telegraph Sport, Shirley has added to her criticisms of Jamaica’s anti-doping measures by claiming that blood-testing kits that were delivered during her tenure at JADCO have never been used.>

      Also this bit shows you how critcism is handled in some NADOs:

      >Herb Elliot, the JADCO chairman, has previously questioned the accuracy of her (=Shirley's) claims and described her as “demented” and “a Judas”. He was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. >

      Also in terms of leniency when it comes to sanctioning this is quite an eye-opener:

      >Jamaican international footballer Jermaine Hue was banned for nine months last month for testing positive for a steroid, while Powell and Simpson, who deny knowingly taking any stimulants, and three-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown were among six track and field athletes who failed tests.
      Campbell-Brown was handed only a public reprimand by her Jamaican disciplinary panel earlier this month, though the IAAF’s doping review panel is due to meet in the coming days to consider whether to appeal. >

      More so the Asafa Powell case (together with 7 athletes who got caught this year) is currently pending:

      >My concern is that the staff is not in place to do this job and nobody is addressing this issue. This process must be managed and cases have to be put together with witness statements.
      “In Jamaica, we can’t afford for people to get off on a technicality because there was some breach in the processing of the paperwork.”
      She added: “The Asafa Powell situation is also compounded by the criminal investigation that was going on in Italy. The details of the case are going to have to come forward and it’s going to have to be rigorously handled.
      “On the legal side, JADCO is going to have to present a case – what was found, all the details – and it needs to stand scrutiny in the eyes of the world because everybody’s going to be watching.”

      >Asked whether she believed Powell could escape with a lenient sanction or even no punishment at all if JADCO failed to present a proper case, Shirley said: “Let me put it this way. Starting with Veronica Campbell-Brown, I’m waiting with interest to see what the technical committee at the IAAF has to say about her being given a warning.

  36. "Rafael Nadal says he won't play at next week's Swiss Indoors because he's exhausted and needs to regain his strength."

    Apparently he has to "regroup his fitness and his body."

    1. Tired? Was he turning the centrifuge by hand?

    2. His goal is the WTF... not surprising that he needs to "recuperate" right now. Several here called it, I think.

    3. regroup?

      That's another euphemism for bloodspinning, right?

  37. Ferrer's record in matches that go longer than straight sets is very striking.......This year, apart from going up against Nadal (cough, cough), he's won 85% of the time! (22 of 27 matches).......

    This starkly illustrates how much this 31 year olds success is built on being substantially fitter than his younger opponents........ TennisVal must have some great training techniques!

    20M in on-court earnings, and counting, for Mr Ferrer....

  38. WADA to call for 4 year ban for first doping offence......

    I say bring it on............

    1. Certainly a 4 year ban for doping is appropriate in certain cases. However, WADA also needs to modify its exclusions and reasons for sentence reductions.

      First, I don't think a 4 year ban for a wheelchair player who smoked some pot to relieve pain a day or two prior to a match should be subject to a 4 year ban. So some thought needs to be put into sentences for "recreational" drugs. The problem is that some are also performance enhancing. In any case, even for cocaine use, I would not support a 4 year ban.

      Second, reasonable bans for "dual use" drugs needs to be in place. By "dual use," I mean drugs which have a major function other than performance enhancement. Cocaine would be a "dual use" drug as it is primarily a recreational drug, though it also can be used for performance enhancement. Testosterone would not be. Although testosterone has medical uses, all of these uses primarily relate to some type of performance enhancement. EPO would also not be "dual use," while certain amphetamines used in various cold medicines would be "dual use."

      The main problem is that when you have a 4 year ban for everything, then tribunals come up with all sorts of weird reasoning to reduce a sentence. Read the Cilic decision. They say, "well, Cilic is honest, even though he lies, and he didn't intend to take the drug even though the exact name of the drug is printed in big bold letters on the front of the package, and he wasn't really at fault for not reading the giant warning label in the side of the package, because he doesn't speak french, but somehow can complete complex real estate transactions in France because he owns property there." It just doesn't make sense. What they really wanted to say is, "Coramine is a problem, but not a huge one. Two years is too much, but 9 months sounds good." However, there is nothing in the code that allows them to say that. Instead, they engage in semantic gymnastics regarding "substantial fault" and "negligence."

    2. Why should Coramine doping be regarded as less serious than other peds and thus warrant a less than four (or two) years ban?

      With Coramine, you either use it for its limited medical indications or you are doping. There's no equivocation with Coramine. Cilic was presumably using it out of competition for its short term endurance effect but failed to calculate his glow time accurately and thus got popped. That's a ten times more likely hypothesis than the convenient cascade of excuses and inchoate explanations swallowed by the ITF and its anti-doping tribunal. Where was the convincing evidence that he'd only ever used a single packet? Both the ITF's investigation and its doping tribunal appear to have conveniently dodged this issue as Cilic was not pressed on his legal obligation to prove this aspect of his case. Why not? Dopers are by definition crafty and thus use circular routes to obtain their supplies. Here we see Cilic presented upfront as an "honest and truthful" man and it is thus presumed he wouldn't resort to this level of subterfuge.

      The Cilic case demonstrates, by the limited extent to which the ITF investigates and prosecutes its cases, the unsatisfactory state of anti-doping. It also shows failure on a tribunal's part to recognise and acknowledge aberrant human behaviour for what it is and to forcibly apply the rules. This is a good example of anti-doping in denial. Time and again, dopers like Cilic are allowed to get off. Another is the runner Campbell-Brown who fails a test but escapes with a caution.

      The jokers and court jesters are still at large running the anti-doping show.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Although I advocated for longer bans, I should preface that by saying it will likely not scare the big fish. They are resourced enough to know that if they dope cleverly, they won't get caught. But it could deter some of the younger, lower ranked players. Much longer sample storage might do the same.

      To really tackle this cancer, you need to go after the suppliers. This would take commitment from governments, including the police, and the judiciary, as well as drug enforcement, customs and tax departments. International cooperation would also be essential.

      I realize this is probably a pipe-dream, but sport is the worlds favorite past-time, it's a huge industry, and athlete safety is potentially at stake. Ergo, I see no reason why governments would not be amenable to a more proactive approach.

    5. John Hoberman from Austin, Texas of all places has written extensively on the strategic issues you paint and is well worth a read. Living in an age where medical redemption is open to all, as well as athletes who seek fame and fortune, and where states and their citizens don't look too deeply as long as the gold medals flood in, Hoberman explains in more detailed terms why the vision you describe is likely to remain a pipedream unless our fundamental attitude to sporting performance is changed. For the time being, doping remains accepted and tolerated.

    6. Why should Coramine doping be regarded as less serious than other peds and thus warrant a less than four (or two) years ban?

      (1) It has uses other than improving sport performance, (2) It is available over-the-counter without a prescription, (3) any improved performance is of very short duration, (4) its effects are similar to non-banned drugs such as caffeine, (5) it is legal to use for training and any time out-of-competition, and (6) it allows worthless anti-doping agencies to tout their effectiveness by catching "small fish."

      I just put it in a completely different category than EPO and testosterone -- both of which require medical prescriptions, would never be accidentally taken, and have long term and significant performance enhancing effects.

      Just ask yourself, do you want to ban athletes for four years because they took Jack3d? (Jack3d does not contain Coramine but a different banned stimulant.) If you answer yes, then you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but you are not likely to get support from many athletes that fear supplement contamination, or simply being careless. You are not going to carelessly inject yourself with testosterone. You might buy a supplement over-the-counter and not check every single ingredient. Athletes that support a clean sport will be far more likely to support comprehensive doping testing if they feel it is going after "hard core" users and not people taking Jack3d or smoking a joint on the weekend.

      In any case, I just noticed that the Wikipedia article notes: "In 2005, however, WADA downgraded nikethamide so that one would only receive a maximum one-year ban." While this is no longer the case, it apparently was prior to 2009. ( I don't think there was a Coramine epidemic is sports from 2005 to 2009. See also for another drug that has been off and on the list over the years.

  39. Nobody impressed by Simona Halep's sudden ascension in the rankings? She went from being titleless and irrelevant to winning 5 titles in one season, beating players she has never beaten. I don't want to doubt her but I have to, just like I doubt Errani and Kirilenko. Can't believe these "improvement" stories anymore.

    1. Her ascension isn't really that sudden. Her ranking has climbed fairly steadily since the beginning of her career. She was always considered a talented player (won junior Roland Garros in 2008). Furthermore, her game is not the typical doper's game. She hits a clean ball, has plenty of feel and plays a smart game. One of the less suspicious players in my opinion.

    2. She had breast reduction surgery a couple of years ago (2009) specifically to improve her performance. So, she has already admitted that she will do "what ever it takes" to succeed.

      As a note, the breast reduction did result in a significant improvement in her rankings by 450 places. ( Stuart Miller is still trying to explain how a reduction in breast size makes a player more skilled.

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  41. Women's tour championships photo line-up... not too often that you get to see the women side-by-side in one photo....

    1. Needs less eyeliner... racoon-eyes all-around...

  42. I found this pretty remarkable quote by Armstrong which holds true for other sports as well:

    >As Lance once told me – because we had a conversation prior to Oprah when he was pondering how to come forward and I said, not nudging him: "Why don't you just keep doing what you always do and fight?" He said "Well, the lie is no longer believable." So there had come a moment when the lie was no longer believable.

    It's from a pretty interesting interview that Kimmage did with documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (We Steal Secrets) on his Armstrong documentary, initially to be released in 2010, but once Landis revealed all, it became invalid for it mostly focused on Armstrong's comeback (entitled The Road Back) while conveniently ignoring the doping accusations. Naturally, it got shelved - but Gibney re-worked it and suddenly it became : The Armstrong Lie.

    I did like We Steal Secrets a lot, but with this project, it seems like Gibney was jumping the bandwagon for too long by joining the Armstrong camp and got burned for that. Still, he had some interesting footage on hand and instead turned it into an anatomy of a lie... it might be worth watching afterall.

    Gibney describes his initial interest in Armstrong as follows: "I was interested in his will, (...) both for the purest reasons and for the dark side of that will – that is to say that he might be a person that would do anything to win."

    There are many of that kind in sports, no?

    1. Good piece by Julia Macur, NYTimes asking whatever happened to the other drug cheats/helpers incriminated by the USADA investigation 12 months after the decision came out.

      Macur wonders if more cheats and helpers will get their court time as a result of the investigation, however, Travis Tygart mentions only a few more pending cases..

      >But now, 12 months later, none of those doping investigations have turned into official cases that punished people for breaking the rules. Tygart said that some were still in the works — he would not give details about open cases — but that others would not go anywhere because the evidence was so flimsy that it “won’t stand up in court.”

      Macur brings up the damning example of Chris Horner, a 41 year old cyclist whose name was dropped during the investigation from various witnesses, but the USADA never followed up to that or busted him.
      And now, boom, all of a sudden he wins a prestigeous cycling event in Spain, the Vuelta, in the rather old age of 41...he was also violently defending Armstrong and going after Hincapie after he decided to come clean.

    2. Julia Macur was included in the Law School Q+A, featuring Lance's lawyers, which I linked to, a while ago. She was impressive in that forum, as were the other journalists there. Kudos to her. She has done good work in the anti-doping field.

  43. But wait, what if the AD official indeed made the error and she is trying to cover her"clear" 15 years record, what if Djokovic was right and what if the appeal at early November gets Troicki's suspension removed or lowered? Would many of you hard core haters here simply say " I am sorry"? Well, November is just around the corner, let's wait and see what the arguments and decisions are made. Just saying ...

  44. But wait, what if the AD official made an error indeed (and just covering up her mistake now), what if Djokovic was right and what if Troicki's suspension gets lifted or lowered at early November appeal? Would those with hard words above, simply admit anything and say : "I am sorry for being a hater"? Well, November is just around corner, let's check their decision then...