Thursday, October 31, 2013

Stuart Miller: "It’s up to them to say..."

Ben Rothenberg at the New York Times interviewed the ITF's anti-doping manager Stuart Miller. Here is the key text:
“If a player withdraws due to an antidoping rule violation charge, it’s up to them to say what they want to say about that,” Miller said. “And, of course, if it subsequently comes out that the reason for doing so may not have been the real reason, or the complete reason, then it’s up to the player to explain why he or she did what he or she did.”

Miller said the federation had drawn a “line in the sand” about disclosing an infraction only after the tribunal had ruled it to be a violation worthy of punishment.

“It says if and when there is a violation, then you must publicly disclose it,” Miller said. “That’s all it says. There’s nothing else that is mandatory in terms of public disclosure.”
I'd like Miller to give a full explanation for the "line in the sand" the ITF has decided to draw.


  1. No wonder Stuart Miller is so soft on doping, it seems like he is smoking some pretty potent weed every time he talks -- nothing makes any sense.

    Where did this "line in the sand" come from? Who made the decision? Who can change it?

    Also, since Cilic had admitted the doping violation, it would be impossible for the tribunal to rule that none took place. It was simply impossible for the fact to never come out -- so why not disclose it? Or yeah, because there is some sand somewhere that has a line in it.

  2. I think Mr. Miller is as accurate in using the metaphor of the "line in the sand" as any poet has ever been (albeit unbeknownst to himself, in a kind of Freudian-slip fashion) : Sand being the shiftiest of all grounds, what can the poor line do, but shift along and/or disappear?

    1. I was just going to point out the same :)

      He might as well use etch-a-sketch...

      Pretty telling, I mean, how more obvious can he be?

      The entire ITF seems to be living in one giant soft sandcatstle, especially in handling anti-doping nothing seems fixed and solid...

      This is pretty much a confession of failure right there.

  3. Sorry to come in off-topic but if there is one thing that rankles as much as the weasel-words of tennis administrators like Stuart Miller it is the on-court absurdities that reek of doping. With Djokovic disposing of Wawrinka in the Paris qf''s we can see the same factor that stands out more than any other in the modern game, and that is defense that defies belief. It didn't matter how hard Wawrinka hit the ball in this match - and he was absolutely crushing it - he couldn't get it away from the Serb. We first saw defense like this with Nadal but others have since joined the ranks of the "human backboard" style - notably Djokovic of course, Ferrer, and Murray. All tireless. We were once told by the commentators that Nadal - the first of the mold - was a "physical freak". Now more and more of the top players conform to that game-style, of being able to make one impossible "get" after another, and so wearing their opponents down. Are they all "physical freaks'? One thing we can be sure of: they arouse no suspicion in the enforcement bodies of tennis - because they continue to proliferate at the top end of the tour.

  4. "because they continue to proliferate at the top end of the tour"

    Exactly. The Canases, Puertas and Volandris of the world (tour) are easier to suspend than the current cash cows/physical freaks.

  5. Dick Pound at the Play the Game conference, as usual, telling the truth about doping, and blasting the anti-doping programs.....

    Asked why testing does not work.....

    "The real answer, when you get down to the bottom of it, is that the people involved do not want it to work..........People have no incentive to try and catch people who are cheating"

    and a great interview here.........

    1. Interesting interviews. Spain ought to face a declaration of non-compliance from WADA if it gets rid of the inconvenient Fuentes blood bag evidence.

    2. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

    3. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

    4. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

    5. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

    6. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

    7. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

    8. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

    9. Well done, arcus, for posting the links. What Mr. Pound says in these interviews is as succinct as goes and more than enough for anyone with a sufficient IQ of 85+ (who, at the same time, does not misuse it to fool him-/herself) to understand the simple yet oh-so-hard-to-resolve problem of obvious doping.

  6. Nadal is clearly over the "fatigue" that has been bothering him in his recent losses. Gasquet may as well have not shown up - or taken something stronger than his occasional indulgence in cocaine. Let's see - if we have Nadal/Djokovic final (which is most likely), how about a 3-set match that goes to 4 hours? And where no one tires.

    1. Players like Wawrinka, Gasquet or Tsonga should be massively pissed off by what is going on in tennis.

      I wish they would speak up more. Sadly, they still get payed too much to be outspoken about everything that is wrong in tennis. That Gasquet vs. Nadal match was a disgrace to tennis, same goes for Wawrinka vs. Djokovic.

      Have they really made peace with this sham...?

    2. If you speak up, you get a "friendly" reminder from Stuart Miller to keep quiet. He probably threatens them with extreme targeted testing if they don't keep quiet, so what can they do?

      Same thing as cycling 10 years ago. If you spoke up, Lance and his buddies would kill your sponsorships. And you couldn't compete clean, so what do you do? Lose, same as Tsonga.

      As a note, Tsonga's sudden weight loss does not leave him on the "clean list." Could be he is doping, but doesn't respond to the drugs as well as others. Also, if Nadal is primarily using PRP, then technically, he is not "doping" -- or at least not violating any rules. And how would they detect if Nadal is using PRP from another person? That is, the blood from someone else is drawn and spun, then the platelets are injected into Nadal. It is not clear that this would be banned either. Could you find a young healthy person with high HGH and VEGF and use his PRP?

      It seems like the PRP route is basically a license to dope.

  7. Oh, and not to forget, ESPN's Chris Fowler is a massive turd!

    Chris Fowler ‏@cbfowler

    >Good to see Marin Cilic back on court. The more you learn, the more you think he got a brutal raw deal from tennis' drug testing authority

    1. Chris Fowler is a broadcaster for a major US network. As such, he has a vested interest in tennis being perceived as clean. and therefore remaining marketable.

      He's been vocal on this specific issue (and he may be sincere in what he is saying). However, on the flip side, you rarely, if ever, hear him or his colleagues tackle (or even mention) doping in tennis. This despite experience from other sports, that rings alarm bells a deaf person could hear from the moon.

      He's pushing the argument that Cilic may not have been trying to enhance performance on that day. However, he's conveniently ignoring the rules laid down by WADA, and the fact that those rules exist for a good reason. Instead of supporting testing, he's chiming in when he thinks it can be critiqued.

      If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

  8. Yet again, Duracell-bunny Ferrer, wins a match that goes longer than straight sets... His winning percentage in this situation (playing anyone but Nadal) is ~85% this year, and was similar in 2012.

    Why are commentators not questioning how a player over 30 (who's never been good enough to win a slam), can dominate like this in long matches?

  9. Commentators don't say anything publicly because their paymasters don't permit it. I heard interesting stuff from a friend who has insider contacts - he is an international professional musician and gets to meet pro's, their agents and commentators through his work (he is also a tennis nut) - and he says that all the talk is about doping. He says no one seriously believes that Nadal, for example, can come off a 7 month injury break and clean up the tour without doping. My friend named top doubles players he gets to hit with who are of this view. For obvious reasons I can't pass on their names. But no one can talk about this stuff publicly. The insider view is also that a now declining Federer is likely to be the last clean champion we see in this sport.

    I also got to talk with another friend who works for WADA (I can't give his name) and he told me that tennis, like most professional sports, has a real doping problem, and the most telling evidence is the dramatic change in the physical side of the game. I suggested he was losing the battle and his reply was, "we wouldn't be if the administrators and enforcement bodies did what they are supposed to."

    So my understanding then is that many connected with the tour are definitely concerned about doping but can't say anything publicly, and the administrators (like Miller) are trying their darndest not to catch the cheats. But I guess we know all this already.

    1. Players have long talked openly in private about doping, Richard, and not just recently. When I was active some years ago now, my own coach, ex-top 100 ATP, was blatent about two characters in particular, one who is known to have tested positive. When I later played seniors in Germany, our No 1 at open level - a tough East European challenger level player - insisted to me that all top ATP players were doping one way or another and couldn't be where they were without drugs.

      When you consider the casual almost prosaic, nature of the recent cases - Cilic using in training, Odesnik with his ongoing HGH habit, Troicki trying to blag his way out of a blood test, and all this against a backcloth of superhuman performance at the very top, you get a strong sense of the depth to which drugs now permeate the professional game. And when you get a player like Errani, basically caught red-handed but cocky enough to ascribe her drug-fuelled, meteoric career rise as down to a new racquet, you realise tennis is no different to any other drug-ridden sport where performance is explained away, Lance Armstrong-style, by lies and denial.

    2. As you say, it's the sheer likely pervasive depth of it. Professional sports have come to depend on it.

    3. And now they don't even need to dope everytime to get enhanced performance if we according to recent article"Muscle Memory Induced By Steroid Use"

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Thanks Peter Gilson for sharing that.
      I couldn't agree more with what you've said. The one's caught are just to keep up appearances and they clearly don't represent the full picture. The caught one's act so upset only because they damn know for sure that the really big fish get away with way more serious stuff... It almost feels like they want to shame the ITF publically to pressure them into compliance when it comes to reducing their sentences, a form of public blackmailing is what their "act" is, really.

      As for personal stories, well, all I could add is when I was younger and began playing tennis myself, I was somewhat struck by the onslaught of certain male as well as female players' unusual physical appearance and playstyle, but could not fully place what I saw back then, being an innocent little puppy myself.

      Notably Sabbatini, Sanchez-Vicario, Seles and Agassi spring to my mind immediatly for being different from the pack. Looking back, that might have been the beginning of more serious doping in tennis.
      However, I also recall watching matches, where opponents visibly tired and top players were not immune to an occasional upset, unlike today.

      Today's upsets either appear "rehearsed" (=tanked) - see Nadal losing ag. Ferrer in Paris only to conserve energy for another, more important event, or come totally out of the blue and you think of voluntary, up-to-them type of upsets instantly (think Nadal vs. Darcis).

  10. @ Richard. I certainly don't expect commentators to say "I think player X is doping". I know that's not about to happen in the media. However, I expect them to respect the sport, and do their job with integrity. This means pointing out obvious performance oddities. I believe it's possible to tell it like it is, and let the audience draw their own conclusions. Instead, some of them act more like star-struck fans or PR agents.

  11. Nadal lost against his compadre Ferrer. Perhaps he is injured and ready for another round of "treatment"?

    1. same all same all
      "knee this that" ------"treatment PRP/HGH"------"amazing run"------"knee this that" ------"treatment PRP/HGH"------"amazing run"-------"knee this that" ------"treatment PRP/HGH"------"amazing run"

      but hair is not going to be there after another PRP round

    2. Not this time, pk, (see the post-match interview at
      I, for one, expected RN to 'tactically' lose this one, so as not to have to play against the, erm, 'fired-up' Djoke and to 'fire-up' himself to finally win the ATP World Tour Finals (if he can), since he had always used this time of the year to cycle-down on the 'fire' and had been mostly beaten at it like a second-grade player that he, without the 'fire', actually is. By the way, his fellow fire eater Djoke experienced the same destiny in his very annus mirabilis of 2011, but in the following two years, obviously, rearranged the cycles, so as not to make them too obvious. But, hey, the ingenious Uncle, eagerly observing the goings-on in the next most competitive fire-eating-camp, figured this out for His Nephew, and rearranged his own fire-cycling for the calender of 2013, so that the Nadals finally get this missing title also, and eventually, in a year or two, prevail as the GOATs of tennis. No? Si?

    3. I don't know about you, but don't you think the ATP benefits massively from a Nadal loss? Makes the number 1 situation a whole lot more interesting.

      Djokovic has not lost since the US Open. He looks way fresher, way more motivated than he was during the more important parts of the season. While I understand that Federer was older than him, and yesterday's wearing down could have been something entirely plausible without doping, I am not convinced with how he continues to dispatch opponents his age with stunning defense. For instance, where was the defense against Wawrinka earlier this year when it mattered more?

      I'm wondering if losing the no.1 ranking is Djokovic's source of "motivation" to start winning titles next year. It appears to me that he has been off the juice or substantially reduced it since the 2012 AO, but when he's on it, Nadal is going to have a miserable time of it.

  12. Andy to come back stronger then ever.

    Andy Murray believes he will return from back surgery faster, stronger and able to play shots that were beyond him in the past few years. Unfathomable as that may sound, given that he is the Wimbledon champion, Murray feels that the pain in his back has held him back, stopping him from playing his best tennis.

    The world No4, whose rehab has taken him to Chelsea's training ground in Cobham, underwent surgery in September and has refused to set a date for his return, saying that he will enter the Australian Open only if he feels fit enough to win it.

    However, while some fear that he will not be the same player, Murray, who will be absent when the ATP World Tour finals start in London, expects the treatment to enhance his movement and allow him to go for more shots. "I hope I'll be able to play better than before because for a couple of years there's been shots that I couldn't hit any more," Murray said at the Queen's Club in London where he helped unveil his new racquet, the Head Graphene Radical.

    "I couldn't play the shots because it was too painful and because I couldn't generate the power. So, providing the surgery has gone well, it should help me and allow me to play the strokes I want to play and not have to play sort of managing an issue. So that's exciting for me. If I watch videos of when I was playing five years ago, six years ago, there's some shots that I was like 'ahhhh'. I was saying earlier in the year, 'I'd love to be able to do that' and I couldn't any more. So I'm hoping that'll help.

    "It wasn't so much the serve. It was other shots it was an issue on. And also just general movement. Just not being as stiff or inhibited. I wanted just to be free again in my movement so I guess we'll have to wait and see how it goes but I'm positive that, if I do all the right rehab and recovery stuff and don't rush back, that when I do get back on the court I'll be able to hit shots that I wasn't able to hit for the last 18 months or so."

    1. Federer, Gasquet, Wawrinka and so on should get some knee treatment/back surgery ASAP. Nadal has already proven that injuries are a key factor to success in today's game. Many other players will follow his example and add some injuries to their gluten-free diet. The tennis public/media are supposedly readily awaiting the "superhuman efforts" untertaken by those "brave warriors".

    2. [Murray] has refused to set a date for his return, saying that he will enter the Australian Open only if he feels fit enough to win it - All well and good.

      Benito Barbadillo: "When will he be back? I don't know. All I can tell you is that when we are sure we will make an official press release. When the pain disappears he will be back. He is working hard with the physio, but I don't know if he will be back before the end of the season. The tendons are healing" - 29/08/2012
      Murray should come back when he is fully "fit". Though I wouldn't be too surprised if he doesn't play the Australian Open next year.

    3. the guy who is a human wall and retrieves every shot has been 'hampered' all this time?


    4. Alright, so I am curious now (not really) how the newly improved bionic Murray will devastate the field next season.

      Maybe he is setting alltogether new standards when it comes to getting procedures done that ultimately enhance your body and will turn you into a forever painfree rubbery monster...

      I'm making an educated guess here: Murray will begin playing again with the South American claycourts, no?

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Whilst I have no doubts at all that there is a major doping problem in tennis, some of the above comments about Murray are just silly. I came to this site after the ridiculousness of the AO 2012. My suspicions about Nadal, Djokovic and Ferrer have increased as I have followed the sport over the last few years. I dislike Federer intently, but however much I hate his arrogance and false humility, I haver seen nothing about him to make me think doper.

    Whilst I am a Murray supporter to the core. I would hope I am not blind, and it might well be that they are all at it, and as with cycling the fans are being sold down the river. However it has been obvious for some years now that there has been a real issue with his back, something that the has been ridiculed and called a drama queen for. Unlike Nadal, we know this because the press were invited to follow him and join in with his training. Murray has turned in some woeful performances this year and has actually played very few tournaments. Apart from grass he has not been himself at all. It has been painful watching him. He has had a longstanding injury, unless he is faking pictures of himself in a hospital bed, he has had surgery to repair the damage. Unlike Nadal who had 7 months off, without seemingly any treatment at all, and who displayed no sign of any knee problems at all, there is evidence to suggest there actually has been an issue with Murray. I certainly do not expect Murray to return to the courts in January and do a virtual clean sweep, throughout the year. I expect him to take a a while to regain form. This site has many positives, but the automatic assumption that any player who wins anything, must be a doper, does suggest a certain paranoia. I assume that in cycling there were certain clean players, my gut feeling is that in tennis Murray is also clean. In 2012 when one would reasonably assume that testing during the Olympics was actually proper testing, rather than the usual ITF joke, and therefore that Players needed to be sure they were truly clean on the run up, both the Wimbledon and Olympic finals were contested by the same two players. Djokovic failed at the semi final stage in both, and failed to gain a bronze. This year when Wimbledon was reported to be strengthening it's testing both Djokovic and Nadal performed below parr Federers' dismal performance then and throughout this year can be accounted for by age. Unlike the Spanish no 2. I have no proof that any player is or is not doping, but my interpretation of the available information is that Nadal, Djokovic, and Ferrer are certs, Federer and Murray less likely. I have no real interest in any of the others and so can't formulate a meaningful opinion.

    1. Excellent post. I would add that Murray is a player who seems to tire noticeably after a gruelling match e.g. AO 2013 final following 4hr Fed semi or indeed when under extreme pressure of expectation - Wimbledon 2012 final by end of second set he was spent. Furthermore, he has never really gone on a bionic multiple tourney winning spree at any stage during his career - going deep into two consecutive tournaments seems his limit. Murray may well turn out to be the biggest victim of this era.

    2. "I dislike Federer intently, but however much I hate his arrogance and false humility"

      Federer isn't falsely humble you dumbass. That's Nadal. His arrogance isn't any different from Djokovic's.

    3. @Tommy Hass

      With the greatest of respect I think you are wrong about Federer and his false humility. There are many people who will agree with you. Equally there are some who will agree with me. It should be possible to hold different opinions without the need to be abusive.

    4. Please stick around, Cynic. You comments are very reasonable and insightful; they add to the discussion.

    5. Federer is openly "arrogant" and therefore neither falsely humble nor sincerely humble.

  15. @Cynic: While I do share your opinion regarding the likeliness of Murray being a full-time doper, I do think that his remarks are telling in a certain way. If the most important thing for him after a back surgery is the hope to last longer in rallies and to be able to retrieve more shots, it perfectly shows how the main focus in today's game has shifted.

    @Ross Crombie: There have been some instances where Murray showed some incredible defensive capabilities though, which were only surpassed by the likes of Nadal, Ferrer or Djokovic. It might been down to extensive training and superior athleticism though as well. He has also been vocal about the insuffiecient testing in tennis, while also complaining about the testing regulations (his "beyond a joke" remark). Altogether, Murray is no certain case in either way for me.

  16. In the wake of Lance Armstrong, I have a sense that Murray, as with many in the public, has woken up to the real possibility of doping in tennis too and that it's costing him titles and glory. This could account for him becoming noticeably more vocal on testing - indeed one of the most outspoken on tour now.

  17. @cdcd

    I think you are quoting some of Murray' comments out of context. He has also talked about being able to play some shots again that he simply hasn't been able to play for a while due to the back issue, as well as the impact in other areas of his life. The comment about the testing being beyond a joke, was some time ago. Murray has grown up a lot in the last 2 years. Let's not also forget that it was Murray who lost patience and outed (so to speak) Cillic. I can understand people's suspicions, but I think when you look at things in more detail, Murray's recent achievement's are believable without recourse to a doping explanation. Most of Murray's issues were in his head, once that was addressed, the rest has followed. On the other hand it it's almost impossible to explain this years Nadal farce in any other way.

    1. I'm sorry but I just can't agree with u on Murray. He for sure is not a full-time doper, but there are spurts that he has where he starts playing like Nadal or Djoke or Ferrer. U just can't get the ball past the barrier wall these guys create running really difficult shots down from everywhere on the court & hitting it back with substance all the time. And what doesn't make any sense is how these guys after being injured for this or that come back in form as if hardly any recuperation was needed. if one tourney u play badly, but few weeks later u suddenly willingly find ur form, what explains this other than doping. At this point, u can't rule out anyone just b/c u like them. I think Lendl has been a great help in helping Murray find a way to win the two majors but can't say Itz been just b/c of training, but also Nadal being out cleared the way for him. Nadal was one of Murray's biggest obstacles in winning majors b/c they mostly met in semis. To Murray's credit, he did in the beginning seem clean & try to use his talent to win, but b/c of the successful dopers beating him regularly, he had to join them--- at least part of the season.

    2. That Murray can only match the physicality of Nadal, Djoke for "spurts" of the season and cannot maintain it all season is precisely why I believe that he is clean.

    3. Can't believe hie's clean all the time. Too many telling signs. ITF is so lax as r other doping agencies that to slip thru the many cracks is not difficult, esp. If u have TUE or know how to mask the dope with other substances. His concern about doping seems PR cause he did a 180 after LA scandal as did Nadal. But don't wanna pick on Just Murray, pro tennis needs to clean up period. Murray is not stupid enough to harm himself for a full season with doping.

    4. Northwestcircus,

      I don't get your point. Even Nadal and Djokovic can only match the physicality of Nadal and Djokovic for "spurts" of the season and cannot maintain it all season. The mere fact that he EVER matches the physicality of either of them (both of whom you seem to believe are dopers) should be reason enough to be suspicious. Are you trying to say that Murray naturally has the ability to reach the level of bona fide dopers?

    5. My feeling is that in a contest between Murray and a clean Djokovic, the outcome is quite evenly balanced. This historically would seem to be the case, ie their matches as boys. Whilst I think it is obvious that Djokovic is a practitioner of the dark arts, I also think he is mindful of his health, and has spells where he eases off. Murray's breakthrough Slam, in 2012 in my opinion was against a cleanish Djokovic. There was non of the invincibility we saw in the two 5 set matches he played at the AO in 2011. Murray also had the advantage of the additional rest day, so logically he should have been less fatigued. I also think that a combination of the Olympics, and the absence of Nadal might have influenced Djokovic's doping strategy that year. Whatever Djokovic is doing or does I also think he is very much in control of it. Nadal on the other hand seems very much as though he is being controlled and manipulated by his minders.

      Murray against a doped Nadal, the outcome is in the extant statistics. Murray has only beaten Nadal in a few diddy tournaments, when Nadal is on detox. I don't expect those statistics to change when Murray returns. I remain of the opinion that Murray is clean, Djokovic is clean occasionally, which is when other players including Murray have their chances. Nadal is almost never clean. To put it more simplistically, nobody is that suprised if Murray loses a match in any tournament. It can happen against a player of any level. Djokovic losing is suprising, but it can and does happen, however it's usually against higher ranked players. Nadal losing shocks us all, except at Wimbledon which just happens to be tougher seemingly on doping. Murray's glorious inconstistençy is the biggest arguement for him being a clean player in my opinion.

    6. "Are you trying to say that Murray naturally has the ability to reach the level of bona fide dopers?"

      In defense, yeah. Not in stamina though. His speed isn't that mindboggling and he has better anticipation than either.

    7. No, I am saying that Murray against an undoped Djokovic or Nadal, has a decent chance of wining. If he plays them when they are doping, (in Nadal's case that is the majority of the time), then I expect him to lose. I do not see that changing when Murray returns.

    8. If the game becomes more defensively oriented than players will create a play style based around this, I don't think it's peculiar at all for top players to become better at this after focused practice. You're giving up on certain things after all, such as chances to be aggressive. Your reading of the game will change over time and become better suited to the new way of playing the game.

  18. "Former dopers should come clean, says UCI boss"

    (Reuters) - Riders and managers who have been involved in past doping practices have been urged to come forward by International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson so that the sport can draw a line under its troubled reputation.

    If only this would happen in tennis............

  19. Whilst cycling tries to draw a line to separate its past from its future, Tennis can't even draw a line between lies and the truth.

  20. @ Cynic and the other posters

    Regarding Murray, I would like to add that considering the ITFs "anti-doping efforts" as prefectly epitomized in those futile line-drawings in the sand by Mr. Miller, we can agree that
    for now no one is above suspicion.

    Keep in mind Murray's mercurial statements on doping, they do not add to my trust in him, though lately he indeed seemed sharp and on point, so credit where credit is due. Still, you wonder what took him so long.

    Regarding his recent comments on Murray returning fitter than ever before after his surgery - well, I guess my reaction was being cynical, hence the bionic reference, sometimes these comments I make have a hard time remaining on the reasonable, factual side I generally strive for.

    My wish is that players would indeed play clean and would act as vocal advocates of fair play on this issue, yet, as others noted too, Murray's post-surgery comments naturally leave me with a hint of doubt. I mean, afterall, he won stuff in the last 18 months he had never gotten even close to in the past. So I am rightly wondering how can that be if he wasn't able to hit all the shots he needed?

    Following that Murray "logic", we will indeed have to expect a completely changed player next season, now hitting shots he was never able to hit before, which would equal in even more slam wins.

    If a rather simple procedure can achieve that, why wait 18months? Let's not forget, Murray had a past of training in Spain and Miami, both places also notorious for slack doping control.

    That said, I thinks it is positive (pun intended) that we have a forum here to throw it all in the open to discuss all this and while doing so, hopefully we remain respectful, even if in the heat of the moment, we let our tongue get the best of us...

    And for the record, no I am not a conspiracy theorist, quite the opposite - I am interested in facts and in showing how indeed the sand-line-drawing ITF is fostering such thinking.

    1. team_kickass,

      I agree with you that no one is above suspicion, especially given the lame anti-doping efforts in tennis. That said, I do worry that the impact of this excellent site is diminished if we accuse all players of doping. Re your above post, if i may:

      1) Murray's seemingly facile attitude to anti-doping efforts were before the LA affair and Djoke's annus mirabilis. I think those events forced him, as with many, to look closer a tennis.

      2) With regards Murray's surgery - I think he has been deliberately transparent since the operation and I predict that he issues a photo of himself in action as soon as he is back on the practice court. Just six week post op, already in November, and having not yet swung a racket, I think its understandable if he is not yet certain of his participation at the AO. I welcome his transparency and it is in stark contrast to other players.

      3) Why wait 18 months? Even a simple procedure has risk and involves missing a chunk of the season. At just past halfway stage of his career - it seems the perfect time.

      4) Murray made four grandslam finals, won multiple masters titles and even an Olympic gold before he won his first grandslam so it is hardly true to say "he had never gotten even close to in the past."

      There is some good, high-prolie, low hanging fruit to go at in both the men's and women's game. In my opinion Murray is not one of them.

    2. murray isnt one of them? Here's a dude who had an adams apple like an ostrich and now his neck is so thick you can barely see it.

      his legs and thighs are massive like tree limbs.

      here's a guy who claims that his back "limited his movement" the past few years when in my mind, he makes even more incredible retrieves than Djoker. His 'back' was why he had to pull out of the FO last yeaer, but he was fine during wimbledon.

      please, murray is up there with djoker and rafa for being suspect because of the insane physicallity. and the fact that murray can run so fast lugging all that heavy musle around, and do it it for hours and hours. ....

    3. @ both of you

      Let's agree that having both opinions here present and open for discussion is a good start. It seems to be due to current intransparent circumstances things can looked at this way - or that way, depending on one's belief in the cred of a player.

      I do take your objections seriously, Northwestcircus, in fact, I thought of them myself already when I was typing my above post. The risk objection does make sense, as well as my objection. The transparency, I would add, that he is clever enough to make use of, I would attribute to the fact that in a post-Armstrong era you've simply got to take new measures to win the public over, which Murray understood. I do applaud openness about injuries in general, but as was pointed out before, also Nadal did some photo ops from his doctor's office. Just saying.

      In general, I do like Murray more than Nadal. That's easy, he is a ginger from Dunblane! But my overall point would be - before getting caught up in Nadal this and Murray that games - we should emphasize that the entire dilemma is caused by a weak federation administering their own testing and lot's of sand drawings. A federation that leaves so much leeway in prosecuting their cheats and allows for "voluntary suspensions"... They are to blame for discussions on Murray we see above.

      If they are allowing that sort of thing, which has been suspected all along, but never openly mentioned until the Cilic's case, who could say that some of the injury-off times are not simply due to on-going trials and or cover ups, to allow cheats keep a "clean" face even after getting their decision?

      Thing is, I would not vouch for anyone on the tour currently as long as these possibilities remain. I mean, seriously, that shoddy piece of writing that is the ITF's Cilic decision leaves enough to be desired - just look at their "honest man" statement... Tennis deserves a better governing body than that.

  21. Troicki's verdict is in. CAS has reduced his sentence to 1 year.

    Lausanne, 5 November 2013 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between the Serbian tennis player Viktor Troicki and the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The CAS has determined that the player had committed a doping offence, but that his fault was not significant, and has decided to reduce the suspension imposed by the ITF Anti-doping Tribunal (IADT) from 18 months to 12 months.

    1. Quote:

      "The CAS has determined that the player had committed a doping offence, but that his fault was not significant"

      This begs the question when are things indeed significant...!

      Interestingly enough:
      >...the ITF stood by the IADT decision and requested that the appeal be dismissed in its entirety."

      >... there was no suggestion that Mr. Troicki intended to evade the detection of a banned substance in his system"

      Now this is truely mindboggling - how can they know since they did not TAKE that test in the first place...? Also: is not giving a sample not considered evasion? What else is it then?

      It continues:

      >The CAS Panel determined that Mr. Troicki did indeed commit an anti doping violation and that in the light of the circumstances of the case and the fact that there is no significant fault, the just and appropriate sanction was a period of ineligibility of 12 months commencing on 15 July 2013, which is the minimum...

      Here is their Email address, in case you feel this decision is neither really just nor appropriate:

    2. It wasn't CAS that found "no significant fault or negligence" with Troicki, it was the first instance ITF tribunal which made this finding. What has occurred at CAS is a downward reassessment of the appropriate sanction to the minimum possible under the rules. Were I the doping control officer concerned, I wouldn't be too happy with the results of this case as she is now burdened with a degree of blame for not having spelt out more bluntly what the effect of refusing a test would be.

      Clearly, from Cilic and now Troicki, we see that obfuscation gets you everywhere when it comes to defeating inconvenient anti-doping rulings.

  22. Pt. 1
    Speaking of Spain, excellent long read (in German) on the recent doping history of Spain by Floriain Bauer/DIE ZEIT. Lot's of meticulous research going into this investigative piece, which nicely demonstrates the cartel of silence still in place in Spain, when it comes to talking about doping in sports. Also good example for other tennis journalists out there who could investigate the Bosch links into tennis or the TenisVal connection...or simply talk to Bob Brett now - or Cilic's mother or others who got thrown under the bus ;)

    I won't be able to translate it in its entirety, however, here are the money quotes and summaries for discussion (mind that it is a rough translation & please disregard my mistakes):

    >Especially in the recent years, Spain's image in the world of sports has risen to stellar hieghts: they have become a surspisingly impressive sports superpower. And, at the same time, a notorious centre for doping.
    Never before was there a country which dominated many areas in world sports so extensively and thereby drawing lot's of admiration for their display - as well as much mistrust, much suspicion and so many doping accusations. (...) Spain, the current World- as well as European Soccer Champion, World Handball Champion, European Basketball Champion. The country of FC Barçelona, dominating world soccer for years. The country of Rafael Nadal's, number one in tennis for two years in a row. The home to Fernando Alonso and Alberto Contador, the multiple TDF winner. Spain talks about their "generacion d'oro" - the golden generation. Despite of all this, their image and that of sports in general is tainted. Even if the state does not want to admit it. The state even advertizes with the campaign "Marca España" for the brand Spain. Among others, they advertize with the convicted dope cheat Alberto Contador."

    ---> The author then talks about Opercion Puerto and the scandalous trial and the equally scandalous federal prosecutors (Rosa Calvo) behaviour of not digging deeper in the names involved aa were hinted at by Fuentes during the trial. The author mentions McQuaid's statement that only 60 out of 200 clients of Fuentes were indeed cyclists, the other's came from soccer, tennis, swimming and track. Author points out that statements by Mc Quaid are to be taken with a grain of salt (he wants to distract from his own sport, obvs) but then author backs those claims up by quoting David Howman, who mentions boxing, track, tennis and soccer being on that list, as he found out already in 2006 during a meeting with Spanish authorities.

    The author then goes on to mention the infamous Marta Dominguez case - the hurdle runner who got outed by El Pais in 2009 for being a Fuentes client, but strangely remains to be a respected member of parliament and national hero up till today. Nothing happened.
    Then he mentions the curious case of Real Sociedad, a soccer team that was named in the investigation and whose president kept an illegal account to pay for the teams doping for SIX years, money laundering also. The president was until recently also the president of the National Soccer Legaue, he stepped down, but for other reasons. Again, no investigation or public debate.

    The author rightly points out that in a country where the current head of the government is also accused of having accepted bribes, there is no need for a League president to resign simply because of doping and illlict income, minor offences. (I may add, the current King's son-in-law, a famous ex pro-basketball player himself, is also currently involved and being investigated for a huge investment fraud scandal and Spain is doing everyhting to keep the Princess out of the line of fire though documents show she knew about the illicit going-ons. So, yeah, the country is not what you would consider strict on fraud).

    1. Pt. 2

      The author then meets up in a Madrid restaurant with a someone, a so-called insider, who claims to be in the know about the "system and clients of Fuentes" and makes mention of certain Fuentes clients. Internationals are among the names, Olympic gold winners, national heros. Substances like IG-F1, Cortison, Actovegin. It sounds credible, yet the insider can give no final evidence.

      I'll summarize a bit more:
      Author meets with Stéphane Mandard, from Le Monde, who confirms that in 2006 Fuentes showed him doping plans for Barça and Real Madrid teams for an entire season. As we all know, Barça sued Le Monde for 3,000.000 Euro, they settled eventually for 15.000 Euro, Real is still not decided, they sue for 300.000 Euro currently. (This shows you what sums are involved if a journalist tries to report doping and might explain why they rather remain awfully shy about that subject). Tha author points out that the Mandard story can not be confirmed for lack of openness, evidence and prosecution in Spain.

      He goes on to look at the court documents (they have been made available to him). They demonstrate how Fuentes was pressured into taking back his claims regarding Real Madrid (to avoid being sued) and how, in general, the power of soccer clubs is so tremendous that Fuentes eventually gave in and stated during the trial "I got three death threats already, there won't be a fourth."

      The author draws attention to the fact that while the family estate of Fuentes in Madrid had been raided by the police during Opercion Puerto, however, his office in Las Palmas was not touched. It is there where Mandard claims he was shown the medication plans. Which raises questions why further investigations did not happen.

      The author also points out that Fuentes (or rather the validity of his statements) is hard to grasp, because he continues to drop ominous hints here and there, yet what does that all mean considering he has little to lose and talks a lot?

      Again, Spain's image is being tainted a second time by not properly investigating the ominous bloodbags or Fuentes hints/statements. The author mentions how the prosecutor did not make use of the chance during the trial, when Fuentes openly offered his assistence in identifying those bloodbags. A crucial moment during the trial. The author remarks that its a double bind for Spain, they know they have to act tough to not lose credibility (or rather gain it in the first place) yet also dread the consequences from all those possible uncoverings. He then talks to Gonzalo Camarero, a federal prosecutor who co-wrote the countries new anti-doping laws. Camarero emphasizes the importance of the new law when it comes to Olympic bids for Spain.
      Despite all the positive sides of the new law, doping still does not constitute a criminal offence and thus won't prosecuted by law.
      The auhtor then goes on to take a closer look at Pep Guardiola's strange Nandrolone case, he only got a reduced 4months ban, which he appealed. Then got handed a 7 months ban on probation, which, again, he appealed. A few years later, in 2009 he eventually got acquitted!

    2. Pt. 3

      It was again a case of substance levels. According to Guardiola's biographer,they found nine nanogram per mililiter. of Nandrolone. The doping level at that time was considered two nanogram per mililiter. He then talks to Prof Thevis and Prof. Schäfer, both credible sport scientists at the Uni Cologne. The latter points out that Nandrolone metabolites can also be produced by the body itself, as has been poven in a study from 2006. Apparently, Guardiola had an expertise by some Jordi Segura to confirm higher endogenous nandrolone levels in his system. This has only been reported by some media outlets, again, nothing is confirmed.

      Conveniently, said Jorgi Seguar is also the head of the WADA-accredited lab in Barcelona. The author points out, that this would present an obvious conflict of interest had he indeed written that expertise for Guardiola. Sadly, Segura declined any comment to ZEIT magazine.

      He then gets hold of the decisions from 2002 and 2009 via the Italian football federation:

      "Neither does one find a plausible explanation for the acquital in them, nor mention of Seguro. It only says in the first verdict from 2002 that the found Nandrolone levels in Guardiola's body "can not be accredited to endogenous production". These levels " are completely incompatible" with the production of one's own organism." (=Hence they must be exogenous, coming from the outside)
      WADA also declines cognizance in that case, citing that the WADA code was not yet in place at the time of sample taking, 2001.
      "In general no one wants to have anything to do with the doping case of the currently most-thought-after coach in football. Guardiola is like a god in Spain, says someone who knows him well."

      The author now travels to Castelldefels, a prominent beach resort for football stars near Barcelona, to talk to Lluís Lainz, a scout on Barça's payroll for 16years. Lainz says: "Many journalists are afarid of investigating properly, You don't badmouth a hero." (...) "Spain is not really got at self-cricism. We are good at identifying with our heros. For us it is hard to believe that heros can make mistakes. Yet isn't it curious that time and again the Spanish are linked to doping?"

      "The case of Guradiola is an allegory. For the image-crisis of Spanish sports, maybe all of Spain in general, a country in crisis."

      Author then goes back to Madrid to talk to the recently appointed director of Spanish Anti-Doping, Ana Muñoz. She is quoted with saying: " We need those bloodbags. They are important to achieve closure and get over the past."

      "Munoz, as well as Fuentes and the federal prosecution appealed the unsatisfactory Fuentes decision and a new trial can be expcted for late autumn. Bloodbags will remain intact, so far as they still exist."

      The article closes off with the following:
      "The Fuentes case does tell you a lot about doping and its system of obfuscation. Despite all the hints: Not much will ever see the light. Good for lucky Spain and all the other countries, whose athletes organized their doping from here. (...) The crisis of credibility won't be over anytime soon."


      (I apologize for the wall of text, yet I thought this might be of interest. Sadly, the only new thing coming out of the article is the upcoming appeal and possible bloodbag uncovery. That and the fact that Omerta is indeed VERY strong in Spain, so that even meticulous investigation has problems uncovering hard evidence, which in result does not exculpate the suspected cheats, quite the contrary, it reveals how damn hard it is to go against the current grain and catch a cheat.

      Also meaning we have any right in the world to suspect dark arts in Nadal's ominous wins. Especially the mentioning of IGF1 and Actovegin by the insider quoted above do set off the alarm bells, methinks)

    3. good stuff kickass.

      not much that we didnt alreayd know but that isnt the point. the point is it needs to stay in the spotlight and people need to keep talking about it.

    4. Fantastic. One thing that has struck me as odd is how many people don't know about Pep Guardiola's history with doping (I was also unaware until recently, and I had been following Barcelona since 2006). Despite being cleared of doping, to anybody who followed him at the time, and in retrospect, it was pretty obvious he was. In 2001, at the age of 30, his career was already winding down. He went from playing in Barcelona for 12 years to Brescia, a lower division team at the moment. An obvious "my career is winding down." So, his desperation possibly made him turn to doping (if he already wasn't before). Let me make a note of this once again, he was 30 years old. There is a bunch of footballers playing at a high level over the age of 30, currently, and no one is suspicious.

      From wiki, "On 11 April 2001, Barcelona's captain announced his intention to leave the club after 17 years of service. He stated that it was a personal decision and, in part, a response to what he perceived as football heading in a new, more physical, direction" A hint that doping was becoming more prevalent? Who knows.

      Most journalists just aren't doing their work and following up on stories, but, not surprising. It's how the world works.

    5. Pirlo should be suspicious or Gerrard and Terry ;)

      Concerning Guardiola, he is currently coaching FC Bayern and for a long time they have declared their love (=envy) for Barça's playstyle, a love also fostered by costly losses in the past. The current trend in football is having ever younger, faster players who can run longer, outlast their opponents and can sprint in the last minytes of a game and also excell collectively in aggressive forechecking and quick counter attacking not to forget lot's of passing...

      Sounds familiar, no?

      Yet when you look at how many miles per game a player ran on average in Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund is way ahead of Bayern. Needless to say, both teams are suspisious because of that edge they got on endurance.

  23. murray's biggest problem wasnt physical, it was mental. he sorted that after the Olympics 2012. Between djoker and nadal, murray is still the weakest of the 3. He has proven he can handle djoker, it remains to be seen if a doped murray can deal with a doped and determined rafa

    1. @ That Broke Chef

      Whilst appreciate you may perceive me to be naive, given I do not think Murray is a doper, then the situation you postulate will not arise. If Murray on his return starts to repeatedly defeat Nadal, I will review my opinions. I respect your views, but remain of the opinion that Murray is a clean player.

  24. During the years of Armstrong's lies, he had propogandists comment on the public boards (ie. "cyclingnews"), to "protect" his reputation. There were strong indications that the effort was organized (the postings came fast and furious after any news came out against Armstrong, and always included the same old "talking points" (jealous, don't believe in miracles, just want to sell a book, ...).

    We have witnessed the same here with regards to Rafael Nadal (although his defenders have been much less active lately).

    Now we are now getting propaganda that is meant to protect Murray.

    The case against Andy Murray

    - was a VERY skinny teen, whose body thickened up DRAMATICALLY in his late teens/early twenties. Is considerably larger than his other family members (Used HGH as a teen ?).

    - Trained in Spain early in his career.

    - Was indirectly associated with Andre Agassi's doping coach Gil Reyes (Google this roid monkey to see what an obvious roid user looks like), through the Addidas strength and conditioning program.

    - Used Brad Gilbert as a coach.

    - Has a hyper competitive , domineering parent (his mother), much like Agassi, Caprioti, Sharapova, Pierce had (all strongly suspected of doping).

    - Murray and his coaches have always used the refrain, "got to get fitter", throughout his career.

    - Has a highly suspect career trajectory for a "defensively oriented" player (pre-steroids era defensive players had their best years before the age of 25, Murray didn't start winning slams until after the age of 25).

    -Whined repeatedly about the doping controls, before the Armstrong case brought more attention to tennis.

    - At the exact same time that other tennis players changed their tune about dope testing when Armstrong was caught(ie. Nadal), Murray made a dramatic change in his opinion to publicly demand more stringent testing.

    - Is very supportive of other suspected dopers (like Nadal), making it appear that he is part of the "Omerta in tennis".

    - Takes repeated breaks from the tour, claiming injury, yet comes back stronger each time.

    Don't be fooled by the propogandists.

    Murray is a doper, PERIOD !

    1. You're a foaming retard.

      Murray isn't a defensive oriented player. He became a slam champion because he became offensive oriented. He made slam finals around 2008 at age 21.

      Whining about doping controls is the most normal thing you could possibly imagine. Most males grow stronger after turning 20. His frame has always been huge.

    2. @ Golden Age of Drugs

      The rabid nature of your post makes it difficult to take it seriously. I am not a propagandist, merely an ordinary fan who has looked at the situation and reached a conclusion based on my own observations. I do not know Murray and see no need to try to protect him. My opinion is he is clean. You and others are at liberty to disagree. My initial post occurred simply because I was fed up with some of the drivel being posted about Murray's back. Having watched him for the last two years, it has been obvious that there has been a problem.

      I find the last line of your post confusing "takes repeated breaks from the tour, claiming injury, but returns stronger". Could you clarify this with examples? The breaks this year, have been due to a long standing back injury. That injury has now been treated surgically. As far as I am aware there have only been two other breaks, one due to a wrist injury, and one due to a congenital knee problem. Given how long he has been on the tour, that does not seem excessive to me. If he has come back stronger each time, it is somewhat surprising that it took him until last September to win a first Grand Slam.

      Unlike Nadal we at least know with Murray that there is a injury. If as you and some other posters are suggesting the injury is a cover for doping, then he must be a complete fool, to take it as far as to let a surgeon take a scalpel to a complex part of his body, risking paralysis in the process.

    3. Really...?

      Accusing other posters of being "propagandists" or suggesting their postings are "organised..." does not help to raise awareness of doping in tennis.

      I take your point that the kind of blind defence you talk about existed/exits among cycling/Nadal fans. But having re-read the posts that concern Murray, I do not see a parallel. They are well thought out counter arguments and certainly do not include "talking points such as jealous, don't believe in miracles, just want to sell a book, ..."

      Nor do any of them suggest that there isn't a serious doping problem in tennis, quite the opposite in fact.

      I for one read the blogs/postings here because I believe doping exists in tennis, and is perhaps widespread. Personally, I believe Murray to be clean and therefore a victim of this era. I have read your case against him but don't find it convincing, especially when stacked up against other players. I am sorry to disagree with you on this particular player.

      That said, I do sincerely share your frustrations and hope the truth starts to find a way out sooner than later. I think the bizarre nature of this year's Wimbledon has got many insiders talking and I know secondhand of some medical professionals involved in sports who have been suggesting that the unusually high amount of pullouts could be doping related. I do sense a momentum. Hopefully.

    4. Okay, so I can see how that might have appeared co-ordinated!

  25. I state my case against Murray, and within 1 hour, three users (or one or two users with three IDs), try to "argue away" a damning circumstantial case against Murray.

    Thanks for proving my case.

    1. Your paranoia is what let's this site down. I assure you, my user name is the only one I am using on this site. What you see as "daming circumstantial evidence", is challenged by others independently. You automatically assume a conspiracy. There are people on here including yourself, who are convinced that Murray is a doper. Others including myself do not. Equally anyone who is a Nadal supporter, would be assumed to be part of a conspiracy.

      The key thing is that this site is raising the issues that the farce of doping controls in tennis is at the moment, and contrasting tennis with other sports that are making genuine attempts to clean themselves up. If as seems to be the established line on here, every tennis player is doping, then it must be a completely level playing field, and we the fans, should just let them get on with it. If every player in the top ten is doped to the eyeballs, and they all by virtue of being in the top 10, have sufficient wherewithal to be exemplary practioners of the dark arts, then the differentiating factor between them must be talent. If we are saying that every player in the top ten bar Federer is doped to the eyeballs, which is how many people perceive this site, then essentially this site becomes simply another "Federer is God" fan site, and is therefore meaningless. That negates everything I believe this site is trying to achieve.

      The current problem is that the performances of certain players coupled with the apparent impotence of the tennis governing body, would seem to indicate that tennis is where cycling was at the height of the Lance Armstrong great sporting fictions saga of all time.

      That went on for so long perhaps because there were two completely contrasting camps. "Cycling is as clean as the driven snow and anyone who says anything to the contrary is a nasty, inadequate conspiracy theorist" v "cycling is 100% dirty and there are no clean cyclists at all". Neither of the two camps were prepared to listen to each other. The waring factions obligingly detracted from the real issue.

      Unless there can be an open, non abusive debate, on the subject I can't see how any progress can be made. I freely admit, and did in my initial post my main interest in tennis is Murray, mainly because he seems such a complex character, and I find it fascinating to consider how his childhood experiences have influenced the man he has become.

      I don't know whether Murray is doping, has ever doped, or will ever dope, the same can be said of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Berdych, Del Potro, Tsonga. My own view is he is clean. I might be wrong, equally I might be right. Ditto the other players. The recent farces of Cillic and Troicki have however demonstrated very clearly the mess that the sport is in. The question is what, if anything can be done about it?

      As ever the above reflects my own personal opinion.

    2. May I chip in?

      The level playing field myth has been proven wrong time and time again by experts. So I won't go on about that.

      No, this is not a Fed-Fansite - as you yourself said in the above post, it is a site that looks at what the fedration is doing or rather NOT doing to fight doping.
      We also look at what players are on the record for when it comes to doping, injuries and comebacks. We look at implausibilities, stuff that does not add up and makes us THINK, disagree, intervene or even bang our heads on the wall at times.

      I admit, I do indeed favour certain player's playstyles over other's, for I believe the current trend we see now, is heavily owed to doping and apart from that, very one-sided, benefitting exceptional defenders and not attackers.

      Also, I don't think EVERY tennis player IS doping per se, however chances are many do dope because it is easy and they get away with it under the current hypocritic system of sand-line drawing etc. But the point would be to stand up for the one's who don't dope - how many that may be - also the younger generation, who is about to join that ATP circus, they need encouragement not to dope. I think many talents might be lost exactly because they know what they will have to expect, doping-wise, once they decide to turn pro. At least for cycling I know from personal experience that this is the case.

      The current tennis we see is literally "unbelievable", because the means to achieve that level of incredibility are simply manifold and easily available to players these days - not all of them respond to those substances in the same way, and yes, talent is needed, whether doped or undoped. Last but not least, players are walking investments these days and would easily gain access to illegal means via certain dubious academies and their respective practitioners of the dark arts.

      Again, no one should be beyond doubt, and I believe most posters here, even the Fed fans ;), will agree with me on this one.

      That said, also Murray, as much as I appreciate your fight for his cause, is included and with his latest rise to the top - which does raise eyebrows no matter what - people should be prepared when questions are being asked.

      As for the two camps situation, my take is that the teflon-like responses of the cycling-is-clean camp contributed much to the aggravation and anger of the other side. In hindsight, many of the critics, however, brought up all the relevant points and emphasiszed indicators for foul play time and again. The very same ones that turned out true.

      You forget to mention the asymmetry in this fight: one camp, the apologists, is in power with vested interests and lot's of influence, media access and money, while the others, the doubters, are perceived as besmearing their wonderful sport. I believe this site makes an attempt to not blindly call out doping, but give evidence instead of mindless flaming.

      I do believe this site makes a good effort to bring doubts, indicators whether systemic or otherwise to the light and discuss them so no one can look the other way or pretend its about bashing certain players per se.

      Here is your chance to give for instance those decisions a close reading and collect facts, opinions, observations on doping in tennis. Where else do folks look at stats in nuce, bother with Kafka-esque decisions or bring in info from other sports to complexify the simplicity that is currently being offered to us by other media outlets?

      Do stick around and bring in your thoughts and ideas on Murray or otherwise, but also be prepared to read up on some subjects and question what you have thought about your favorite players so far. This might be the hardest part for most fans, I admit, me included. However, the love for the sport and honest competition should reign higher than individuals, I would say.

    3. @ team kickass

      A fair, balanced summation. I don't disagree with anything you have said. I appreciate why Murray comes under suspicion. I have followed this site for a couple of years now, and whilst I don't agree with everything, I am in full agreement that the major issue at the moment is the toothless, wilfully blind, people running the anti doping programme in tennis. Just like cycling, the current farce can only be happening with the active complicity of the tennis authorities. Until that is addressed, talk of who is or is not a potential doper is largely irrelevant. Whilst doping is condoned at the highest levels, and the sanctions for the odd sacrificial lambs are actively set at the lowest levels, doping will continue. It seems tennis has learned nothing from cycling. Is it possible Murray is a doper - yes of course it is. Just because I prefer not to believe it to be the case, doesn't make it true. There are many people out there who would argue exactly the same about Nadal. I think I may retire back to my lurking now.

  26. Given the inadequate nature of anti-doping enforcement in tennis we can conclude that many more dopers will be getting away with it than being caught. At the top level the game is highly professionally organised; players have "teams" to look after their every requirments. Is it reasonable to assume in such an environment that the only dopers will be lower-level tour players - even the the Cilic's and Troicki's? I wouldn't think so; the rewards for success are too great. Furthermore, since doping confers enormous advantages it is difficult to see how any player can succeed now without it. Clean cyclists couldn't beat Lance Armstrong. For any modern tennis player to win a grand slam they will almost certainly have to be competing in and beating a doped field. It would stand to reason that the most doped players will be still there at the latter stages of the tournament. Can a clean player beat the best of the dopers for a slam title? I wouldn't think so - not now. By that purely contextual argument - one that is not based on the individual details of the player and their performance - it would be safe to infer that Murray, as a recent grand slam champion, has joined the ranks of the dopers. I believe there are plenty of other reasons to suspect the former stripling fatigue-prone player, who is now a physical powerhouse and human backboard, is a first -rank doper. But his success in winning slams, and how he has achieved it in the present lax anti-doping environment, is enough of itself to come to that conclusion. If an aging Federer were to win another slam now I would regrettably come to the same view of him.

  27. @ Richard

    I acknowledge your points. They are hard to argue with. By your arguement then Federer must also be "a first ranked doper" as well. However Murray lost his first 4 GS finals, 3 against Federer. He won the Gold Medal largely due to the fact that Federer had been wiped out by Del Potro in the Semi. Del Potro also assisted him at Wimbledon this year by doing the same to Djokovic. Having watched the 2012 US Open final many times, it was obvious to me that for whatever reason, Djokovic was performing more like man than superman. In a contest between an undoped Murray and an undoped Djokovic, I would argue that Murray will always have a good chance of immerging the victor. At Wimbledon this year, I believe the doping protocols were tightened up. For these reasons, combined with the semi exhausting Djokovic, and the cards just falling in Murray's favour, I still think that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Murray managed to win it as clean player. I do recognise that might be a naive belief.

    1. @Cynic

      What you are maintaining is that Murray is unlikely to be doping because of his losses. Compare this. Cilic and Troicki (among others) are dopers, and yet they are not top players let alone grand slam winners. They still lose matches. But in all likelihood doping has improved their respective performances - without it they may well have been ranked lower than they are. The same might apply to Murray. He may not beat everyone all the time as a result of doping but he will be better than he otherwise would have been if he has doped. That Murray is recently a double grand-slam champion in a sport with few effective anti-doping measures means he must have been good enough to beat doped rivals at the top of the game - we can easily speculate who they might be. On that basis alone it places him on a list of suspicion. If I were to argue other reasons for suspecting him of doping it would be the dramatic changes in his physique, his physical level in matches where he has shown stamina and power way beyond his previous capacity and equal to a Nadal or Djokovic while playing a similarly exhausting counterpuncher's style of game. Murray, who once used to be a relatively weak player (from a physical point of view) routinely outlasts almost all of his opponents. Of course, as you may note, his physical skills don't make him immune from injury (either real or imagined.)

      You observe that, by the same kind of argument that to beat the best who are dopers you must be a doper as well, then Federer must also be considered a "first-ranked doper". I would say that I would agree with the logic in that statement in the present sporting climate, where doping is acknowledged by WADA and others to have greatly increased in recent years, and taking into account that at aged 32 Federer is well past his physical prime. In this day and age, it is very unlikely that a clean Federer could win a grand slam best-of-five format against doped rivals. Even in a best-of-three format we see how much harder it is now for him.

      However, I would add this. By the nature of his kind of skills, and that he has been a quick-point player not dependent on physical power or extreme stamina, Federer may well have achieved his earlier results as a multiple grand-slam champion and not been a doper. More than anyone else in the game, before or since, he has been able to win almost on racquet skills alone (although this is observably much less the case today.) But the game has changed in the last few years. We see more and more players showing physical skills not present bar in a very few only a decade ago. Looking at the style of the modern game, and how the best are playing it, it is hard not to conclude that the dopers are winning - in every sense. I suspect it is further explanation of why Roger's time has been and gone. Indeed the insider view on the tour (that I have reliably heard) is that Federer is likely to have been the last clean champion. Should he start winning grand slams again, in his old age, we may have to revise that view.

    2. Murray doesn't match Djokovic and Nadal in fitness. What the hell are you talking about?

    3. I am talking about a player who has vastly improved his own fitness, from being a an inferior athlete who often wilted in his early matches, frequently suffering cramps, to becoming one of the best defensive players on tour, routinely exhausting his opponents while playing a demanding counterpuncher-retrieving style, to the extent he was capable of causing the previously indefatigable Ferrer to collapse on court at the end of their gruelling encounter earlier this year in Miami. It may have escaped you but doping doesn't necessarily make you the same as other players who dope. Cilic and Troicki are proof of that. They are nowhere near as fit as Nadal and Djokovic - but they are dopers nonetheless. Murray doesn't have to have exactly the same physical qualities as Nadal or Djokovic to be a fairly plausible doper, yet he is still in pretty much the same ball-park, literally running the legs off Nadal at the AO in 2010 (causing the Spaniard to retire two-sets to love down against him with yet another knee "injury"), and also overwhelming Djokovic at last year's USO (54 shot rallies anyone?) as well as draining the strength out of the Serb at this year's Wimbledon. So we can see that doping is a more complex question than Murray=Nadal=Djokovic; there will always be physical differences between players. However these are subtleties; I don't expect you to see that.

    4. His defensive skills are a result of skill, anticipation and speed, which he ALWAYS has.

      His stamina improved a lot, but 20 year old players are hardly at their physical peak anyway, so that's not a suprise.

  28. @ Richard. Thank you for your reasoned response. I take on board what you are saying. I admit that my responses are inevitably coloured by the fact that I support Murray, in the same way that your responses might be influenced by your support of Federer. I would like to think that Murray is clean. Equally because I dislike Federer (which I appreciate makes me a heretic in some people's eyes), I would be delighted if he was found to be a doper. However as things stand at the moment, I don't think he is.
    What I will say is that if, when Murray returns to the tour, he starts beating Nadal in GS's my belief in him, will undergo a serious re evaluation.

    1. Murray has already beaten Nadal in grand slams - in their qf match in the 2010 AO. But beating Nadal can't be the only test. Troicki and Cilic won't beat Nadal in a grand slam - but they are still dopers.

      If Federer were to put on conspicuous muscle, start hitting 10kph bigger on his groundstrokes, serve regularly over 210kph instead of his 190 average, become a tireless defender so that commentators marvel at how he defies his years then I would say the guy is definitely doping. Unfortunately, that's what we have seen in the last couple of years with Murray, enabling him to finally achieve the breakthrough from contender to champion mid-career.

    2. I think we need to agree to disagree here. All of your arguments against Murray being clean would equally apply to Federer. By your argument, in the last few years any player beating any other top 10 player can only manage that if they themselves are also doping. Personally I still think both Federer and Murray are clean. I might be wrong.

    3. I don't think you have been reading my comments carefully enough. My arguments suggesting Murray is a doper do not apply with the same force against Federer, who is an aging player in decline. Murray's rise to the top is more recent, as are the changes to his game, physique, stamina etc. His career path is going in the opposite direction from Federer, who peaked nearly ten years ago, and began to decline in 2008. That said, I doubt whether a player can reach the top of the game - become a grand slam champion - now without taking up some form of doping. If doping works - and we know it does, from Ben Johnson, Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong and so on - it produces winners. Former WADA head Dick Pound has said "tennis has a doping problem". Logic suggests it won't be confined to the losers.

  29. @richard

    I did read your post carefully. I just don't think you can have it both ways. Federer's GS results since 2010, equate to 2 wins, 6 SF, 5 QF, and the poor performances over the last 2 Slams. He won the WTF in both 2010 and 11, and was runner up in 2012. In recent years he has been playing against the two, or according to you three most sucessful dopers in the game.

    Since 2010, the comparable statistics for Murray are 2 wins, 5 SF, 1 QF, and no WTF finals or wins. Federer's statistics are much better than Murray, particularly for a much older player. I don't buy your explanation about Federer. As I have said I think both Federer and Murray are clean. I might well be guilty of naivety, but to assume that Federer must be the only clean player is equally as naive in my opinion.

    1. I am not saying that Federer must be the only clean player. You haven't read me correctly. I am pointing out that the arguments that would cause suspicion of Murray do not apply to the same degree in respect of Federer - unless (in my view) Federer were to start winning slams again. Federer could have doped - and may still dope - but the arguments that might convict him would certainly damn most others, including of course the Scot.

  30. Yep, the old, "if my guy is doing it, your guy must be doing it too".

    Where have I ever heard this illogic before ?