Saturday, November 16, 2013

Call me, maybe?

Djokovic responds to WADA President John Fahey: "I am not going to call [WADA president John Fahey] because I know more than he thinks I know...So for me this is a total injustice. It shows again the system does not work and there is nothing that they can say to convince me [that it does]."


When it comes to power, tennis has always been a mess. Apparent conflicts of interest are routine. Take the number of leading commentators who also have commitments on national boards or with super-agencies such as IMG.  
Why doesn’t anyone object? Because they are all part of the “tennis family”, a phrase you hear constantly. And most families, as we know from experience, are beset by little alliances and tensions that keep everyone stuck in one place.


  1. Why do I feel that Novak Djokocik is, indeed, a veritable font of knowledge when if comes to doping?

    This was the quote from the Briggs article that I found compelling

    " The same attitude feeds through into the International Tennis Federation’s flimsy anti-doping programme, which was comprehensively exposed this week by an investigation in the French newspaper L’Equipe.

    “In its number of samples, both of blood and urine, tennis lies in last place among the major sports,” said the report. “The whole anti-doping community jeers at the inconsistency of the testing regime, where positive cases disturb the tranquillity of the ITF’s ivory tower. When [ITF president] Francesco Ricci-Bitti claims that tennis is a sport of skill where doping does not achieve anything, it makes you weep.”

  2. The reason Djokovic knows the system doesn't work is because they haven't caught him.

    1. On the other hand, his "I know more than he thinks I know," comment might make one wonder whether he has some personal experience with a positive test.

    2. Nah, I doubt it. Djokovic seems to be the smartest of the lot when it comes to doping, partly due to the fact that he doesn't appear as greedy as Nadal when it comes to titles. His whole diatribe about the system has been due to nationalist fervour - to him, being a "Serbian hero" is more important than anything else. I wonder what Serbia will make of him when he is finally outed, as I believe he will be.

      If anyone is caught doping among the top 4, it will most certainly be Djokovic. The other three are almost too valuable to lose and I think Federer appears to be clean enough, although having seen players like Korda, Cilic and Troicki getting caught, you never know.

    3. Beacon Tripper's entire comment on Djokovic is right on target. And the part that says 'His whole diatribe about the system has been due to nationalist fervour - to him, being a "Serbian hero" is more important than anything else' is required insight, if one is to to understand the contradictory nature (in every possible sense of this syntagma) of the 'phenomenon'.

    4. Here is a telling example of his particular brand of Serbian fervor: Djokovic's stance on the Kosovo issue from 2008, after Kosovo proclaimed its independence (and right after his own AO win) he gave the below message live to the public at a huge demonstration in the centre of Belgrade via video link - other speakers were Emir Kusturica, Tomislav Nikolić, leader of the Radical party =(Right-Wing Nationalists), and a few more nationalists.

      It was right before the rioting started and the US, Slovenian and Croation Embassies were attacked by the mob.

      Quote Djokovic:

      "Hello to all of Serbia and all who are with us
      This is the toughest of times in the history of Serbia
      and I want to thank eveyone who has come here to this meeting
      and to show the world that we are not small and weak,
      that we are united and willing to defend what is ours
      I am sad I can not be with you physically right now
      and I want eveyone to know that my family and myself are with kosovo always
      entire situation is very hard on me as entire history of serbian nation is stemming from kosovo

      kosovo is serbian and shall remain so forever.

  3. He just seems to be way too angry and is going overboard in defending his countryman. It just makes me wonder whether he might have a more personal axe to grind. Alternatively, he actually believes that Troicki was completely innocent and he is really incensed about it. I just have a hard time believing that.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I doubt he really thinks Troicki was clean - I mean that would mean ITF is deliberatly setting traps only to turn "innocent" pro's into cheats for their stats...
      I highly doubt that.

      Djokovic is mad about the whole situation, because, for some strange reason, the TADP has been sacrificing some of their sheep lately, this seems to differ from their previous handling of the doping situation within tennis. Maybe Djokovic got off the hook in a similar situation before...while Troicki now gets busted.

      I suspect Djokovic's rage might be fuelled by the knowledge that peviously cases like Troicki's would have ended differently. And most certainly without leaking to the public.

      Add to that Djokovic's intricate, deep knowledge in how to circumvent positive tests, springing from detailed knowledge of ALL the weak spots in the ITF's program and awareness of their overtly generous history in handling top cheats until very recently...

      This is where my money would be.

      I mean, knowing about all that - shaving seen tons of people getting away with stuff over the years, but now, for some reason, my very own buddy does NOT get a free pass... that might explain the rigor of his comments..

    3. Team_kickass

      I think you've nailed it on the head.

    4. wouldn't it be dangerous for Djokovic to spout off the way he has if indeed he had once tested positive and gotten a free pass? Isn't that like biting the hand that feeds him? Maybe that's a poor analogy but I think you get my drift. If he has been protected in the past it wouldn't be in his best interests to now criticize the very organization that has kept him looking squeaky clean. It's something else I think. It's his big f-ing ego is what it is. But he might just be shooting himself in the foot. It's a very dangerous game he's playing but he thinks he's above the law (and he may just very well be).

    5. It was so odd how he prepared and set up his "spontaneous" rant - he had his lines written down well in advance, of course, and prolly cued one of his journo friends ... well, aren't they all friends & family somehow, let's face it: one big fucking, disfunctional family that is tennis! So it won't be that hard to find someone who is gonna ask him that magic question to trigger off his big Hamlet-esque monologue on the WTF stage...

      Well played, Djokovic. We all know he as ambitions to become an actor. I say, he alreayd is one - in the big ole' tennis window dressing show.

  4. Djokovic spouting more garbage. How does it show "again" that "the system does not work"? "Again"? Even if the original case somehow showed that the system did not work (against Troicki), which it certainly didn't, there has been no further actions to demonstrate "again" that the system does not work.

    Also saying "there is nothing that they can say to convince me [that it works]" is an acknowledgement that he is not open to thoughts and arguments that do not correlate to his currently "understanding" of events.

    Both of these points prove he's one sided and blinded. Fahey is still completely correct in his statements and Djokovic has just demonstrated that even further.

  5. Maybe he is angry that someone else was let off for a bigger offense while Troicki was thrown under the bus for the trivial(in his mind) offense of refusing to give blood when asked to do so?

    1. That's an interesting thought.

      However, Troicki is a childhood friend and countryman. I didn't see Djokovic get this upset about CIlic, Gasquet, or any other player who has been in violation of the doping rules.

      But, as you stated, it wouldn't surprise me that in Djokovic's mind, refusing to take a blood test is a trivial reason (to him) to get suspended.I think he's dead wrong if he thinks that, but it wouldn't surprise me if he did.

  6. "Usain Bolt loses big-money sponsorship deal because of Jamaica's doping controversy"

    I like hearing about sponsors pulling away from athletes, if they have concerns about doping.
    This is a real disincentive to dope, as it hits where it really counts.

    The only moment in the LA Oprah interview where Lance looked genuinely upset, IMO, was when he talked about losing $75M in one day.

    1. Also, if Bolt is legitimately clean (which I have my doubts about), then he should be the one pressing Jamaican authorities for more stringent drug testing.

      Maybe losing endorsements will get him moving on that track.


    Armstrong spills the tea - according to him, Verbruggen/UCI were part in a cover up in 1999 when they accepted a backdated TUE from Armstrong...we already knew that, thanks to Walsh's and O'Reilly's courageous revelations though.

    Now it looks like there is finally going to be an investigation into the whole scandal. Air is getting thinner for Verbruggen, no doubt.

    Since we have been suspecting the possibility of cover-ups not in cycling alone, the following statement by Verbruggen might further that suspicion:

    >In a recent interview with the Dutch magazine "Vrij Nederland", he (Verbruggen) himself admitted to informing Armstrong and other pro's about anomalous blood levels in their samples; he claims to have noticed similar advance warnings in other federations. "The UCI did warn cyclists and let them know that they are on a watch" said Verbruggen, that was part of a "two-pillar-strategy" to catch cheats, but also to deter others from doping.>

    I understand that Verbruggen has a vested interest to not appear as the sole evil guy and might wants to portray this as a broader problem to distract from his own wrongdoings... yet, he is the one to know and talk about this, am I right?

    Further, this begs the questions, which other federations did he know of that have similar "warnings" to protect their top cheats from detection? Tennis, maybe?
    If your very own federation uses their testing mainly as an internal warning system and tells you to tone it down or go easy if you are glowing and if you get caught, even helps you to cover up the positive sample, what worth is testing done by federations anyway? Who tells us that Djokovic's comments might ot be geared towards that kind of knowledge...?

    Source for the Verbruggen quote above (in German) :


    Inhumane treatment of Novak, testing below human dignity!

    While the battle was fought on the field on Saturday in the deciding match of the Davis Cup final, Novak Djokovic was not on the national team bench. Our best player he wanted to be with Elijah and Nenad in this game, but that was not possible. In fact, from the locker room he had to go right into the room for doping, where he spent the next five hours!
    - Serbian Tennis Federation and myself are absolutely in favor of respect WADA rules. It is necessary to reduce doping in sports, they honor Novak and all our tennis players, no matter what the circumstances of the previous period. However, the story has two sides. Doping controls are obligations of all athletes, and with that all of them do. But what I as a man is not clear to all that often goes beyond the normal procedures - our story begins a respected orthopedic surgeon.

    There are several inconsistencies in what had happened, said Milinkovic.

    - The fact that Novak set for testing in the day when he played, and an hour before deciding doubles match, it was not right. Or do these tests work early in the morning or after the match. But, although one of the team leader, Novak has agreed to do everything necessary, and without any objections. On the other hand, though his control was directly off of the action team, because he could not support them. Five hours spent indoors!


    Targeted testing during the Davis Cup for Djokovic?

    1. Bravo, Ikarus Vox.
      Novak, despite the fact he's 2nd on ATP list at the moment IS the best tennis player now. The fact he raises his voice when noone else dares against anybody and anything proves he is 100% certain of himself doing everything by the book. It's hard to accept, but Novak Djokovic is an ace as a sportsman and as a man. Deal with it.

    2. I am of the opinion that Djokovic has a nice game to watch - but I will limit it at that. The story about his testing ordeal is not verifiable and while he comes across as intelligent, his all out attack on the WADA official doesn't strike me as something that comes from a good man - just someone who is driven by nationalism and will do his best to defend his stance at all costs.

      I don't think he is 100% confident that because he is doing everything by the book. It is more likely that the powers that be have covered up for higher profile athletes before - three guesses who!

      Couple with this the fact that Djokovic shows signs of one of the two:

      1. Doping
      2. Faking when he claimed to be injured before

      I don't think he is a great sportsman after all. I will give him this though - he is a talented player and at certain times appears to be intelligent.

    3. I don't think Djokovic raises his voice when no one else "dares" to, it's better to say he raises his voice despite no one else agreeing with him, and despite his opinion being at odds with logic and basic fairness.

      It shows he thinks he is bigger than the game. It shows he is eager to paint the testers with a disreputable brush, in all likelihood because he wants a way-out should he ever test positive or have stories circulate about him in the future.

      If Djokovic was an "ace" man, he would not let national bias and old friendships get in the way of his better judgement. Now there is nothing wrong with national pride and being loyal to friends, but there *is* something wrong with it when you let that dictate to you what you think the ITF's doping policy should be. Any good dope testing policy should know no national boundaries, know no personalities, know no big-names.

      Djokovic showed his true colours with his rant about the DCO. He has one side of the story (and an inconsistent one at that), and certainly has little fairness.

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    5. While I applaud the ITFs late-season activism to test Djokovic on the day of the doubles - my guess is they were under the impression he would play that rubber as well - I would wish they had picked smarter time windows.

      To catch him micro-dosing would require an early morning test or late in the evening prior to the match. We are talking 10 hour windows here. So they were just in that window where stuff would have cleared out of his system and before he would use a little something for the last singles rubber... Unless he 'd be really careless, they won't catch him on an afternoon inbetween matches.

      In general, knowing his calendar, my pick would have been the two weeks leading up to the WTF, after Shanghai, that's where things would be happening.

      Quote form the Serbian article above:

      >Giving the sample was a real torture , below the dignity and professional ethics , as in " News " speaks of our national team physician Dr. Zdeslav Milinkovic .

      As for the Serbian team doctor and part-time human rights activist Dr. Milinkovic, he is clearly dying to get a call from WADA or Miller to remind him of how testing has been agreed upon and handled for years and in accordance with the WADA protocol - a fact that should be known to ALL involved in pro tennis, I'd assume.

      Also, giving samples four times? This must be an obvious misrepresentation of how procedures actually happen to stirr up some negative sentiments agaisnt testing.

      They do need ONE sampe of urine of a certain quantity - if Djoker can't pee, he simply has to drink water and wait while the tester is present - for obvious reasons. How that ruined Djokovic's metabolism, as the article tries to claim, is beyond me. Unless he means that all of Djokovic's supplements in prepapration for his Sunday match also got washed out of his system in the process, because of too much water ingested...

    6. It's apparently so outrageous that the head of the Serbian tennis association had to tweet "Cosa Nostra" yesterday, referring to the doping officials (or WADA?). This gentleman's name is Vuk Jeremic, and he spent the last year in New York presiding the UN General Assembly session. Prior to that, he was
      Serbia's foreign minister, and the one who decided to grant Serbian Davis Cup team players diplomatic passports (there were also some speculations on this site regarding possible reasons for that; of course we can only speculate).
      Known for not being diplomatic spat all times, in spite of his diplomatic jobs, he is apparently interested in the UN top job - Secretary General.
      I don't know what the reason was for him now, and Djokovic a few days ago, to chose this incendiary language.

    7. To add (in a nutshell!) to the information JMF has provided about the strange goings-on along the (tennis) highways and byways of Serbia : Mr. Jeremic has become the President of the Serbian Tennis Association in the aftermath of a (temporarily) unsuccessful dirty campaign of Srdjan Djokovic, Novak's father, to get elected for the office, replacing Slobodan (Bobo) Zivojinovic (somewhat older tennis audience will remember him as a colourful best Serbian GOAT before the rise of Novak). The whole affair got so sickening that even the Djokovics realised they could not possibly pull this one, so they pulled the opportunist midget Jeremic out of their sleeve (some may say out of their arsehole), since they, at the time, were riding the bandwagon of the then-ruling political party to which Jeremic belonged - generously throwing the title of the Honorary President of the Association (and whatever else!) into the deal with the bon-vivant Bobo of the carpe-diem-philosophy, who also realised he could not withstand the pressure of the..., well - to use the words of the clown in question-, Coza Nostra.

    8. Jeremic, I believe, was crucial in lobbying against the recognition of an independent Kosovo, in 2008, also right around the time the embassies got destroyed by a nationalistic mob and when Djokovic gave his infamous "Kosovo is Serbia" speech I posted above - a tune which is popular among many (not all) Serbs. His foreign policy was also described as "on steroids" for travelling like crazy around the globe by which he scored his UN position, but thanks to bad tactics he eventually contributed to Kosovo's recognition and achieved the oposite of what he aimed at. So he was out of a job and I assume Djokovic provided...

      Melch, I was wondering what the deal is about Novak's tennis centre in Belgrade and the city ending his lease agreement all of a sudden - due to unpaid rent apparently, as had been reported a few weeks ago. They also did that because the Djokovic's for some reason or another opted against continuing the Belgrade Open, which had been part of the deal.

      What was that all about? How come they treat their precious national hero so badly all of a sudden? Any ideas?

    9. I think it is becoming more and more obvious that something unusual happened with Djokovic's testing, he is under some sort of extra scrutiny, and he is playing the victim a la Armstrong.

    10. ^^^ Djokovic seemed to have "forced" to lose few finals against Nadal, because he was tested positive?

    11. ^^^ Djokovic seemed to have "forced" to lose few finals against Nadal, because he was tested positive?

  9. Not fully clear what allegedly happened here. But seems as if it was the day of the Davis Cup doubles, a non-playing day for Djokovic, so fair game for a test.

    Via Google translate, it sounds more like he produced multiple samples whose specific gravity was not within testing parameters. If too dilute, these are not acceptable because athletes could over-hydrate to dilute something that should not be there (It's unlikely there were too concentrated, since he apparently has "perfect hydration" lol). COuld be that he couldn't produce the pre-requisite 90mls, and he tried to urinate 4 times. The WADA code does not mention other parameters, such as urine pH, as hinted at by the Serbian MD.

    As for Djokovic "taking more food and beverages than they need to meet the standards in terms of density, acidity and other parameters of the sample by the standards of WADA", the WADA code is clear. "The Athlete shall be encouraged not to hydrate excessively, since this may delay the production of a suitable Sample".

    I seem to recall Federer talking about a situation where he was not able to provide a sample, and having to wait for hours, but acknowledging it as part of the process.

    1. Why do I get the feeling that certain Serbs have a deeply-rooted victim complex, a delusional condition imo?

      To me this reads as Dr. Milinkovic trying to portray Djokovic as a victim of inhumane doping control, an innocent puppy harassed by evil-ass WADA/ITF taking revenge on him... which would fit in nicely with Djokovic's own recent statements on WADA & lying DCO's etc.

      Thanks for clarifying the testing parameters /dilusion issue. I did not think it possible it could indeed take four samples - however your explanation makes pefect sense. I was not aware that they pre-test for acidity/pH before accpeting a sample.

    2. Serb tennis players all think they are Arcan, that wonderful exemplar of Serbian neighbourly bonhomie.

    3. If you form opinion regarding propaganda of media, without using your mind this is not an unusual thought...

  10. Semi off-topic, but Richard Ings, whom I respect greatly, tweeted this today (as an aside, during the Djokovic debate) --- "Blood samples can often be delayed due to the inability of the collection officer to find a suitable vein. All common things."

    This struck me as a bit odd. As a physician whose taken thousands of blood samples, I just can't imagine being unable to find a vein in a young healthy adult athlete.

    He also pointed out that obtaining an immediate urine sample post competition is frequently tough, and this, I do understand. However, on a jocular note, one wonders why the athletes are coming off court so dehydrated, what with the 57 varieties, kaleidoscopic array of scientifically-proven hydrating supplements they take.... Must be all those emergent toilet-breaks LOL.

    1. Difficult to find the veins when they are collapsed from all the micro-dosing.

  11. Another pretty interesting article on players talking about doping in Tennis.

    1. Good article, raising the crucial points!

      >Haase heeft al eerder gepleit voor gerichte controles. "Vorig jaar verloor ik heel veel in de eerste ronde en werd ik ook iets van tien tot twaalf keer getest. Ik heb toen met Federer gesproken die vier keer achter elkaar won en geen één keer werd getest. Dat kan niet, hij kwam net terug van een blessure. Dan moeten er alarmbellen rinkelen.">

      The Dutch players, especially De Bakker, Rus, Bertens, Krajicek and Haase basically confirm what this site has been saying time and time again. Not enough OOC testing, too much loser-testing (Haase 10-12 times) etc. Interestingly, Haase also aks for including more than the current 50 players in the whereabouts program and is in favor of target testing. They also bemoan the lack of testing in lower, ITF run events. Good points!

      Nice to see how Haase and Federer exchange their control experiences.

      On a side note, has always Haase struck me as a rather nice player with a decent grass court / Hard court game, who often had a hard time winning against the uber-players of the tour or against uberfit defenders in general - he managed to play competitive for a set and a half to eventually end up with the short end of the stick.

      His comments concerning slack testing seem to stem from personal experience and sheer frustration, no doubt. I always wanted him to stand a chance against the Murray's...I met him in Halle once and he was rather down to earth.

    2. I wasn't quite sure of some of the translations, but yes a pretty interesting article.

      >In that fair play has Krajicek sometimes doubts. "Sometimes I see someone shooting up in my eyes is not level. I say that without proof though. I did not see anything, but girls win a tournament and they do it a week later as if it were nothing. Sometimes I find that weird and I think she is so well built or her protein shakes so much better "? <

      Interesting that Krajicek voices suspicions of players who win tournaments week in and week out. It's clear she suspects some of her fellows players.

  12. They should test Djokovic twice a day until they catch him.

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  14. Dedicating so much time to Novak and trying to prove what he does and how his match winning is outstanding and beyond human ability is so nice of all of you. Yes, Novak is remarkable and analizing his career achievments is an interesting matter. Keep up the good work and attention to the best of best.

    1. The "best of best"? OMFG!! Who opened the door of the nuthouse?!?!

  15. This novel long term metabolite testing that's turning up positives for anabolic steroids could be a huge story.....

    Decisions to retest samples could become one of the biggest issues in tennis doping history

    1. Decisions to retest samples could become one of the biggest issues in tennis doping history

      Except that would probably never happen. Do they even have old samples to re-test? I doubt it. You know, I don't think they changed their policy of keeping tests for longer (8 years). Last I read (back in 2009) it was still three months.

    2. Hate to be the party pooper, but as far as I understood, they retested for two anabolic steroids only, Oral-Turinabol and Stanozolol, both old-school substances that are only used by poorer athletes these days.

      And I believe ever since GDR doping was revealed and Johnson got busted for Stanozolol, athletes in Western countries began using other substances.

      So far, the retested samples are from IOC competitions and no federations have made use of the new testing method, to my understanding.

      Retesting thanks to new testing methods ('the long-term-metabolite-method") happened in two labs only: Moscow and Cologne. Weirdly, Moscow has seen its WADA licence suspended and is currently shut down due to quality problems.

      But the good thing is, the metabolites could now be detected more than six months after they were taken! And the IOC is currently retesting the Turin 2006 winter games. The Cologne analysts is saying that retesting could now begin and should not only be limited to IOC events but could retest frozen samples from all major sports events in the past...

      Now here comes the no-brainer: Does anybody here believe the ITF is first in line to get their frozen samples tested?

      Here is the link to the original report from German telly, Sport Inside, WDR by Hajo Seppelt:

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    4. I forgot to add that Dr. Geyer from Cologne criticises federations for not using ALL top-notch testing methods available to detect a broad range of substances in the collected samples and instead limit testing to only a few substances, thereby also decreasing their chances of detection even further...

      I believe this vicious circle is deliberate. They don't want to know!

      And at the same time, if athletes know what they are tested for (see case Armstrong) they can avoid using the tested substances all along and instead take something else.

      This will explain why some top cheats simply get away with everything. Federer and Murray should request broader testing (meaning for all relevant doping substances currently known who have a test) and use their power to get more funding for testing.

      I personally would fine any detected cheat a hefty HEFTY sum that will go straight back into testing - and any further outed cheats would be called "Doping cheats caught & payd by the Troicki Cheaters fund"! or the" Llagostera meth funds".

      All the above is spot on when looking at ITFs slack testing. So far we have criticised them for tha small number of tests, yet we should also raise awareness that they don't test thouroughly every substance once they have a sample.

      They do the minimum required and sit and watch how the loopholes keep getting bigger and bigger to gigantic dimensions...

      WADA claims they sponsor top-notch testing on all substances that have a detection method... but it is up to the individual federation to make use of their explain both Dr. Geyer, doping analyst from the Cologne lab, as well as Howman from WADA in the above report.

      Anyway, food for thought!

    5. t_k hit the nail on Miller's head. The problem has always been that we have no idea what the ITF is testing for. All these "negative" results are probably for nothing more than recreational drugs and basic stimulants (such as Coramine and amphetamines). Even when Troicki produced a "negative" sample, it was never stated exactly what it was tested for.

      In any case, I have not heard of this "long term metabolite" testing previously, so I'll have to get more info. However, the ITF is something I am familiar with, and hell will freeze over before they thaw out any frozen urine samples for re-testing. Miller will repeat his mantra, "We re-test samples when there is specific evidence of doping." Of course, the only "specific evidence" of doping that the ITF accepts is positive test results, so that answers the question nicely.

  16. Don't forget that the top level dopers have doping doctors that have inside information as to what is being tested for (see Dr. Cotorro - who is a trained doctor in doping control").

    These doping friendly countries (like Spain) have representatives on WADA. There is little doubt that the doping doctors are being kept abreast of what is being tested for, through their home-country WADA representatives.

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    1. Well, Mark, I think we have been answering this very question time and time again here. Scroll through the past posts.

      Short answer: duh, of course!

      Longer answer: but steroids alone won't do the job, you might need hGH, blood transfusions, Actovegin, eggs and many other top products the pharmaceutical industry produces these days.

    2. Actovegin is generally not banned, unless taken by IV. (See, Noting:

      What is the status of actovegin?

      It has not changed from last year and Actovegin is not prohibited in sport under the WADA List except if it is used by intravenous infusion.
      Intravenous infusions are prohibited according to section M2 (Chemical and Physical Manipulation) of the List.

      Intravenous injections with a simple syringe are permitted if the injected substance is not prohibited, the volume does not exceed 50 mL, and the intravenous injections are given at intervals equal or greater than six hours.


      So basically, you can use it (typically it can be injected intramuscular). This and PRP should be good if you want to compete "clean." Then, if your parents happen to both work for pharmaceutical companies (Federer), they can probably hook you up with the "designer" steroids that cannot be detected.

    3. Then, if your parents happen to both work for pharmaceutical companies (Federer), they can probably hook you up with the "designer" steroids that cannot be detected.


      Not the first time I’ve read this, so I chose to research it. My findings? apparently Federer's parents never worked for a pharmaceutical company. They worked for the chemical company Ciba (renamed Ciba Specialty Chemicals), which was part of Ciba-Geigy. His father was a Chemical Engineer who worked on chemical methods to whiten paper. Here’s a study he co-authored: He probably worked on something more along those lines, and his mother was a secretary in the company. So nothing to do with medicine/drugs it seems.
      And his parents no longer work for the company, mother left in 2003 and father in 2006. But maybe they had other connections Mtracy?, unlikely.

    4. Just for clarification sake - "Mark Smith" posted the very same post as "Mark Good" again below, what a coincidence, so in case you were wondering what my reply was relating to, I was refering to Mark's last ludicrous question:

      >Ask yourself, do you really believe that someone can reach world No1 position using steroids and not to be discovered.>

      when I threw in the Actovegin just for provocation sake - I knew about its WADA status btw.

    5. Icarus, thanks for the research, but I am not sure my statements were incorrect, or your new information is accurate.

      First, see : noting "Federer's parents met while on a business trip for a pharmaceutical company, where they both worked."

      Ok, it was some division of Ciba-Geigy -- which is now part of Novartis. The company you reference, "Ciba Speciality Chemicals" was formed in 1997 as it was spun off from Novartis. ( So, assuming he worked for Ciba-Geigy company, prior to the existence of Ciba Specialty Chemicals, then there were at least 16 years of his life during which his parents worked for a pharmaceutical company. (See noting that they were married 11 years prior to Rogers birth, so this would make it 27 years that they both worked at a pharmaceutical company.)

      Rodger Federer was born in 1981 and so his parents had to meet prior to that -- by at least 9 months. So, it would not be possible for his mother and father to have been working for a company in 1980-81 which was not formed until 1997. Also, publishing a paper in 2002 also fails to answer the question of whether you were working for a pharmaceutical company 20 years prior.

      It appears to me that Robert and Lynette Federer worked for Ciba-Geigy from at least 1980-1997. It is undisputed that Ciba-Geigy is a pharmaceutical company, though they also have chemical operations and apparently other lines of business as well.

      This seems to be the established story and accepted by numerous sources. See: noting "Born in Basel, Switzerland, on August 8, 1981, Federer is the son of Robert and Lynette Federer, who both work for the pharmaceutical corporation Ciba–Geigy."

      See: noting "His parents, Robert and Lynette, both worked in the pharmacuetical industry. Robert was an executive for Ciba-Geigy. He met Lynette, a native South African and also a Ciba-Geigy employee, during a business trip."

      See noting "His father, Robert, met Rogers South-African-born mother, Lynette, while on a business trip for Ciba-Geigy, South Africa (they both still work for the pharmaceutical giant)."

      See also noting "As youngsters Roger and his elder sister Diana would accompany their
      parents, both of whom worked for Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals, to the
      company’s private tennis courts at weekends."

      See noting "Roger Federer was born August 8, 1981, in Basel, Switzerland. His parents, Robert and Lynette, both worked in the pharmacuetical industry. Robert was an executive for Ciba-Geigy. He met Lynette, a native South African and also a Ciba-Geigy employee, during a business trip."

    6. I understand where you are coming from, and you claim that Robert Federer work exclusively in the chemical division -- though at least one source above says he was an "executive." In addition, it is not clear what Lynette's role was, but she clearly did not work in the same chemical division as Robert because she was in South Africa and he was in Switzerland. In addition, even if she was a "secretary," she was with the company for decades, so I don't think she was just answering the phone. If she was the "secretary" for the person in charge of making "designer" steroids, I really would see it as being relevant. In any case, a secretary that works for a pharmaceutical company still works for a pharmaceutical company.

      So, as as the Myth Busters would say, the myth of Roger Federer's parents both working for a pharmaceutical company: "Confirmed."

      Finally, it does appear that Roger trained at the Ciba facility. See one of the above articles and this one: where his father clearly states that Roger was training at Ciba in his youth: The father recalls: "Once when he was very young and misbehaving quite badly during training at Ciba, I handed him a two-franc coin and said: 'You know where the tram is. You can find your own way home.'" See also noting "Feeling that Roger had outgrown the Ciba club and needed to be amongst
      better juniors, at age eight, Lynette enrolled him in the elite junior programme
      of the Old Boys Tennis Club in Basel..." So, he was clearly spending significant time at the "Ciba club," which was apparantly owned by Ciba-Geigy -- a large pharmaceutical company that would, years later, spin off Ciba Specialty Chemicals. So, not only were both of his parents employed by a pharmaceutical company, but Rodger himself was the product of training at the pharmaceutical company.

    7. Erm, this makes it sound as if Roger is some Ciba chemical mutant guinny pig from early age on, treated with the state of the art designer steroids, infact maybe a complete product of genetic engineering... catch my drift?

      I am afraid, but this is reaching a bit far. Too far for me...

      However, I appreciate the detailled information on Federer's Ciba parents and do think that indeed their work would grant them priority access to stuff, if they would be pushing the envelope in creating their own perfect state-of-the-art mutant tennis kid named Roger...

      But from all what we know about Federer's childhood and his unruly character, if anything, they would have probably calmed him down with Ritalin or tranquelizers to get a submissive, obedient child practicising slices bhs, methinks.

      Yet, as we all know, he was quite the opposite and had its own ways and tantrum fits etc., so I would doubt that highly.

      If we were to believe that, one would also have to wonder if what Nadal's parents do for living, they must fucking OWN Novartis and Bayer, no? ;)

    8. Funny you mention Nadal... He blames his "knee injury" on his parents breaking up:

      You see, he was "a different person, distant and cold; short and sharp in conversation." Although this is a clear sign or "roid rage," not so for Rafa. This was caused by him being distraught over his parents separating. This caused, what his trainer labels a "holistic cause-and effect connection between emotion distress and physical collapse."

      Apparantly, his parents are now "back together.",wp1636. This clearly explains his winning streak.

    9. Wow.... M Tracy, interesting reading but sounds more like science fiction than relevant stuff. But you seem to insist on it, for some reason.
      Apparently nothing to do with medicine / drugs.
      Then the assertion that Lynette, the mother, even if a secretary, could have had access to designer steroids for her young son. Sure, doesn't every mother want to screw up her son's health like that... It was known for decades that hormones can be dangerous...
      And then you say that Roger is the product of the Ciba tennis club. Agree with team_kickass - this could really be movie material :)
      In fact, if i understand well, this is a club that was sponsored by Ciba, therefore referred to as the Ciba club by Robert Federer, not some super secret breeding club for young drug designed champions within the Ciba campus (whatever that would be)

    10. Sometime I wonder if people actually read things or just want to put their own comments in. The issue is NOT Ciba Specialty Chemicals. They very link that JMF provides clearly states that Ciba Specialty Chemicals was NOT FOUNDED UNTIL 1997. Previously, it was a part of Ciba-Geigy -- A MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY.

      So, prior to 1997, Robert and Lynette Federer worked for A MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY.

      Now, someone claims, without any proof at all, that PRIOR to 1997, Robert Federer worked exclusively for a chemicals division of A MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY and had nothing to do with pharmaceuticals. I have no idea whether that is or is not "science fiction." However, based on the sources quoted above, Robert Federer worked for A MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY from 1970-1997. So, for nearly 30 years, you are claiming that he was not a "executive" as one article states and that for 30 years he did nothing but chemical engineering for a chemical division. That may be true, it may not be. But there is nothing to indicate either way exactly what he was doing there for 30 years. Same thing with Lynette. She also worked for A MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY from 1970 (at least)-1997. You claim, without a single bit of proof, that she was a "secretary." Again, I have no idea what she did in A MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY for 30 years.

      Yes, Ciba Specialty Chemicals is NOT a pharmaceutical company. Yes, Robert and Lynette worked there after 1997. However: (1) it does not change the fact that they worked for a pharmaceutical company prior to that, and (2) it does not say exactly what they did in the pharmaceutical company for the previous 30 years they both worked there.

      It also appears that the "Ciba Club" was located on the Ciba-Geigy corporate campus.

      Finally, I never said anything but the following facts: (1) Roger Federer's parents worked for a pharmaceutical company. (2) Roger Federer trained at a tennis camp that was funded by a pharmaceutical company.

      Now, t_k said this "makes it sound" like Federer is the product of genetic engineering. Certainly, there is some inuendo implied by me stating these facts. But any part of the "science fiction" is your own imagination. If you imagine that Federer took drugs, then that is your imagination. I did not post it. Lots of peoples parents work for major pharmaceutical companies -- that is why I use the word "major" because it means they are large and employe thousands of people. Clearly, not every such person provides the children access to drugs. If you imagined that they did for Roger, then you have an active imagination, but I didn't write it.

    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    12. I'd say let's not make a fuss about that, shall we...

      I mean, its definitely superior science fiction material, no doubt about that.
      A dystopian story on a stolen childhood, enslavement in futuristic tennis trainings camps in the remote Swiss Alps...experiments with the latest designer steroids... tennis humanoids...

      Actually, it should be good for an AMC mini-series entitled "CIBA Steroid Tennis Mutants"

      (with a guest role for Nadal and uncle Tony and Llagostera, as tennis meth-head...Cilic hooked to Coramine etc).

      Sounds awesome, no? I'd watch.

    13. "If we were to believe that, one would also have to wonder if what Nadal's parents do for living, they must fucking OWN Novartis and Bayer, no? ;)
      "Actually, it should be good for an AMC mini-series entitled "CIBA Steroid Tennis Mutants"

      >Team_kickass you sir are hilarious :)

      "I'd say let's not make a fuss about that, shall we"


    14. I found Mtracy's posts interesting and don't get the sci-fi BS comments. Regardless of which division or what position they held, it seems from all the above posts that both Fed's parents worked the bulk of their careers at a major pharmaceutical company. Fed was the star junior at an academy sponsored by the pharma company, perhaps even based on their campus. I don't see how suggesting a connection to doping here is less valid than supposing all players who have spent time at a Spanish academy are or have been dopers. Strong connections to a drug company could explain, for example, how a player (Federer) in the age of attritional drug-fueled-tennis has managed to win a Grandslam and achieve no 1 ranking in his thirties.

    15. @ Northwest

      Well, as I also said in my previous post somewhere I do think this is an interesting piece of information as such, and yes, I do also pay attention to who stays at Spanish academies and who doesn't. Or eradicates gluten from their diet.

      Yet, at the same time, for some reason only my deranged mind knows, I could not NOT notice how funny that sounds what MTracy brought up (though I appreciate his honest intention and get where is aiming at).

      Not because I think Federer is above suspicion, mind you, but because shit got so concrete, absurd actually, I mean, the setting alone... innocent picturesque Switzerland, add to that the Swiss mentality (precision, rationality, pride in success, meticulousness) not to forget my vivid fantasy, I was unable to unsee a possible movie script right there.

      That said, if he indeed has an open-sesame-situation to all cutting edge steroids you could possibly imagine made by Novartis/Ciba (via his parents), I'd say he'd jacked up his endurance to stay in rallies longer (or to get back into position quicker once Nadal's cross court fh outangled him) already a long-ass time ago, wouldn't you agree? I mean, why wait till you are 10:22...

    16. I'm not entirely sure what's going on with the commenting system. Parts of my comments aren't been displayed.

    17. "I tried posting this comment earlier but blogger was screwing up, so I'll try again*
      Thanks for the info, but I'd just like to add some things. You said:

      "Sometime I wonder if people actually read things or just want to put their own comments in."

      >Yes, I’m aware that Ciba Specialty Chemicals was formed in 1997. But prior to 1997, Robert Federer worked in the Chemical division of Ciba-Geigy and his mother worked as a secretary in the South Africa branch of Ciba. We don't know what division she worked in. Still even though they worked for a pharmaceutical company, there is really no evidence to suggest that Robert Federer himself worked with pharmaceuticals (or medicine/drugs). Him being an executive (or not) does not negate this.

      As for the story of Federer training at a Ciba sponsored training facilty, it almost seems that you’re suggesting that it possible that Federer’s parents using their "pharmaceutical connections" (they working for a pharmaceutical company) probably gave him designer steroids when he was young (well up to '97 anyways) and even if they didn't, the fact that he [Roger Federer] trained in a facility owned by a pharmaceutical giant maybe meant that what, the tennis facility had a sponsored PEDs scheme-or something and that he got the drugs from them. Heck, perhaps this is why the training programme was called “elite junior programme” :D For some reason, this sounds so surreal...

      "You claim, without a single bit of proof, that she was a "secretary"

      >Taken from the autobiography Quest for Perfection:

      [Robert Federer] found his first job at Ciba, one of the world’s leading chemical companies. After four years in Basel, Robert Federer was seized by wanderlust, and in 1970, he decided to emigrate and pull up stakes from Switzerland.
      It was also a coincidence that he found a new job with the same employer he had in Switzerland, Ciba. The chemical company, along with several other foreign companies, was located in Kempton Park...It was in Kempton Park where he met Lynette Durand, who came to work for Ciba as a secretary.

      "It does not say exactly what they did in the pharmaceutical company for the previous 30 years they both worked there"

      >Well we know Roger Federer’s Father worked in the chemical division of Ciba-Geigy, then after also in the chemical division of Ciba Specialty Chemicals and that his mother was a secretary.

      "If she was the "secretary" for the person in charge of making "designer" steroids, I really would see it as being relevant."

      Also from NorthWestCircus: "Strong connections to a drug company could explain, for example, how a player (Federer) in the age of attritional drug-fueled-tennis has managed to win a Grandslam and achieve no 1 ranking in his thirties. "

      >Well is it known if Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals/Novarits actually designed any drugs that could be used by person to enhance their performance e.g GSK with GW1516? That could be interesting!


      "I don't see how suggesting a connection to doping here is less valid than supposing all players who have spent time at a Spanish academy are or have been dope"

      Well now we know that one can't compare Spain's doping history with that of Switzerland's, in that regards the former is clearly more notorious than the latter, but do you think that the Swiss Tennis facility had it's own Del Moral? ;)

    18. Icarus_vox

      " you think that the Swiss Tennis facility had it's own Del Moral? ;)"

      Honestly, I hadn't even considered it until I read the posts from Mtracy, which is why I found them to be interesting. Fed is probably cleanish, I think. But equally I wouldn't discount the enquiry based on picture-postcard scenery or because I think there's some chinese wall that exists between the chemical and pharma boys over at Ciba.

    19. MTracy
      You claim you are merely stating facts. But other than the two facts you claim you are stating (that Roger Federer played in a Ciba sponsored club when young, and that his parents worked for a MAJOR pharmaceutical company), you are also claiming that it APPEARS that the tennis club in question was on the Ciba campus. Well, I can repeat what I stated. It appears the club was in the upper middle class neighbourhood of Alschwill and was sponsored by Ciba. Where did you get your idea that it was within the Ciba 'campus'? Also please read this:
      "Feeling that Roger had outgrown the Ciba club and needed to be amongst better juniors, at age eight, Lynette enrolled him in the elite junior programme of the Old Boys Tennis Club in Basel, where he received his initial tennis instruction from veteran Czech coach Seppli Kacovsky."
      Then you keep on arguing about Robert Federer working for a pharmaceutical company, NOT a chemical company, simply because the chemical division was not a legal entity before 1997.
      Finally you put in one sentence the words: Roger's mother .. Secretary.. For the .guy in charge of designer steroids. Which really sounds weird.
      Look, I'm not saying you're trying to mislead, I'm definitely not saying you have an agenda, and I'm not saying you're back on Roger after a few months of establishing credibility. Ok? :)

    20. @JMF
      "Finally you put in one sentence the words: Roger's mother .. Secretary.. For the .guy in charge of designer steroids. Which really sounds weird."

      > Still, it could be a great plot line for a mini-series drama.

      I understand what you're trying to imply, but to me it seems a little far fetched. Sorry. :)

    21. Ok, so here is the plot. Robert White is a chemist who worked for the chemical division of a pharmaceutical company. His wife also works for this same company, I'll call this fictional company Novartis. Then their fictional son, I'll call him Roger, suddenly becomes a tennis prodigy when a mysterious figure named Heisenberg starts manufacturing illicit drugs for use at the company's tennis program.

      I'll call this series "Breaking Serve", but you know, the Br and Se will be highlighted because they stand for Bromine and Selenium. Pretty original, huh?

      There will also be a comic relief character cast as an inspector Clouseau type who is out to bust Heisenberg, but is completely incompetent and can't manage to catch anyone. I'll call this fictional character Hank Miller.

    22. Yeah, bitches ;)

      See, Mtracy, now we're talking!

  18. Surprising quote from someone, who once called this site "seditious"... commenting on the Briggs piece in his "mailbag":

    >Djokovic should not be fined for speaking his mind, but I do think Briggs nails the rest. I hate to be the troubadour and keep playing the conflicts trope on calliope, as it were. But this is the anti-HgH. This is a growth-stunter. You have association heads calling matches for a network that bought the right to air matches from said association. You have management companies owning events and representing players. You have board members who have a seat at the table solely as a proxy for their company, leading to almost comically wrong-headed decisions like this. I recall this anecdote from Jim Westhall's book Nonsense At The Net: An ATP executive had a side deal as a paid consultant to an individual tournament. This would be like Premier League CEO serving as a private paid adviser to Manchester United.
    This is fine if you're the modern-day equivalent of Donald Dell, and use these conflicts -- and the absence of meaningful walls -- to line your pockets. But if the goal is to grow a sport, the cozy culture is lethal.
    Quick story: I coach in a girls softball league in Greenwich Village. I was talking to a dad/coach from another team who explained that he rotates positions every inning to insulate himself from a potential charge that he is giving his daughter preferential treatment. I'm thinking: the volunteer on a team of ten-year-olds has more scruples about conflicts than an entire sport. >

    Wertheim in his ususal try-hard flowery prose, I least he seems to get it this time (not the Nole part, though).

    I wish he would pen a long insightful piece on the various obvious conflicts of interersts in the big ole' tennis family, from his list alone I infer he knows a ton more, he should elaborate a bit more, but I guess this won't happen. What happens in the family stays in the family, as they say.

    But why did he forget to mention the biggest conflict of interest: ITF running its own anti-doping programm?

    Now that he finally conceded the problem of "cozy culture" in tennis (it took him a while, sadly) how about tackling this former fallacy of his:

    >5) That said, parallels between tennis and cycling quickly fall apart. Reading the Armstrong report, the key was the systematic doping within a team and the code of Omerta. Tennis doesn't do Omerta. It's an individual sport. Coaches and trainers bounce among players...>

    I think Omerta and everything he has described in his above quote go hand in hand nicely, in fact, they make a perfect symbiosis, wouldn't you agree? Cozy tennis family and Omerta - the perfect match!

    So back to the writing desk for you Jon, reconsider & then beef your piece up! I believe you could do MUCH MUCH better, I mean, Yale graduate afterall! And apart from his Tennis channel gig, he seems to be more independet than many others in this business, who hold numerous positions in tennis, as he nicely outlined above...

  19. There is nothing strange and wired that Djokovic defends Viktor. They are not only tennis players they are friends. He wouldn't defend him with such passion if he is not convinced in his innocence. Also, Viktor's suspension cost Serbian team of winning Davis Cup 2013. Another reason for Novak to be upset.

    Ask yourself, do you really believe that someone can reach world No1 position using steroids and not to be discovered.

    1. I can believe it as much as I can believe that someone could win 7 consecutive Tour De France titles, using every prohibited substance under the sun, within organized groups of other professionals, without being 'discovered' until 7 years afterwards.

    2. yes I believe. it's an elaborate conspiracy to protect the sport's image. there are no lengths they won't go to in order to keep things appearing legit. in the eyes of the conspirators the end justifies the means, no matter the cost. and the cost is great.

  20. This is only semi-on topic, but has anybody ever noticed that the most notorious (read: successful) drug cheats all come across as narcissists and pathological liars? Think about it. Ryan Braun, Lance. Barry Bonds. A-Rod. Landis. All come across not only as cheaters, but also as colossal assholes besides. I guess that's what it takes to literally live some sort of elaborate lie.

    1. or is this more a quality of cheats who get caught...?

  21. Just saw this about Mardy Fish retiring, more or less:-

    Bloke in apparent superb physical condition suddenly develops a heart condition aged 30 or so. Why is this? Normal or not normal?

    1. Young healthy people can develop certain cardiac rhythm disturbances. Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and even atrial fibrillation can be seen in these folks. This can be related to congenitally abnormal, aberrant electrical conduction pathways in the heart, and they test for, and treat these problems, by tracking wires through blood vessels into the heart and provoking abnormal rhythms, and then burning the abnormal connections.

      So, yes, the story is plausible. Reading between the lines, it sounds like he had several symptomatic cardiac arrhythmias, and developed severe anxiety issues about it afterwards.

      Accelerated and abnormal heart rhythms are more likely in people with over active thyroid glands, and in those taking stimulants of all kinds (we tell patients to avoid caffeine, chocolate, OTC stimulants etc).

      This could be totally Kosher. I do recall Fish having a dramatic change in body habitus and fitness, in parallel with his rise in the rankings. It is at least technically possible that something he was doing to change his performance contributed to this....

    2. Fish revived his career after knee injury by shedding a huge amount of weight.This transformation occurred around 2010.

      He broke into the top 10 and become the No 1 American for a while. Then he suddenly develops a heart condition. It's impossible to say from a distance whether peds did or did not play a part but his strict dietary regime would suggest the stimulants you mention were not causative factors.


    Robin Haase tested positive in 2006

    An anti-doping test carried out in 2006 revealed abnormally high levels of testosterone in Dutch tennis player Robin Haase, press reports in the Netherlands revealed on Friday.

    Haase, 26, explained in the daily Volkskrant that, after undergoing the test, he received a letter from the ATP advising him "to get a lawyer" and indicating that he would have to undergo three more tests in the following two weeks.

    However, according to Haase, the letter also indicated that "the abnormal level could very well be natural".

    During the following controls, "every time my levels were the same, and I have not heard anything about it since," he added.

    "I have never been afraid of being pursued for this positive test as it was established that I hadn't been doping.


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