Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cavendish v. Djokovic (Federer, Murray, and Stuart Miller Chime In)

Novak Djokovic ripped the ITF and WADA yesterday.

British cyclist Mark Cavendish also ripped the ITF (and some former players) for entirely different reasons...

Discuss....

Federer's interview: "... last year when I was on the run, what was it, Dubai, Rotterdam, Indian Wells, when I won the three, and the year before that, I didn't get tested in one of those three events that I won. For me, that's not okay. You just show up and test a guy that's winning everything."

Murray on Cilic and Troicki: "Whether either player was intentionally cheating or not - we don't know that, and I don't think either of them are like that - but both of them were unprofessional..."

Stuart Miller responds to Federer: "As far as the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) is concerned, the statistics don’t support the suggestion that there is less testing, in that Roger Federer was tested an average of 8 times per year from 2004-2006, 11 times per year from 2007-2009, and 9 times per year in 2010-2012 (testing numbers in 2013 are not yet available)...The number of tests conducted on tennis players by National Anti-Doping Organizations is not known, and it’s possible that such testing may have been more frequent in the past."

I'd note that Miller doesn't address Federer's claim of not being tested at all during his Dubai, Rotterdam, Indian Wells run. Also, Miller doesn't provide testing data in a way that allows a proper assessment of Federer's comments about less testing. Miller should have given the numbers for each year rather than the unexplained three buckets he disclosed. Last, it's a pity that Miller couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone and call the Swiss anti-doping authority to get their numbers. And is he unaware that many National Anti-Doping Organizations publish data, or that the WADA publishes aggregated data (see Table G31)?

177 comments:

  1. Well, not surprisingly, I agree with Cavendish: tennis players have had it unbelievably easy. They've also been a bit too willing, IMO, to blithely reinforce unsubstantiated PR clichés about "leading the world with testing" and "having a clean sport".......

    In his rant, Djokovic wailed and whined about Troicki as if he was going to be homeless and starving, while the evil DCO was living high on the hog. In fact, Troicki has on-court earnings >4.5M, + endorsements, while an average DCO salary is probably ~60K/yr. She needs her job a lot more than him.

    The 'spoiled brat' vibe I get from a few of the top players is depressing. They imply that doping control is so unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive, when in fact, it's obviously essential in modern sport. They're lucky to be making millions by hitting a ball with a bat, but act like they're so hard done by, with "punishing schedules" and "too little money at the slams".

    I love tennis, and I've admired many players skills and character, but for a fraction of them.... some perspective and humility would go a long way.

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    1. "They're lucky to be making millions by hitting a ball with a bat"

      I know someone has an IQ of 80 when they write crap like this.

      If they're so lucky, why don't you go ahead and do it yourself? Oh wait you can't because it requires you to be one of the 50 best players in the world.

      "Lawyers are lucky because they make tons of money by speaking in a court room."

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  2. Djokovic is really making me sick. What an absolute scumbag. The fact that tennis authorities are letting him go on this fake, self-righteous rant is pathetic and a disservice to that poor woman who is being used as a scapegoat. As if a player wouldn't know what happens if he skips a drug test. Djokovic is getting that Lance Armstrong level of arrogance now. Hopefully, you will meet the same fate, Djoker.

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    1. Nothing like "shoot the messenger", is there, to deflect attention away from your mate by pinning the blame on some defenceless official trying to do her job? I remember Dwaine Chambers too, showing much the same arrogance to journalists before his bust and when they nabbed him he couldn't even count the number of drugs he had running around his body. Victor had to spell it all out for him. These dopers all get super arrogant and confident. It's a side effect.

      As you say, players know full well what happens if they refuse a test. What's also pathetic is the way tennis anti-doping tribunals swallow all these cock and bull stories in their endeavour to let players off with the minimum sanction. What special evidence did CAS have to reject the first instance finding which strongly preferred the word of an experienced anti-doping official over that of Troicki? It's not their job to overturn evidential findings unless there's been a gross abuse of process which is abundantly not the case here. And why did an experienced ATP official stand by in silence and not help out the DCO by bluntly spelling out the consequences to the player who, along with his coach, was probably hectoring and bullying a female DCO into submission. The ATP stood idly by as usual. No need to wonder why.

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    2. I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again. Remember when Ryan Braun tested positive two years ago? He and his team blamed the doping control officer because they claimed the officer handled the sample incorrectly (despite the fact that when the sample was delivered to the lab the bag it was in was fully sealed and intact); Braun got off and he swore up and down he was being framed and the doping control officer was utterly trashed in the process.

      FF to two years later and Braun tests positive again, this time there is no where to run and no where to hide - he finally admits he was doping all along. Of course he doesn't apologize to the official he maligned and (probably) cost him his job.

      Djokovic is a dirtbag and any smidge of respect I had for him has gone out the window. I can never, ever root for him again. And he can keep trashing the doping officials because they can't publicly respond to him or any of the accusations.

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    3. I cosign all of the above comments.

      Since we discussed Murray in the last post, I think it is worth mentioning this bit of Djokovic's insidious, baseless and wholly self-righteous rant:

      >And I heard Andy Murray also said that he wants to take some actions into, you know, making sure that he has the independent laboratory also following his tests that he provides to WADA and IDTM. That says enough.

      So Murray feels accredited labs might manipulate his tests, is that what he is saying here? Now, does he mean in the UCI-type-of covering up way, or is he saying he fears they would willfully manipulate his sample so he comes up with a positive test?

      Or is he saying once he gets declared postive, there is no way to get hold of the samples to have them retested because they treat them negligent? Anywhich way is conspiracy and destracting from the fact that Troicki refused a test and knew what he ahd coming no matter what Djokovic or Murray say -- well, unless Murray would come out and give evidence that this has happened before.

      In any case, Murray is being cited by Djokovic from which I take he is on their side. @ Cynic, what you say?

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    4. @ Team_kickass

      I think it would be wrong to even attempt to form an opinion of a player's view based on what another player spewed during an insane rant. Who knows what Murray even said to Djokovic and in what context. Murray did however tweet yesterday "Read and respect the rules and everything is very simple," which seems to be a thinly veiled criticism of team Troicki / Djokovic etc... No?

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    5. Seems this is the article Djokovic must have read:

      https://twitter.com/CharlieWyett/status/396984519045042176

      [Paywall] http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/5239660/Wimbledon-champ-Andy-Murray-If-I-fail-doping-test-Im-ruined.html

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    6. Well, if I were the player included in that rant, I'd make sure to give Djokovic a call and distance myself from him publically. Afterall, Djokovic used Murray's name for his own purposes and thereby giving the impression, Murray is in his camp.

      Especially since Djokovic has a vested interested to gain followers for his staged revolution against lying DCO's and testing procedures and to proclaim the gluten-free world revolution....

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    7. Yeah it would seem Djokovic referenced Murray because he's the home player, in the hope people would identify more with his attack. Pretty low really given the article is about being thorough. I'd be pissed.

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    8. Do you think Djokovic would have even bothered if this wasn't Troicki? He didn't really do anything about Cilic did he?

      Djokovic is not as valuable as Nadal is to the ITF/ATP. Hopefully, someone worng will get pissed up and he will be outed for his crap.

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    9. @ Team Kickass

      I haven't read the article, and refuse to read The Sun on principle - they like the all the tabloids, are hardly the last bastion of accuracy and reliable reporting are they? The quotes I have read related to this are that Murray is getting any supplements he takes independently tested before he takes them to ensure that they and don't fall foul of any rules. Were but Cillic had done the same. I wouldn't trust a word Djokovic says about doping. Anyone who seriously expects people to believe the gluten free crap, shouldn't be trusted in my eyes. Its such obvious bull**it. What is evident at the moment is that Federer and Murray are vocal about the recent farces, and are publicly criticising Cillic and Troicki, and the lack of effective testing within their sport. Djokovic and Nadal on the other hand support Cillic and Troicki, and lay the blame for what has happened to Cillic and Troicki on the incompetent and unfair drugs testing staff and rules. I think like Federer and Murray, we are all agreed that the drug testing procedures are not fit for purpose. . However it is certainly not the doping control officers who are responsible for that, but a system that seems specifically designed not to catch anyone. Fortunately the system doesn't take any chances, and has back up procedures in place, just in case there is an accident and someone is caught...!!!

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    10. @ Cynic

      First, so you won't just be lurking ;) Which is good.

      As for the Djokovic quote, it's from his presser and not from The Sun (I agree with every word you say about that utterly vile publication) which I would never click even if my dear life depended on it.

      I must have forgotten the link, here it is, albeit belated: http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=94368

      Just a side note, Daily Fail, surprisingly, does a more than decent job (Mike Dickson) reporting critically about tennis. So I do click on that and it is worth while, considering how hard it is to get by more poignant articles on doping in tennis. Though Dickson can only do/say that much unless he wants to get fired.

      People who believe in the latest gluten-free scam also believe that pigs can fly, I honestly can't with those folks. On the subject of being vocal about doping, I dare say Federer is more consistent and open than Murray.

      But let's wait and see how Murray reappears next season, I sincerely would wish for him to really mean what he says, but my cyncial side is winning me over to think he and his handlers simply got the memo that ever post-Armstrong, athletes should at least give the impression that they are vehemently against doping...

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    11. To be honest, I am so disenchanted with it all, if I didn't genuinely like the "flawed genius " that is Murray, I wouldn't bother with the sport at all. I remain of the opinion that Wimbledon 2012 and London 2012 were probably clean, due to the enhanced (I.e. properly applied), doping controls of the games. I don't think it was a coincidence, that both finals were contested by the two players I personally think are clean. I am pleased he got the gold medal. He deserved that for being a child of Dunblane, if nothing else. Equally the US Open last year, and Wimbledon this year have both given a great deal to a town still traumatised. Regardless of what ever else is going on I can't see that as bad thing.

      However with Nadal, Djokovic and Ferrer in the mix, any results are meaningless. They will have been rendered invalid by the simple fact that we can't be sure whether any results were fairly obtained.

      Unlike many people I am taking Murray's anti doping stance in the same way I take Federer's - as genuine. Djokovic criticises the doping control protocols and decisions. and whines its unfair. Murray stands up on national television and says the opposite. I still believe him to be clean. My gut instinct might be wrong. Normally it is not. I will stick with it for the time being.

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    12. Thing is, I would like this sport to act tougher on cheats so it could be clean(er) again. I would want more variety of surfaces and subsequently a variety of play styles and following from that, a variety of winners and not some consolidated kartel at the top as we see it now. I would like Mr. Miller to step down and have an independent testing body installed.

      No sample collected as in Troicki's case would result in a 2 year ban, as would stupidity on behalf of a player ingesting substances without reading labels. I would test the fuck out of players who suddenly go ona winning run. No Actovegin, PRP and Creatine. No eggs, tents and gluten-free bulshit. If your personal trainer already looks like on roids, you'd get banned (see Djokovic) immediately.

      I would want a federation that does not expand to autocratic countries that disrespect basic human rights are misogynist or homophobic or have no WADA accredited test labs let alone a NADA that deserves its name. And I could do with less marketing and more support for traditional, smaller tournaments, less price money, no blue-smurf courts and no crooks organizing tournies (Tiriac et. al) and less rigorous requirements regarding mandatory tournaments for the players. I would like to see no grunting and more time violation penalties, no on court coaching and no endless massaging and medical timeouts. Ban towels, Borg could do without why these towelling orgies? While we are at it, stop plastering courts with bloody annoying advertisements and get rid off interviews right before the match starts.

      I would want to believe in athletes again and root for them and stop having to doubt things. I would want this as well as any other sport to abide to the rules and to stop messing with illegal enhancements and helpers of any sort and see an honest competition instead of the current farce. Stop letting this game get ruined by commercial interests only, run by greedy investment bankers and globally operating media and sports marketing companies and their corporate suits...

      Well, I could stop here, don't know if you share my sentiment, in any case, it s sad the current state of affairs in tennis or sports in general. As of now, it ihas become nearly impossible for me to innocently cheer for this ginger from Dunblane (and many others) unless I get a full lobotomy. Which I won't. But I would like to actually cheer for a good performance again... some times.

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    13. @Teamkickass

      Re above. There is nothing there any true fan could disagree with. I would also add the rampant other cheating that goes unchecked. Janowicz and Raonic getting away with lying about line calls? Certain players and their fake injury time outs etc. The game has lost its way. It needs strong leaders and completely independent drug testing. I don't have any faith in any changes soon.

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    14. "was probably hectoring and bullying a female DCO into submission."

      How can anyone be such an unabashed white knight in 2013?

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    15. "He deserved that for being a child of Dunblane,"

      You people are really fucked in the head.

      How does being lucky enough to not be murdered in a massacre make you deserving of a sporting trophy.?

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    17. @ Tommy Haas. I have never thought being deaf was a positive thing. If it separates me out from non defectives like you, I now glory in it. BTW I still think Murray is clean, and I still think after enduring the trauma of Dunblane, he deserved the Gold Medal. However understanding why, without necessarily agreeing requires an cognitive leap that I suspect is beyond you.

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    19. @ cynic

      Best to ignore that poster. His name, as he has proven time and again here, is a speaking name: Hass (German) = hate.

      Also, yes, Raonic and Janowicz lying about line calls are indeed a disgrace to this sport, yet, in the long list of disgraces, these seem like minor offences.

      My list was long from completion anyway. While we are at it, we may add Uncle Tony's unfair coaching or that obnoxious double towelling action in both corners by Nadal or his making the opponent wait before the coin flip and so forth...

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    20. "I still think after enduring the trauma of Dunblane, he deserved the Gold Medal."

      You do not "deserve" medals. You attain them. Besides, this notion that having suffered something bad entitles you or makes you deserving of something is ludicrous. It is feminized crap and a society that runs on that sort of thinking isn't likely to succeed, which is why I called you out on it.

      Murray "deserved" the medal because he won the final.

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  3. Djokovic is so arrogant and doesn't even try to hide it. He is setting up charities as well and attending fancy fundraisers. Lance all over again. At least Nadal is mostly quiet. This will be remembered as the dark age of tennis.

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  4. ITF response to CAS decision (pre Djokovic rant).......

    "The International Tennis Federation (ITF) accepted CAS' decision to reduce Troicki's ban, but reacted strongly to criticism of anti-doping officials.

    "The ITF, as the administrator of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program on behalf of the Grand Slam tournaments, ATP and WTA, is committed with our partners to protect the integrity of the game of tennis," read an ITF statement issued prior to Djokovic's outburst.

    "We respect the ruling of the CAS ... what is harder to accept is criticism of doping control officers who perform a difficult role.

    "Finally, separate from this decision, we should all remember that exactly one year ago anti-doping programs around the world were under scrutiny.

    "This reinforced the need to be vigilant and apply the rules strictly, something that we and our partners in the tennis anti-doping program strive to do to keep our sport clean."

    and Troicki about Djokovic's support.

    "I have been treated like a criminal"

    "To have the support of a good friend of mine was just amazing at this moment, and I thank him so much. He's really my true friend and I saw that in this moment.

    "Not only him but other players too -- (Jelena) Jankovic, (Janko) Tipsarevic and Rafa (Nadal) have also said nice things."

    From http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/06/sport/tennis/novak-djokovic-troicki-doping-tennis/

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    1. Djokovic should be pulled aside and told that if he criticizes the doping officials in this manner anymore he will face a hefty fine. Not some measly $10,000 (pocket change for Djokovic), but something more substantial. I mean, criticism is fine, but he is going out of his way to slander this doping official and flat-out called her a "liar."

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  5. Lance Armstrong intervewed by Cycling News.

    Lance Armstrong: ... I don’t know. I never planned on testing positive. I was not going to test positive. Ever. No.

    Daniel Benson: Because?

    Lance Armstrong: Because the plan was conservative. It’s funny because I say these things that are the truth and people don’t like it. They say they want the truth, you give them the truth and then they say, ‘fuck, we don’t like the truth.’ It was so conservative, risk adverse and mathematical. It was not going to be a positive test.

    And even more interesting an accidental (???) reference to tennis

    DB: I’d like to go back to the relationships you had in your career. What did it take for you to trust people and to let them into that inner circle?

    LA: That’s hard. It’s one of the things that makes cycling so messy. If it’s a circle of 25 riders at the team, 9 at the Tour, the whole operation is maybe 60 people. It’s not like tennis for example where it’s one player and his trainer. It’s a lot of people involved.

    Complete interviews here

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/lance-armstrong-exclusive-interview-part-3

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    1. To summarize the current situation:

      On the one hand we got a weak federation that keeps drawing futile lines in the sand and only acts somewhat tough and consequential once word got out to the public of an offence - while on the other hand we got plenty of arrogant/smug players like Djokovic, who undoubtedly can afford the best and will surely stick to "conservative, risk adverse and mathematical" approaches to doping, to borrow that key phrase from the uberlord of the dark arts himself, Armstrong.

      Not a good situation. Add to that how Djokovic is trying to instrumentalize the media to portray the ITF as well as the other bodies involved in tennis as inefficient, incompetent and acting "not in favor of the players". SO is he saying that before the new tougher anti-doping laws, there was a time when players where players got pampered and doping was tolerated more? I guess that is what is behind his sweeping blow. Now that the ITF finally got their asses up to change a few screws here and there in their anti-doping programme - which seems to be enough to set off Djokovic and the other 50 pamphletists whose names we still don't know - they begin to discredit the ITF...

      Their motivs are so transpicious... it hurts.

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    2. I don't think there's anything accidental about LA referencing tennis in his interview. Interesting that Cavendish and LA are both having a go at tennis. If anyone would be able to see the tell tale signs, it would be those the cyclists.

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    3. And going further than Armstrong, in tennis even the trainer isn't necessarily involved directly such as when a doping doctor like Del Moral is linked via his clinic to an academy or training base and to whom the player can periodically refer in private. It's just between the player and the doctor despite what the academy may subsequently claim about such visits being "always accompanied". And when the proverbial hits the fan you can just conveniently deny ever knowing the doctor as Ferrer brazenly did despite once being shown together as part of a team in a photograph now strangely withdrawn. That or ascribing your meteoric career rise to a simple change of racquet and claiming a revealed relationship with a known doping doctor was purely incidental.

      It's strange to think how in the whole history of professional tennis no player has ever deliberately taken drugs (because you've got to remember that an esteemed resident of Monaco didn't understand a French dopage warning) and no player has ever gone near a doping doctor apart from once for a simple blood test and once for "recovery treatment" on her way to becoming world No 1.

      Is it any surprise Lance Armstrong thinks he's been hard done by?

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    4. Northwestcircus: "If anyone would be able to see the tell tale signs, it would be those the cyclists."

      Or it could be that, maybe even through the nefarious influence of this very "insidious site", they identified tennis as a weak spot in the semblance of legitimacy that other sports try and project, and are now trying to share the blame around.

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    5. Trying to share blame with tennis certainly, yes. I think anyone who has been involved in cycling during the last twenty years, whether a doper or not (I think Cavendish is clean) would be able to spot a doper from a mile away. Those guys singling out tennis should be seen as an indictment indeed.

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  6. Djokovic is coming across as a bully. But the ATP, ITF, WADA are so weak they'll probably cow-tow to him. Although I don't know if Djoker has as much power as he thinks he does. He might just piss off the wrong person.

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  7. Interesting story via fussballdoping.de

    A trainer with a known doping past, Fabrizio Ravanelli tried to coerce players into using nutrition supplements, most notably Creatine... One player stood up to him and as a result got demoted and bullied. However, after 11 losses, the coach got the boot and said player revealed those shady practices to the public -- very brave!

    This flawless behaviour needs encouragement! Here is to Cilic and all the others what a fine specimen of the human race named Cedric Hengbart had to say:

    >“From the beginning of the season he (Ravanelli) called upon us to take it”, said Hengbart according to LeMonde on the French TV channel Canal+ Sport. “I have been one of only a few who refused to take it.” Hengbart said he played more then ten years in professional football without quack remedies and he does not want to start it at age 33. “To me it feels a bit like doping, even if these products are not doping.”

    http://fussballdoping.derwesten-recherche.org/en/2013/11/trouble-on-corsica/

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  8. Is that a new comment from Agassi? (the one Cavendish mentioned, I mean)
    I should assume it's an old one, because if he's still talking about tennis anti-doping "wonderful" measures, after his OWN admission of tricking the ATP by blaming his trainer / coach / dog / I don't know who, that's rich!

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    1. I think it's an old one....

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    2. I actually think it's from the AO earlier this year, when all the doping talk was going on. He's probably said the same thing in the past though.

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  9. Fed on Troicki and sample collection:

    >“I don't know the conversation, the situation, exactly what happened,” Federer said of Troicki’s situation. "It's very important, I guess, the chaperone, the guy who comes and is next to you like a shadow, sometimes you don't know who that guy is. Sometimes they're a little hesitant because you just lost a match and you look extremely angry, so they don't dare to talk to you. They should probably just introduce themselves and say what is going on.

    “Then you run to the toilet, [and you] can't go to the toilet. It's happened to me one time. Then the guy has to stay with you all night. It just becomes really complicated. But I do believe that when you are requested for a sample, you have to give the sample. It doesn't matter how bad you feel. I'm sorry. Like the test the next day for me is not a test anymore because what could have happened overnight. I don't believe anything. I believe whatever they decided on. I think it's just very important to give the sample when you're requested to give it because there you are in front of them and there is no way to escape anymore. That's where we just need to be extremely firm... Overall I trust the system.”

    http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2013/11/federer-players-must-comply-testing-procedures/49724/#.UnvYjLXRzyl.twitter

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    1. The voice of reason, again:

      "Like the test the next day for me is not a test anymore because what could have happened overnight."

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    2. At least he speaks to the facts, knows the rules and has the guts to tell the truth... Kudos to him.

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  10. Djokovic: Troicki's reason was totally legit, fire the DCO, fuck the system, shame on you all for conspiring against my mate.

    Federer: It doesn't matter how bad you feel. I'm sorry.

    Like night and day. Kudos on Rog for being, in spite of his justifiably cranked up diplomacy dial, openly frank about the situation.

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  11. Djokovic is completely insane: "Novak Djokovic, who attributes his gluten-free regime to transforming his tennis, now has his dog following it."


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/healthyeating/10430422/The-great-gluten-free-scam.html

    I guess they should have asked if his lapdogs name was Victor Troicki.

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    1. Does his dog Pierre get EPO and hGH as well, I wonder?

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  12. Four interesting questions from Nadal's WTF round 2 presser:

    Q. Yesterday you were asked for your views on the decision in the Troicki case. You mentioned that you feel sorry for Viktor. Although you were injured, you two have one thing in common, which is being away from competition for a long time. Do you have any advice for him about how to make it through a long time away from the tour?

    RAFAEL NADAL: I think is a completely different history, so is impossible to compare this thing.

    Mentally probably if his feeling is he did nothing wrong, if he has this feeling, is frustrating mentally. But at the same time, he’s able to practice every day, so that makes a big difference.

    I was not able to practice.

    Q. Novak said last night that he has lost faith and trust in the anti-doping authorities, partly because of the Troicki case. He doesn’t believe they are accurate enough. What do you think about the whole situation, about what he said?

    RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody’s fair to say. You know, I said hundreds of times of what I think about all of this.

    At the end all the words that I can say not going to change nothing. At the end when I talk, the thing about these things, is not good for me, so I prefer to not talk about these things.

    But at the end we have rules. We can like or not bad rules, but we have rules.

    I am very sorry for Viktor because I believe 100% on him. Probably the doctor, you know, make the mistake. But he knows that he has to pass the doping.

    I think the thing that makes sure that the doctor was wrong is Viktor make the control the next day. So that proves that the doctor give him the possibility to make it the other day. That’s the negative point about that.

    But at the end he knows that he has to do the control when, you know, the authorities required. So was a big mistake.

    Q. In your mentality on the court and in life you never give up, you never quit. Recently you said with ATP politics, you quit, you want no more. I want to know, what is it about the tour politics that makes you want to quit?

    RAFAEL NADAL: No, I am focused on my tennis. At the end I am a guy that when I do things, I do the things with everything that I have. I feel that me and another guys tried hard for a few years to make things that can improve the tennis in general and can make the careers longer and can make the life a little bit easier for the players and can make a difference at the end of our careers.

    My thoughts, my worries is my life is not only tennis. I have a life after tennis. I going to finish my tennis career when I going to be young. So I love this sport. I would love to have the chance to be able to keep practicing this sport after my career.

    So with a lot of things that we have on tour, I am really, you know, worried that I will not be able to practice the sport after my career. That’s something that makes me feel very sad.

    But I am talking personally. But I am nobody in this world. I am just one more player, one more career. There are a lot of careers that probably will have the same problem, and is not nice that.

    I am out because I feel with the structure of today, there is nothing to do. That’s my feeling.

    Q. You can’t change anything?

    RAFAEL NADAL: You can change the structure, yes. But I am not enough powerful to change that, and I don’t want to fight more, seriously. I want to play tennis. I want to enjoy the last years of my career, and that’s what I am doing.

    All the things that I feel that can improve, the people who has to know, they know. That’s it. I don’t want to fight more for this thing because at the end I feel that the opportunities with this structure are very low.

    -- http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=94384

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    1. Nadal and Djokovic as well as many others conveniently neglect the fact that Troicki had to sign off the BCF, which clearly stated that no sample collected may be treated as anti-doping violation, to quote from the CAS decision:

      >3.10 The Athlete agreed to sign the notification section of the BCF.
      The box above his signature reads: "I understand that I have been selected for a
      doping control and acknowledge that I have received and read this notice. I
      understand that I must report to the doping control station immediately after
      notification. I understand that any refusal or failure to submit to doping control
      and/or any attempt to interfere with the doping control process may be treated as an
      anti-doping rule violation."
      3.11 The Athlete says that he signed the BCF because he did not want to face sanctions

      So he knew what he had coming and ANY debate out about whether or not the DCO called a doc or told him explicitly over and over again that no sample collected will result in sanctions or whether another official was present or not is secondary and simply unimportant. I mean, really, how many times do you have to tell Troicki stuff before he is able to comprehend?

      Delete
    2. The doctor taking the sample the next day proves exactly nothing. If she refused, they would he howling that she wouldn't allow him to "prove his innocence" Another one throwing the DCO under the bus.... I wonder if they all share anything else in common?

      Delete
    3. But at the same time, he’s able to practice every day, so that makes a big difference.

      I was not able to practice.

      +++Wasn't there a video that surfaced where Nadal is seen practicing in November 2012, a time he supposedly wasn't able to work out on the court due to his knee "problems"?

      Delete
    4. It was on his facebook page:
      https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151196723581026.465277.64822581025&type=1

      Delete
    5. Heh, he could actually practice in November, yet was unable to play until February. Seems legit. NOT. Oh wait, he actually skipped the AO 3 weeks in advance because he was feeling sick. NOW it seems legit. Sorry I doubted you Nadal.

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    6. @Adam, I don't see how this really conflicts with anything. Nadal didn't claim to have a broken leg, a sprained ankle, or a torn achilles heel. He claimed to have tendinitis, an injury that has good days and bad days. On the good days, he may have felt good enough to attempt practice. That attempt was probably followed by bad days, leading him to realize that he wasn't better and needed more rest.

      I know many of you believe Nadal's injuries are fake. I had this discussion at length a few entries ago, and I conceded that there are good reason to suspect he has faked or exaggerated several of his injuries, but this Facebook post by Nadal himself is simply not one of these good reasons.

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    7. Indeed, your assessment could ring true, as nothing is concrete. I feel your assessment could be a little naive though. I suffer from tendonitis in two joints; it tends to flair up linearly with repeated work as well as recover upon rest. It CAN sometimes approach suddenly after being overworked and under extreme loads but it tends to practically incapacitate you from what you are doing (tendon above the knee while squatting in one of my examples - very high pain levels creep in over a few sets, have to stop). A good week's rest and using ice after walking or working works wonders. Anyway, the fact that Nadal would charge around clearly uninhibited and then suddenly require 7 months of rehab (having not needed to stop in the matches leading up to it) seems difficult for me to understand. Tendonitis in my experience is far from being such a binary affair. He seems absolutely fine or absolutely fucked; seldom inbetween and for disturbing amounts of time. If it was so up and down it seems strange that it would suddenly stop being as such for such a long time so as to dominate this year like no other with no problems. At this stage in his career the effects of the condition should by all rights worsen, which the lengthened break would suggest. Funny how it is a recurring up and down problem for a large chunk of his career, but suddenly allows for him to win multiple back to back hard court tournaments in gruelling fashion and conditions. I'm sorry but I just don't buy it. He was clearly fine in the 5th set against Rosol. If it was at '7 month rehabilitation' levels he wouldn't have been able to move. Even slightly slowed movement in professional tennis would absolutely cane in such a circumstance. The funny thing is, those other ailments you listed would probably require LESS time than Nadal required.

      As for the facebook post, it is the amount of time that is puzzling. He is a professional tennis player. He can literally afford to have COMPLETE rest. Joe public has to go stack shelves or work in a warehouse or something; actually do shit that might aggravate tendonitis. So he hits a few balls because of a 'good day' - as I say tendonitis tends to be more linear in my experience so the only thing I could consider is the fact that he aggravated it with his practice.

      Also, the excuse to skip the AO is still, to me, unacceptable. It is a mandatory event, and having slightly mucked up training due to illness doesn't qualify as anything but in my book.

      Peace and chips.

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    8. @Adam,

      It would be interesting to survey a group of orthopedists to find out whether there is any reasonable explanation for Nadal's knees.

      If his knees are really fine, what's your explanation for his extended absences. Secret doping suspensions?

      > It is a mandatory event

      Players seem to be able to skip events for any number of reasons. I can't remember who it was, but a player recently skipped an event due to "fatigue". It seems to me that whatever the excuse, the points system is there to ensure that players are properly punished for missing mandatory events.

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    9. Adam,

      You said a mouthful. Excellent summary.

      And keep in mind the following:

      - according to Mister Tenderknees, himself, he played golf almost every day he was off. Nadal plays golf right-handed, which means his front knee is his "ailing" left knee. The front knee in golf is the one that receives all the torque from the downswing. See one El Tigre Woods. It makes perfect sense that an athlete in fear of his career due to a left knee injury would play golf every day while "recuperating" from his "injury."

      - according to Mister Tenderknees, himself, his knees were fine by the AO. He skipped the AO due to a "virus."

      - despite evidently not being able to practice for 7 months he didn't lose an ounce of stamina. His legendary stamina was supposed to come from his relentless hard work. Now, evidently, he no longer needs to relentlessly work hard to maintain his conditioning. Nevermind the fact that Team Nadal can't seem to decide whether Nadal's knees no longer allow him to practice like he used to or whether Nadal's new-found mastery of hardcourts came from relentlessly working hard on his game.

      Nothing will ever convince me that Nadal's "hiatus" was due to a career-threatening knee injury.

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    10. @swisscheese40

      The real question to me is whether someone with Nadal's (supposed) injury could possibly have had the year he has had.

      > he played golf almost every day

      Golf? Isn't that the sport where you ride around on a cart and swing a club or putter once like every 10 minutes? Are you seriously saying this is a feat that couldn't reasonably be performed by someone with a bad knee?

      > his knees were fine by the AO. He skipped the AO due to a "virus."

      Whether the virus was real or not (or a good excuse, even if it was real), what does this have to do with his knees?

      > despite evidently not being able to practice for 7 months he didn't lose an ounce of stamina

      From what I recall, Nadal didn't claim to cease all training during those 7 months, he just didn't play tennis. Of your three points, though, this is the only one that resonates with me. Even if Nadal was able to maintain a high level of general fitness, it is pretty incredible he got to the finals of his first tournament and then proceeded to win pretty much everything not on grass until after the US Open.

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    11. DanM,

      Yes I absolutely am seriously saying that golf is one of the last things a professional athlete "recovering" from a career-threatening knee injury would play, We aren't talking about you or me. We're talking about a guy whose knees are everything to him. We're talking about a golden goose potentially missing out on millions upon millions of dollars if he has to retire. If Phil Mickelson was having knee problems and went to his orthopedist and was diagnosed as having a very serious case of tendonitis (oh, yeah, and Hoffa's Syndrome to boot) do you honestly believe his doctor would tell him to rest his knees for a couple months, but that it's fine to go ahead and play golf every day while he's resting? Please. Nadal was supposedly afraid he'd never be able to play tennis again, yet he chose to go out and play golf every day, as well as evidently being able to do whatever it took to avoid losing an ounce of stamina. Go ahead and play's devil's advocate with those facts.

      His "virus" has absolutely nothing to do with his knees. Where did I claim it does? I don't think he has bad knees period. So I don't think anything he does has anything to do with his "knees." It does, however, add another layer to his ever-growing stack of lies. What are the odds that an athlete coming off a 6 month layoff due to a career-threatening injury would be healed and ready to return only to contract some undisclosed "virus" that forces him to withdraw from a tournament that's still 3 weeks away? He didn't have a knee injury and he didn't have some mystery virus.

      Oh, ok, so explain to me what "training" he did, that didn't involve tennis, that didn't involve running that helped him keep his ridiculous level of stamina that in past years he oddly loses about a month after the US Open and usually doesn't regain until the clay court season . Swimming? Did he ride his bike forty miles a day? Playstation 3? Nintendo Wi?

      Delete
    12. > If Phil Mickelson was having knee problems...

      Wouldn't a pro golfer spend hours a day practicing their swing? That's what I'd expect to be the cause of his knee issues, not the actual playing. In any case, whether a golf swing would aggravate Nadal's particular injury (assuming it's real) is a matter of biomechanics.

      > add another layer to his ever-growing stack of lies...

      I see what you're getting at. I just chalked it up to Nadal simply not feeling ready and needing a medical reason to miss the event. I believe that most players make up excuses for missing tournaments because the ATP requires them to have a medical waiver to miss a mandatory event. If you think that's cheating, fine, but I don't think that alone is enough to condemn someone as a pathological liar.

      > so explain to me what "training" he did, that didn't involve tennis, that didn't involve running

      From http://www.10sballs.com/2013/10/08/the-story-behind-nadals-comeback/

      -----

      "...two gymnasium devices to try and help the 27 year-old overcome the tendinitis around his knees. One is a state-of-the-art contraption that controls, via computer, the exact amount of pressure being placed on muscle groups. The other a running machine that encloses the body from the waist down and creates an atmosphere, which lessens the pressure on joints.

      "However Nadal himself was insistent: “The machines I have at home, the only thing they help me is to make me a little bit more fit without having to run make an aggression on the tendon.”

      -----

      Also, the fact that Nadal did miss the AO gave him perhaps as much as two months in total to train on court before his first tournament. That said, I grant you that his year has been a pretty remarkable and unlikely feat if his injury was as bad as he claims.

      Delete
  13. More quotes from Fed, note the amount of tests he underwent in 2012 - also how well he seems to remember test figures. So he clearly has an agenda and cares - unlike others.

    >We’re not getting maybe tested enough,” the Swiss player said at a news conference in London. “I think I was tested 25 times in 2003-2004. It’s been clearly going down this season.”

    So there is less testing is what he is saying, despite the bloodpassport being introduced...? Paging Mr. Miller!



    >Federer said that he wasn’t tested for drugs during a February-March 2012 run of three straight tournament titles in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells.

    “For me, that’s not OK,” he said. “You just show up and test a guy that’s winning everything. That’s sometimes what I struggle with.”

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    2. >Federer said that he wasn’t tested for drugs during a February-March 2012 run of three straight tournament titles in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells.

      “For me, that’s not OK,” he said. “You just show up and test a guy that’s winning everything. That’s sometimes what I struggle with.”

      +++Wow! a thinly-veiled dig at Nadal circa 2013. Love it.

      As much as I enjoy watching Federer play, I can't wait to read his autobiography once he retires. Hopefully he'll have great takes about the 4 roided-up monkeys currently sitting atop the ATP tour.

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    3. Murray has an autobiography coming out...


      Let's see what he has got to say - or not.

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    4. Not holding my breath. All he's gonna say is "hard work this, hard work that". It's always the same with those defiant bozos.

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    5. Murray used to be one of the biggest whiners in regards to doping controls and drug testing in tennis but he has toned it down considerably since the Lance Armstrong revelations. Lately he has been leaning more towards the Federer-side of doping tests in tennis rather than the Djokovic-Nadal line.Whether Murray keeps it up or not I have no idea.

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    6. Federer has long been calling the number of tests inadequate. He openly admits that it is utter nonsense that he and the other players aren't tested more. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he thinks/knows Djokovic/Nadal/Murray/Ferrer/etc. are doping and just can't flat-out say it. If you read between the lines he subtly implies it. As friendly as he and Nadal can be with one another you will never convince me that Federer deep down thinks Nadal is clean.


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    7. Going by body language alone (flawed ''analysis'' incoming, i know, lol), he doesn't seem to react as negatively and doesn't seem as annoyed as a couple years back when he loses to his top three nemeses. Maybe because it's just that he is getting used to losing against them or maybe he knows something is not right with those human backboards.

      Again, his future memoirs have the potential to be quite interesting.

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    8. Well if he is really clean, then he should find the balls to speak up now, not in 10 years.

      Delete
  14. The big players have done their drugs for the time being. The heat is on presently and the ITF has done its bit by warning a few off in private. The professional game will roll on into 2014 safe in the knowledge that testing is now in disarray, the testers demoralised and that even if caught a cock and bull story will suffice. Well done CAS. You must be proud.

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  15. I don't know how to share properly, but I just saw this on Heavy Topspin, a (very interesting) blog about statistical analysis of tennis data: http://heavytopspin.com/2013/11/07/david-ferrer-and-defiance-of-the-aging-curve-updated-wtforecast/, and found it too topical not to pass around.

    I especially liked the conclusion of this otherwise very non-committal piece of writing: "Eventually, nature will stop David Ferrer. Precedents or no precedents, though, he’s a hard man to bet against. He hasn’t been particularly constrained by nature thus far." It really begs one to add that, maybe, nurture from TenisVal helped him stretch his natural limits, doesn't it?

    Also relevant (about late-in-career achievers): http://heavytopspin.com/2013/11/02/richard-gasquet-and-fifty-win-seasons/

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    1. Interesting piece as you say; thanks for posting!

      Currently watching him grind down another shot-maker today. I used to admire Ferrer greatly for his tenacity and grit, but the more time goes by and the more he puts on these unprecedented demonstrations of physicality, I can't help but feel great displeasure at his winning in this manner. It's monumentally frustrating to watch, given the ominous circumstances and statistics surrounding his past, his Nation, and his unprecedented defiance of age.

      Oh, and this current performance is him supposedly tired after playing a lot of tennis.

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    2. I'm not that surprised about Gasquet: most of his victories this year came at smallish tournaments, the talent has always been there, and it was a question of having the right coach IMHO. In addition ot that, his game hasn't changed a bit, he's not firing aces right and left like others, he's not running like the Energizer bunny along the baseline.

      Ferrer, on the other hand... I'm old enough to remember a time when these players went down at 24, 25 max: Chang, Hewitt, all of them had their best seasons while still young. Once they lost half a step, they were toast, because they didn't have the power to compensate the loss of speed. Ferrer? Keeps on running and had his best season ever at 31!!! Un-freaking-believable!

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    3. Alright, Ferrer out, he is 20:8 this year - unbelievable and whenever I use that word, I really mean it is inconvincing as to how on earth he does it without little helpers.

      So one Swiss on to the next round, another still to go!

      Side note: Stan was so cheeky when asked if at least for tonite he will be a Nadal fan... he simply could not resist to take another dig at uncle Tony and his unfair coaching antics... I approve!

      Apperently Tony gives his charge advise as to where to place his serve, this is what Stan complained about, rightly.

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    4. It is still astonishing to me that the Del Moral scandal was not a bigger story.Several prominent tennis players (Errani, Safina, Ferrer, Kirilenko, etc.) trained at the academy where he was the main doctor. He also worked extensively with the USPS cycling team/Lance Armstrong and several cyclists named him as the architect of their doping regimen.

      That Errani, Ferrer, and others escaped any scrutiny of their sudden rise in play (other than a few questions at the 2012 U.S. Open) has me utterly convinced that a good majority of those involved in tennis (from ITF, ATP, WTA, journalists, and the commentators) could care less about doping in tennis.





      Delete
  16. Different sport, but THIS is an athlete with legitimate knee issues:

    PHILADELPHIA -- Despite making an encouraging return from devastating knee injuries, Andrew Bynum is still pondering whether to continue to play the game and battle ongoing knee pain or retire.
    On Friday, Bynum hopes to do something he wasn't able to do all of last year, which is play in Philadelphia. He missed all of the 2012-13 season with knee issues after the 76ers executed a major trade for him and planned to make him a franchise cornerstone. But even as he's defied the odds by returning to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bynum is still in discomfort following surgeries to both knees earlier this year.

    "Retirement was a thought, it was a serious thought. It still is," Bynum said after Cavs practice Thursday at Temple University. "It's tough to enjoy the game because of how limited I am physically. I'm working through that. Every now and again I do [think about retirement]. …It's still career-threatening. I'm a shell of myself on the court right now. I'm just struggling mentally."
    ---snip---
    The team is being careful with him, not playing him in back-to-back games and going easy in practice. But he still says he has sharp pains at times in his knees and is battling soreness after games. He's lost significant weight and has been contributing but isn't satisfied with his situation.
    When Bynum played on opening night for the Cavs, it was the first time in more than 560 days that he'd played in an NBA game. He's played in four games so far, averaging 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13 minutes a game. In the Cavs' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, he had 10 points and three blocked shots, showing his progress.
    "I just want to be able to play without pain and find the joy again," Bynum said. "Right now I'm battling pain and it's annoying. I'm not able to do the things I'm used to doing and it's frustrating."

    +++He is not back on the court faster and stronger than ever before and outrebounding everyone. He is struggling hard to get back to his usual standards. On the other hand, Nadal who milks his knee problems whenever he can/it's convenient, returns this year after an injury layoff and arguably plays better than he has ever had before. Yet, the press is pretty much like "how can you doubt the great champion"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the same with Greg Oden, who has had serious knee problems and is a shell of the player he was at Ohio State and has had a dismal NBA career.

      Delete
  17. Link to BBC article where "Murray criticises doping offense duo"

    Calls them "unprofessional" and believes there needs to be "zero tolerance."

    Says, "I personally myself would never go and buy something over the counter in a pharmacy - it's just unprofessional,"

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/24872914

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    1. He probably heard that Djokovic used his name in Djoker's rush to defend Troicki. Sounds like Murray is making it clear he wants nothing to do with that junk and good on him for making it clear.

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    2. Good on him for making it clear alright, but the following quote strikes me as interesting: "I personally myself would never go and buy something over the counter in a pharmacy - it's just unprofessional,"

      Of course you wouldn't go to a drugstore "personally yourself" Andy, you surely have a personal doctor who would take care of everything for you instead.

      Or maybe I am too jaded.

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    4. He's clearly implying that at best Cilic is a douche for digesting something he (or his mother) bought from a random drug store, in a random city because you can never be certain about what it contains. Stupidity is no excuse.

      "Any supplement that you're taking, whether it's a protein shake or fish oils, or anything like that, you get it checked.

      "We are professional athletes now - there's no excuses.

      Delete
  18. Interesting to see how this has evolved.......

    Firstly, we get the Serbian PR machine, with its vicious DCO attack, and anti-testing rhetoric.

    Next, the Press generally (apart from a minority of smarter journalists) fail to get to root of the issue, repeatedly mentioning the "negative blood test".

    Then Nadal chimes in, feigning ignorance, and reinforcing this fallacy, saying the 24 hr late test proves innocence, and blaming the DCO, but admitting Troicki shared some blame.

    Next, we get Federer, who has the balls to point out that "the emperor has no clothes", and that athletes know that refusing a test, is refusing a test, and coming back the next day is meaningless.

    And then Murray backs-up that sentiment.

    For me, the key thing is that those latter statements force the Press and public to address the facts, and not just surf the wave of propaganda that was washing over them.

    I never know who to trust in sport, anymore, but it is interesting to see where people position themselves in the debate on this issue.

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    1. Yeah its really easy to say the right things and be all fluffy and nice in press conferences when everything is fine and normal. But then when a couple of big, emotive doping cases come along and rock the boat, it kind of forces you to reveal your true colours. It's caused a very interesting (and revealing) split in the pack. If the press could stir the pot a little, maybe create a little resentment, perhaps whip up a bit of a feud between the camps, then interesting things might suddenly get revealed!

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  19. Nadal is losing 5-0 in the second set against Berdych, what is going on (he won the first 6-4)?

    P.S. Can't watch at the moment.

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    2. 6-1. Well, my guess, after Wawrinka's public comments on Uncle Tony's unfair coaching, he might want to make sure, Stan won't get to the next round...

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    3. I guess Nadal's narcissism far outweighs his hatred of all things Swiss. He decided not to tank after all. In with Stan, out with Tomas.

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  20. I just wanted to point out this article. http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/nov/08/andy-murray-viktor-troicki-marin-cilic. Andy Murray has tended to get a bad rap on this site and I do believe this has been fair in some cases.

    He has repeatedly stated that up until the Armstrong scandal he was completely naïve regarding doping in sports and in his sport in particular. He Armstrong scandal opened his eyes and he has been an extremely vocal anti-doping advocate since. By far the most vocal of the leading players and he clearly follows the stories as they emerge and comments where necessary. I believe this site should recognise this

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    1. The case on Murray is not closed here and while looking at his latest performances or his exceptional physique & fitness lately makes you questions stuff, there seems to be a contradiction of sorts. I also agree with you that Armstrong indeed must have been an eye opener for him.

      The question is: in what sense it was.

      The USADA decision indeed changed things for him and he has been rather vocal about his anti doping stance, unlike before, where he scolded snitches and mantained testing is a bloody bother. That said, word is not out if he has simply changed his tune for image reasons or was completely naive/in denial before to not realize how certain performances of Armstrong or others also in tennis reeked of doping...

      While I appreciate his new tune most certainly, I am not sure how this 160 degree turn came about and if he indeed means what he says. Was he just shocked by Armstrong's downfall? I still can't believe how he could have been so utterly stupid previously to think out of all sports, his sport, with players like Nadal and Ferrer, would be clean, I mean, he comes across like an intelligent kid... Beats me.

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    2. You've answered your own question, he was just a "kid." We know he has been prone to saying silly things - (remember England football team joke and how long people took to forgive?) He was only in his early twenties when he was critical about testing (shattered and irritable on at least one of those occasions). Yes, he was too idealistic/naive about the sport he loves but there's not doubt in the last few years he has grown up both on and off the court.



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    3. I agree completely Northwestcircus

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    4. That was two years ago and he was not a kid. He was a top player and he knew about doping in tennis. Because he's not an idiot. So find a better explanation please.

      Delete
    5. Aw shucks, I meant to write 180° turn...


      And yes, JMF is right, it was rather recently that Murray seemed arrogant and in denial about doping, I just can't be arsed to look it up, but it is somewhere on this blog.

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    6. JMF

      The comment your referring to was just after he lost that 5 setter AO semi to Djok and he wasn't complaining about testing per say. He was complaining about being made to wait half an hour between doing urine and blood at 1 am.

      "They just told me I need to sit down for 30 minutes before I can give blood," Murray said. "I want to get out of here, so I'm annoyed with that, which on top of losing a match like that, it's really a frustrating thing to have to go through at 1:00 in the morning."

      The other two comments he made were at the 2009 US open and Wimbledon same year. He would have been 22.

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    7. Let me get this straight: So, there is this eternal 'kid', going through the best 'regular' mills of sifting the potential money-making 'professionals', seeing himself miraculously growing slabs of muscles beyond his relatively slander frame, as naive as any well protected 8-year-old girl and, blessedly oblivious of any evil, calling his colleagues who (for whatever reason) talk about doping "snitches", and, therefore, righteously "annoyed" that he, of all players, has to wait "for 30 minutes (!) before [he] can give blood" - who, as soon as at the tender age of 26, finally realised there might, indeed, be doping in tennis, and, oh so graciously, let the world know about his insight... Wow.

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    8. Oops, "slender [frame]", of course, not "slander".

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    9. Melch,

      Add to that the fact that if it were the Armstrong "revelation" that opened Murray's eyes to doping that means he was one of about 7 people left on the planet that still believed Armstrong never doped. Even Armstrong's most ardent supporters had basically accepted that he doped and had moved on the "yeah he did but so did everyone else" mantra. There really wasn't a serious person left that wasn't blinded by the (false) belief that Armstrong/Livestrong was "funding cancer research" (it wasn't/doesn't) that believed Lance Armstrong was clean. Except Andy Murray I guess.

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    10. A lot of people believed in Armstrong back in 2009. A lot more were on the fence. A ton were convinced that he was doping, but most of those were avid followers of cycling. The casual fans were still buying the narrative in droves.

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  21. Identical to what Miller said last year. I think that statement has been recycled:

    From 2012:
    http://www.dropshotdispatch.com/2012/11/05/itf-responds-to-federers-doping-comments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=itf-responds-to-federers-doping-comments

    The ITF’s Stuart Miller, who is in charge of the federation’s doping program, responded via email to Drop Shot Dispatch as follows:

    “As far as the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) is concerned, the statistics don’t support the suggestion that there is less testing, in that Roger Federer was tested an average of 8 times per year from 2004-2006, 11 times per year from 2007-2009, and 9 times per year in 2010-2012 (testing in 2012 is incomplete, so this number may change slightly).The number of tests conducted on tennis players by National Anti-Doping Organisations is not known, and it’s possible that such testing may have been more frequent in the past.”

    --

    What's bad is that if Stuart Miller is asked about Federer's recent statement he will probably have the same response this year as well.

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    1. Miller is an idiot. 9 is less than 11. So, if you used to have 11 test per year and now you have 9 tests per year, then that is "less testing." The fact that at some point in the distant past you may have had less test is completely irrelevant. And even then, when you do the math, there are 9.5 test per year (on average) between 2004-2009 and 9 test per year in 2010-2012. So, again, 9 is less than 9.5 (Miller probably skipped math class the day they taught decimals.)

      But hey, he has mastered the art of cut-and-paste.

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  22. Latest Armstrong Interview (Nov. 5 2013):

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/lance-armstrong-exclusive-interview-part-1

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  23. Very good article on money laundering and gambling in the UK. I belief Simon Cambers over at The Tennis Space recently penned an article on that subject and how readily tennis has been embracing online betting companies as sponsors. After having read the Guardian article, I think the ITF should seriously reconsider their policy regarding "Bet-At-Home Cups" and that sort of thing.



    Unless they want to makes sure tennis' own drug dealers have a smooth and equally safe way to launder their money from selling hGH etc... ;)

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/08/gambling-machines-drug-money-laundering-bookies

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  24. I know it's all been said above, but Djokovic has really debased himself even further with these comments. He is not simply showing blind faith in a friend who refused a blood test, He is taking the issue and making it about the whole doping process, the whole reliability of results themselves, when the only issue at hand was whether Troicki should have been allowed to skip a test or not. (Which of course he shouldn't have.)

    When Djokovic says "I don't know if they're going to misplace the test that I have or anything worse than that" he is coming up with a line of argument which has NOTHING to do with the original problem (i.e. that Troicki skipped the blood test). Troicki missing his blood test has zero to do with blood tampering, which Djokovic has now dreamt up as an issue.

    Why did he do this? As someone else stated above, **he is giving himself a way-out should be test positive at any point**. He knows the media will gleefully reprint these comments, and Djokovic can look like he pre-empted this "tampered-with positive test" way back in November 2013. But in reality, he's more like a perfectly well employee, throwing in a few token coughs on a Wednesday because he knows he's got Wimbledon/Melbourne/Flushing Meadow tickets on Thursday and he intends to call in sick.

    And let's not even get started on the fact that Djokovic just takes Troicki's word as gospel without even considering for a second the testimony of the experienced DCO. Djokovic's first words were effectively "I've been friends with him since I was 8...", yet he still does not consider himself biased *because* of this?!

    Also, he knows full well that Troicki knows things about him, and he must show blind faith in Troicki in order for Troicki never to say anything dark. And, Djokovic does not want the public thinking that tennis players, let alone Serbs, let alone Serbs who magically, and suddenly, went from weakling to Superman in early January 2011, could possibly be dopers.

    Part of me now wants to root for Nadal against Novak if they meet in this WTF final, or Australia... Djokovic has shown his true scumbag colours...

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    1. It's really awful stuff from Djokovic. At best he's taking his love of country and loyalty to friends to ridiculous and unhealthy extremes.

      Delete
    2. Misery - a truly great post!

      Delete
    3. Excellent post Mystery and all your points I agree with wholeheartedly.

      Delete
    4. Djokovic:
      “...because of her negligence and because of her unprofessionalism, he is now off the tour for one year. And now it makes me nervous as a player to do any kind of test.”

      I think Djokovic should refuse to do any testing from now on, just to prove that he believes his own bizarre logic.

      How many "Dear Mr Miller" letters have been written over the years? Will we ever know?

      And which players were known to become ill whenever they were losing?

      Delete
  25. UK antidoping testing at the WTF?
    https://twitter.com/normansweden/status/396934545947508736

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    1. Hope they also tested the fuck out of Djokovic - while they are at it.

      @Mystery - all the above! Splendid post.
      ( Just fight that part in you that urges you to root for Nadal - maybe channel all your energies for Wawrinka instead?)

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    2. I wonder if that's UKADA personnel doing ITF testing, not sure if that's possible.

      Seems a bit wasteful duplication otherwise ...... although maybe they looked at the itf programme and weren't exactly impressed :-)

      Delete
  26. Gil Reyes speaks.

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

    About strength in todays sports :

    "...it shows you that getting bigger and stronger is important. It’s the case in baseball too. Players are being caught taking steroids, and of course there’s no place for that in the game, but if strength wasn’t important, they wouldn’t be doing that.”


    About the need for strength in todays tennis :

    Djokovic is often perceived as being more lean and wiry than muscular, but Reyes said that the players at the top of the game now were far stronger than their counterparts in the 1990s.

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

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    1. Good pick up... I've been looking for Gil Reyes quotes for ages...... There's a story there.....

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    2. I believe another story regarding Reyes' early career highlights may have disappeared from the internet. I thought I read once that he was caught feeding steroids to high school footballers and was banned as a result but I cannot be sure as I can no longer find the article and Google turns up nothing. It might have been just a rumour or someone else entirely, I don't know.

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  27. As we would hope, the two obviously cleanest athletes will be contesting the the final of the WTF in London. Another glorious day for our sport.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Someone should do a montage of Nadal through the years to see how he has changed. How don't know what he uses, but he has become bulkier and far stronger (with no apparent loss of speed) since his sleeveless shirt days - and even then there were rumours about his using PEDs.

      P.S. Richard: what's your take on Del Potro? To these uneducated eyes, he seems clean. In retrospect, I sort of wish he would have won yesterday as he doesn't seem to suffer from an inferiority complex against Nadal, as opposed to RF.

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    3. "seem to suffer from an inferiority complex against Nadal, as opposed to RF"

      Federer is a 32 year old man who played a tough 3 setter the day before and whose 1hbh is utterly ineffective against Nadal's FH.

      Mentality has nothing to do with it you buffoon.

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    4. Del Potro? Has he shown dramatic physical changes, incredible stamina, incurred injuries that improve rather than impede his performance, discovered a new wonder diet, or such like? He isn't an obvious candidate for doping, but then neither were Cilic and Troicki. In a way, we have been spoiled by the Nadal's, Djokovic's, Murray's (sorry, guys) and Ferrer's - spotting them as dopers is like shooting fish in a barrel.

      But if we have a sport that has a doping problem, which is what WADA experts are saying (I have also been told as much by a contact in WADA) then no one can be guaranteed clean and the likelihood is that most aren't - otherwise we don't have a problem, do we?

      The culprit, I have been told, is that the enforcement bodies don't want to catch the cheats. So if that is the situation even your favorite player could be doping - we just don't know. But some seem to dope more than others. And why wouldn't they? As Dick Pound (former WADA head) has said - "only the dumb or the careless get caught". And the rewards for getting away with it are enormous.

      Delete
    5. @Tommy Haas.

      Your manner of debate really distinguishes you, doesn't it? There is only one "buffoon" here. Congratulations.

      Delete
    6. @ Richard

      One item not on your list specifically, is recovery time. One of the least subjective but most damning signs (for me anyway), is the ability to play two long five setters in a row and then offer to do press ups; or the ability to go on an incredible game/tournament winning streak.

      I think I recall a 5 tourney winning steak from Delpo before the run up to the 2008 US open (although they were smaller events). But then he also did well at Wimbledon this year and the Olympics last year where doping controls were said to be tighter. Its is hard to tell with him, especially as he doesn't seem to be quite the same player as he was in 08/09 before his wrist injury.

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    8. @Northwestcircus

      As you say, it is hard to tell with Delpo, as nothing really stands out about his performances to raise the doping flag. We have seen him tire in long matches, or hard consecutive three-setters as in a masters series tournament. But then he could still be doping and his natural base level of fitness could be much lower than we see. We just don't know about these things. It can be very hard to conclude some players are doping when the signs are not obvious.

      But when doping is easy to get away with - which we do know for a fact is true for many professional sports, including tennis - then, sadly, no one can be above suspicion. Of course, some appear more suspicious than others. Delpo doesn't appear to fall into the latter category. But can we believe that success is possible in professional sports now without doping? If the answer is "no" then just about everybody near the top of their sport must be presumed to be taking something.

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    9. I think the fact that the ITF is indeed doing the most to avoid catching cheats has been established here for quite a while, the combined posts by Sen and THASP over the years pay testament to that, Richard.

      WADA (and your contact) confirming this seems helpful for whatever that is worth, however, the actual help here would be to call them out more vociferously. A first step would be to make available all their collected tribunal's decisions, especially their acquitals, to the public - no doubt those would create a stir and facilitate rethinking of doping in tennis.

      These "decisions" (I use this word ironically, for they represent lazy thinking and are characterized by readily denying the obvious in favor of purely fictional explanations, so they are anything but decisions, they are weak indecisions imo) being hidden from the public, for good reason, methinks: those "decisions" would only expose the ITF's continuous shoddy efforts in acquiting dopers and document their painfully flawed reasoning and overly generous exoneration policy whenever they collected a positive sample.

      I wish WADA had the right to request those decisions and make them available to the public eye. I bet their window dressing would fall apart instantly.
      WADA should also demand more transparent testing stats, as we have been decrying here for years...

      As you rightly said, under current ITF programme everybody could easily dope, the ITFs turning a blind eye policy is to blame for the current deplorable state we find tennis in. This is greatly helped by cowardly journalism and a lack of investigation.

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    10. Regarding Del Potro I go back and forth. Argentina has had an awfullyhigh amount of dopers in tennis, so I am naturally skeptical of any claims of De Potro being totally clean. However, as stated by others, he does seem to tire more easily than other top players and it actually takes him a while to recover from significant injuries.

      2013 is really his first quality year on tour since 2009. From what I understand, he still has problems with his wrist and it looks like it affects him on occasion. It has taken him a long time to come back from his wrist injury. He is good, but nowhere near the player he was when he won the 2009 U.S. Open

      Delete
    11. Regarding today's final? It's like choosing which disease you'd rather be diagnosed with. Who is the lesser of two evils in this match? I'd prefer that neither wins, but Djokovic's comments and behavior the last couple of weeks have been so unbecoming and caked in douchiness that I hope he loses.

      I wish this was either Federer-Djokovic or Nadal-Wawrinka so I could have someone to root for.

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    12. @ Seeya

      Best possible final: Wawrinka v. Federer, no?

      As Federer said, his win against Delpo felt already like a final. I take this to mean that if everybody would indeed play clean, those impossible runs we see would not be happening. Meaning a match against Nadal would be more open and both would be battling with fatigue and going for quicker points.

      Assuming for a moment that Federer is indeed clean, it would mean that even with his best efforts (and despite back pains) this is how far he can get at the WTF this year. While a player whose recovery time is owed to illegal practices and whose endurance uberhuman and who keeps retrieving shots and makes you play the extra ball so as to prevent Federer from making quick points will inevitably win only by this physical advantage alone.

      These players are like an insurmountable wall, and in Federer's or any other undoped player's case, this must be utterly frustrating.

      Delete
  28. I have two questions:
    1. I've been wondering about this one for a long time. Do you think tennis players know whether/what the others are using?
    2. Based on the most recent Armstrong interview: Is there anyone who beliefs LA was clean in 2009/2010?

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    1. 2) The cycling community was highly skeptical but not overwhelmingly convinced that he was cheating in 2009/10. However they were 100% certain that Lance would test positive for being an asshole bully. You could probably look through the archives of podiumcafe.com to see what I'm talking about, especially for posts during the 2009 Tour de France (if those are still up). PodiumCafe is one of the few places on the internet with generally intelligent discussion, and even they mostly fell for Alberto Contador. They were hesitant to brand Landis as a doper until he came out and confessed. So there's always a lot of "How am I supposed to know?"

      Of course you could just thrown your hands up and accuse everyone of cheating. One, you'll be proven right a lot. Two, you'll never be proven wrong. But three, if you really believe that, then you'll probably give up following professional sports altogether. Maybe you'll become a Magnus Carlsen fanboy instead. :)

      Delete
  29. GuntherL1, I have two answers:
    1. Yes, they do (except for the mentally impaired amongst them).
    2. Of course, there are legions of Cancer-Jesus-freaks to whom, in the light (!) of their faith, the obvious means nothing at all. If it were not so, there would be no need for blogs such as this one.

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  30. Interesting wording from Federer. I included the whole snip for context, but the first sentence...the world "naturally," I wonder if he's trying to distance himself from a doping accusation war:

    "I think he definitely starts to play naturally better, on the quicker courts,” Federer said. “There was no way around that because usually 70 percent of the tour you play is on hard court. So he just had to get used to that more. How old was he when I played him first, 18? That is still young. The improvement you’re going to make from 18 to 22 is always going to be an extreme one, especially in his situation, because he’s a quick learner. He’s a great player. Everybody played to his weakness. Everybody played the backhand, like everybody played at my backhand at first. That becomes more consistent. Then they go harder to your forehand. Then you improve that. Eventually you become that well-molded player he is today. I think he improved lots."

    Thoughts? :-/

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    1. @Jonathan, well what else can Fed say given Nadal's unbelievable HC record this year. And the fact that Nadal finally beat fed on an indoor court. What else is he gonna say?

      The better question is, why is is hardcourt record occuring on his 12th year on tour, at age 27, in a year after missing nearly 7 months due to bad knees.

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    2. This is something I am curious about. Does peaking later really constitute a sign of doping? I can understand if a player like Ferrer or Vinci looks like he/she started dabbling in the Dark Arts in order to prolong their careers. But I see the same arguments made about Serena, who if anything, looks like she's been juicing since day one. Wouldn't that help her early career as much as it helps' her later in tennis life...if not more than?

      I'm just trying to wrap my head around the way-too-old-to-peak argument.

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  31. I think you are right to suspect that Federer can't so much as hint that anything is awry with Nadal's performance, while he is losing to him. The tennis world would descend on his head were he to do so.

    Whatever he privately suspects he probably keeps to himself, and confines his observations about doping to general issues of testing, not individual players - and certainly not players who have not failed a dope test (that we know of.) So I don't think we can read too much into his comments, except to see they are what would be expected for someone in his (losing) position.

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    1. Pretty much. Federer would be slammed mercilessly if he ever was more direct in doping accusations. I can only imagine his anger and frustration at continually being asked about Nadal's game and why Nadal keeps beating him.

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    2. But he IS - by way of providing seemingly quite an insightful reason - defending a suspicious player. Many people hang on his every word and will now see Nadal's improvement as entirely plausible. (Or at least try to justify it by referencing Fed's comments). That's now considerable damage done. Better to say no comment unless he feels he has to defend the guy because he too has something to hide.

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    3. I find it interesting--and perhaps unfortunate--that he injected the word "naturally" into his analysis. I'm probably picking at nits but he could have just as easily made the same analysis with different wording.

      Federer is making so much money off of his image at a pure gentleman that it's hard to imagine him doing otherwise. He also stands to gain from the ATP's image as a bastion for respectful, good-natured rivalries.

      Delete
    4. Also, I find it a little pathetic at how many people would crucify Federer for being a bitter, sore loser. Considering that's the exact same narrative that Lancebots parroted about Greg LeMond and sundry other, you'd think that people would be a little more cautious in a post-Lance world.

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    5. He just should have brushed off the damn question period. He answered in way more depth and detail than was needed.

      Delete
    6. Come on guys, Federer has just justified/explained Nadal's abilities from a technical standpoint. He didn't comment on the spaniard's recovery, and I don't remember (maybe someone can correct me) if he has ever done so.

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    7. Hmm... forget that it’s an uncomfortably rigorous defence... There are many who will find it an entirely valid explanation; all the more useable because it came straight from Fed no less. The Nadal camp will be rubbing their hands gleefully tonight.

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    8. "He didn't comment on the spaniard's recovery, and I don't remember (maybe someone can correct me) if he has ever done so."

      He hasn't. That's the good news IMO.

      Delete
  32. Update on Nuria Llagostera Vives

    http://www.itftennis.com/antidoping/news/decisions/decision-in-the-case-of-nuria-llagostera-vives.aspx

    11 November 2013 - London, ENGLAND - The International Tennis Federation announced today that Nuria Llagostera Vives has been found to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (presence of a Prohibited Substance in a Player’s Sample).
    [...]
    Ms Llagostera Vives, a 33-year-old player from Spain, provided a urine sample in association with her participation in the Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, USA. That sample was sent to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain d-methamphetamine, which is a Prohibited Substance under section S6 (Stimulants) of the 2013 WADA List of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods, and is therefore also prohibited under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (the "Programme"). Ms Llagostera Vives was therefore charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme.
    [...]
    Ms Llagostera Vives’s commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme was, therefore, confirmed, and it was determined that she is suspended from participation for a period of two years, commencing from 8 September 2013, the date on which she was provisionally suspended, and so ending at midnight on 7 September 2015.

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    1. When appealing, better call Saul!

      Delete
    2. Well, this opinion again show that the ITF is NOT WADA compliant and testing is a complete joke:

      Mr Cho [DCO] met with Ms Llagostera at about 12.30pm, following her withdrawal from the Tournament , and informed her both of the need to undertake a doping test and of the existence of a Pro - Am tournament that day which the Tournament sponsors were hosting. He asked Ms Llagostera whether she would like to participate . Ms Llagostera having responded in the affirmative, Mr Cho agreed with her that she should return to the Club later that day to undertake her doping test, following the conclusion of her participation in the Pro - Am.

      So, no need to report to doping control - simply agree to help the tournament make a couple extra $$ and take the test whenever you want. I am sure that Troicki is reading this saying WTFFFFFFFFFF?

      It appears there are a variety of ways to simply skip or delay doping tests. You can just call up Stew and skip the thing altogether or you can agree to help the tournament make some more money at the Pro-Am, go to your hotel room, taking your masking agents, drink massive amounts of water, get an IV, etc.

      I am just left wondering, how do you possibly fail a test that is announced in advance when they let you return to your hotel room and do whatever you want?

      Delete
    3. Another note. Mr. Cho is actually the DCO's supervisor. In any case, the DCO was Mr. Hanley. I am taking it from the "Mr." that he is a male, and we know that Ms. Llagostera is female.

      I find it very difficult to believe that female WTA players are providing supervised urine samples to male DCOs. As such, it would appear that the male DCO is simply handing the container to the player and saying "fill 'er up." No need for a fake body part or any elaborate schemes for the WTA, just bring in someone else's pee and pour it into the bottle while the DCO waits outside.

      Delete
    4. My understanding is that the person chaperoning + witnessing the urine sample will always be the same gender as the athlete. The WADA informational videos are pretty specific about that, IIRC. The DCOs have assistants, and I suppose they are selected with this in mind.

      Delete
    5. Reading the judgment, it appears that there are some parallels with the Gasguet case... i.e. an athlete that had withdrawn from a tournament, but had nonetheless been selected for a doping control test, and proved positive for a recreational substance (not banned in competition)......

      Could she have taken a recreational drug, thinking/knowing she was "OOC"? We don't know the exact circumstances of her doubles partner's decision to withdraw.

      As I said wrt Cilic, why would you take a drug that everyone knows is tested for, and that is such a poor performance enhancer?

      Seems like all the positive tests are 'recreational drugs' and 'accidents'.....

      Delete
    6. According to WADA, the person collecting the urine sample "shall be the same gender as the Athlete providing the sample." (See International Standard for Testing D.4.6). However, the rather detailed description in the finding does not list any witness or chaperone -- an important point as people could claim someone contaminated their sample. I would find it hard to believe that Llagostera's attorneys would not question why an unknown and unnamed person was involved with the sample collection. Most likely because there was no such unknown person. The DCO collected the sample himself, just like the decision says he did -- however, he likely did not witness the actual passing of the sample. The decision clearly states that "Mr. Hanley took her through the standard doping control procedures and she provided the required urine sample." There is no mention of any other person and it clearly states that Mr. Hanley conducted the procedures.

      The point is that the ITF is not WADA complaint. WADA requires the same gender collector and it requires a chaperone to accompany the person from the time of notification until the sample is collected. Once the athlete is notified she must "remain within direct observation of the DCO/chaperone at all times from the point of notification by the DCO/chaperone until the completion of the Sample collection procedure." That was clearly not done here because the athlete was allowed to return to her hotel room for several hours completely unaccompanied and then the sample was apparently not directly observed by the DCO.

      It also make no sense that you would allow a person to return to her hotel room by herself for hours and then when she returns suddenly insist that she be witnessed providing the sample. If there was a chaperone available, then she would have been dispatched when the athlete was notified to monitor her until she provided the sample. It appears that the ITF is blatantly disregarding the WADA requirements. Although it is possible that some unnamed "assistant" was around, the decision is not ambiguous and it easily could have said "Mr. Hanley and his assistant took her through the standard doping control procedures." The fact that it does not leaves only two possibilities: (1) the tribunal misrepresented the facts when it said that Mr. Hanley conducted the doping control procedures or (2) the ITF is not WADA complaint.

      Delete
    7. Also, the reason I say "it makes no sense" is that unsupervised for hours, a female athlete could easily insert a package of clean urine. Then the person witnessing the sample would notice urine coming from the area where urine normally comes from. Unless the witness conducted a detailed exam, it would be impossible to tell that the sample was from a bag. Females just don't need to resort to fake penises to provide fake urine.

      Delete
    8. The code is there to protect both the sporting authorities and the athlete. To secure a conviction, everything has to be precisely within the rules.

      If the sample was collected in a manner that was inconsistent with WADA guidelines, then the positive test would likely NOT be upheld, legally.....

      A female athlete asked to expose her genitalia in front of a male DCO? Not happening. A male DCO who asserts that he allowed a female athlete to urinate in private, and then give the sample to a DCO? Not happening.

      I get your point about lack of documented chaperoning, but I would have expected her lawyers to have fought the case on that basis, if it was a contentious issue.......

      Delete
  33. Her dad bought the drugs and anyway, how can a poor, uneducated Spaniard be expected to understand a "Warning! Drugs!" notice written in English? Ridiculous! The ITF ought to give her twice the points she had before and a bonus for Christmas, sorry Navidad, too.

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  34. Hark hark!

    Mohamed El Jennati just reminded Nadal (I am assuming it was directed towards him, mostly) to watch the 25 sec rule! This has not happened before at the WTF, if I remember correctly. So Djokovic is making sure he won't have time to catch his breath - looks like we are in it for another battle of attrition...

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  35. Well, it's time to pick your poison, guys.

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    1. i'm going for one that will keep my hair (who cares about man parts)

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    2. I can't watch these two clowns "battling" each other anymore, but I root against Nadal (even though Djokovic is a class A prick). The Humble Bull's influence on the sport is nothing short of toxic.

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    3. I decided not to watch. I can't bear either one of these doping assclowns winning. How was the match?

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    4. How was it?

      Pretty straight forward affair this time around. Djokovic quickly ran away with a 3:0 lead - however, Nadal got his rebreak at 2:3 (his only break) and then served for 3:3. Djokovic serve was dominant throughout the 1st set and Nadal hardly got a look at it, unless Djokovic produced UE's. So when Nadal served at 3:4 he double faulted twice, I believe, so Djokovic suddenly was 5:3 ahead and went on to then convert his service game. Until then Nadal had only 3 winners and 12 UE's...That killed him. Djokovic's court coverage is impressive, as usual, he did lot's of rubberburning slides and he generally returns Nadal's wide serve far superior than Federer, who struggles to get back in position (which was one crucial factor in his loss to Nadal).

      Djokovic, otoh, is able to to return almost any shot with interest , as we all know, even from the remotest spots of the court. In general, he ran more than Nadal, but this running did not affect his game (insert doping suspicion here) - Nadal did not get his UE's under control and only occasionally managed to out-angle his opponent. Also, his second serve returns were often too short which would result in easy points for Djokovic. On the plus side, if I recall correctly, the two longest rallies of the match were won by Nadal... Djokvic converted his 3rd (?) MP with a second serve - the return FH by Nadal went wide.

      That said, it was shorter than expected and from how things look currently, Federer will have lot's of catching up and soul searching to do over the break to ever get past these two guys.

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    5. I need to use the word 'assclown' a lot, lot more.

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    6. Awful to watch, that's how the match was. And - being a pretty straightforward affair as team_kickass has put it in his objective summary -, it wasn't even funny as the majority of their previous encounters were, since this time Djoke's doctor defeated Bimbo Bull's big time. Back to the drawing-board (or, should I say, to the lab?) for Team Nadal ...
      All in all, I, for one, hope Murray comes back stronger than ever, Delpo finds the right doctor, Ferrer gets rejuvenated for the second time around, etc. ... so we all get a jolly good season of 2014, and not have to rely on video-games to provide us with cheap thrills - for, after all, reality must remain stranger than fiction, mustn't it.

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    7. "Federer will have lot's of catching up ad soul searching to do" Really? About what? Dodging the draft? Well faking a back injury was enough to get him out of military service, so why not blame is old "back injury" for his current problems?

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    8. I apologize for not having used "assclowns" in my analysis - how dare I ;)
      Such a perfect descriptive... How can you NOT use it when talking about these two exceptional creatures...

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    9. @ MTracy I was being sarcastic here, sorry if it did not translate. I am not quite sure what you are getting atwith your draft dodging, all I know is Federer claimed among other things back problems for his poor season - as with all injury claims, they could be used as excuses, I would never dispute that.

      Soul searching in terms of how he could possibly counter this situation of having to win against the likes of Djokovic and Nadal in their current superior physical fitness, unlike his own, ideally not aided by PEDs...A futile search imo.

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    10. What was hilarious was how Nadal looked befuddled and confused at certain points during the match, shaking his head in anger; just like how Djokovic was during the US Open.

      It is obvious that something was different with Novak and I'm not holding my breath - it almost certainly seems like a return to the doping regime of 2011. Perhaps he thought toning it down would not affect him much as he had the matchup edge over Nadal, but we know how wrong that proved to be.

      I would have liked to see Federer/Wawa win, but I don't mind the result. As ugly as Djokovic is, his tennis is way better to watch than Nadal's and there were some skill points that he won yesterday, Pisses me off every time Nadal reaches out like a goalie for a return of serve that turns into a lob and then wins the poit from there.

      Here's to rain at Wimbledon next year, so that Federer can get that roof closed and whoop the dopers. Better yet, I'd like to see Wawrinka break through and win a slam - not likely, but one can hope.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. T_K.

      I'm struggling to see meth as a PED in a tennis match. Professionally, I've seen plenty of people high on this drug (as an MD, not a dealer LOL).
      Could it make you train harder? Maybe, I'm unsure. Would you compete better on meth? Somehow, I doubt it.

      She's a doubles specialist, in the twilight of her career. I could be wrong, but I smell recreational drug use here.......

      Re: the delay for the "Pro-Am", I might be wrong, but my understanding is that testing can be delayed if an athlete has official obligations, such as press conferences, or medal ceremonies. I'm guessing that if you play singles, and then have a doubles match scheduled, that testing is deferred, and that this sort of obligation falls into that category. I might be wrong here, would have to look at the rules. She was not going to hide a positive meth urine test in a few hours, regardless.

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    3. Delays are permitted "if the Athlete can be continuously chaperoned and kept under direct observation during the delay." (See 5.4.4 of International Standards for Testing). An athlete is not allowed to "pass urine" during this delay. (5.4.1(h)). That is, the chaperone is with the person the whole time, so if the person need to pee, then they just break out the cup and take the sample at that time. There is no provision to allow an athlete to return to her hotel room and do whatever she wants.

      Beating any urine testing in a matter of hours is simple. Drink H20. Urinate. Drink more H20. Urinate. Drink more h20. Provide sample. The DCO must then perform a field test for a "Suitable Specific Gravity for Analysis," and I doubt the ITF conducts such a field test anyway. This is the reason why continuous observation is required and the athlete is not allowed to urinate during this period -- unless it is tennis, then whatever.

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    4. @ arcus

      I don't think Meth is recreational at all in this case - I mean, it could be - if you want to turn into faces-of-meth tennis edition... I doubt she using it as an addicted recreational user - well, I should check her face first, maybe... In any case, it is helping you to overcome fatigue, boost concentration and that sort of thing - rather helpful when playing tennis, don't you think?

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    5. I don't know the procedure for a player who competes in singles, and then has a scheduled doubles match on the same day. I'm guessing testing is not scheduled till after both. This situation is atypical, since participation in the later was apparently optional, but it appears to have been a non-competition event, so chaperoning was probably indicated.

      If I understand correctly, urine tests cannot be analyzed unless the specific gravity is within a certain range (and SG is an easy test).

      Regardless, the chaperoning issue is moot. She failed the urine test. :).

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    6. I certainly understand that the chaperoning issue is not relevant to Llagostera. The issue is that every time we get some insight or details into the ITF's testing, it comes up woefully short. I have long said Stuart Miller is incompetent, and this is just further proof that he is "asleep at the wheel" and allowing worthless testing to be conducted. It doesn't matter how many "negative" tests show up if you let the athletes go back to their hotel rooms for hours.

      In addition, it highlights the capricious nature of the ITF's policies. Troicki was banned for 1 year for delaying a blood test for less than 24 hours. Ok this is fair. But, here, had Llagostera passed the urine test, then she would have been granted a 4 hour delay for no valid reason and none of us would have ever heard about it. We are told "once you are selected, you must provide a sample." Well, bullcrap. This opinion clearly shows that you don't. The event was a Pro-Am tournament -- not part of the ITF or tour, but put on by the tournament director to make more money. So, helping a tournament owner make more money is a valid reason to skip testing? And the person asking whether you want to "volunteer" your time is the anti-doping supervisor???? This doesn't make you say "What the hell is going on here?" I mean, assume you are a pro. You are tired. You lost, whatever. Then a doping control officer comes up and says, "Can you play the Pro-Am?" "No, well I might need to get all Heisenberg on you then."

      Having the doping control officer work as a shill for the tournament director and grant doping indulgences to people who cooperate is beyond ridiculous. It doesn't help Llagostera, but we only know about any of this because she tested positive. How much other crap goes on out there that we don't hear about?

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    7. @ MTracy - indeed, good points that you are raising here - not to forget that they never looked into the weird late withdrawal by Schiavone, her doubles partner.

      I remember how Lance had whistleblower's who told when they DCO were seen near his hotel. Maybe word got out (via the tour director?) that testing is about to happen?

      There must be loads of crap going on when ITF-style testing is happening. Wish we would hear more about that... must be damning stuff.

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    8. All of you raise some interesting and very intriguing points.

      I wonder why Nadal isn't speaking up for his countrywoman? Isn't he the go-to guy for the poor oppressed tennis playing masses who have tested positive?

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  37. As a coda on yet another remarkable encounter between the two top players yesterday in the WTF final I heard one of the commentators remarking on how "fresh" Nadal and Djokovic appeared after such a gruelling tournament and season. The commentators also reflected that the match showed the direction of tennis today, in that it was ultimately decided by supreme defensive skills rather than the number of winners hit.

    I guess there it is in a nutshell. Despite taking a break from Paris for "fatigue" Nadal showed up in London with his usual capacity for tirelessness, and the Djokovic of pre-2011, who was usually a spent force at the WTF, was nowhere to be seen, as in his modern version of himself he showed no more susceptibility to fatigue than the Spanish "energiser bunny".

    Of course this tirelessness permits defensive play of the kind the commentators never cease to marvel at. As one would. It is incredible that with all the extra power available to today's players with modern racquets and strings Nadal and Djokovic could find fewer gaps in the court than the great exponents of the wood racquet generation, like Borg, McEnroe and Lendl. I longed to be able to ask the commentators, "How much faster, more tireless, and how much better defenders would Nadal and Djokovic be if they doped?" The silence would be deafening. Yes, how much more "fresh" would they be?

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  38. I hope djokovic will finish like Armstrong with him gluten theory, really hope that the day will come

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  39. Djokovic has manipulated this situation to his own advantage - giving himself a "get out of jail free" card in the future should he need one.

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