Monday, November 11, 2013

Nuria Llagostera Vives (Update)

Update: Nuria Llagostera Vives is not sure if she will appeal her 2-year ban.


Another rumor of a positive test in tennis turns out to be true. Back in September it was reported that Nuria Llagostera Vives tested positive for methamphetamine. However, as per their policy, the ITF refused to confirm or deny the story. Well, we don't have to speculate anymore.

The ITF's press release (the full decision notes that Vives started serving a provisional suspension on September 8, 2013):

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.

An independent hearing was held, in which Ms Llagostera Vives, who did not hold a valid TUE for d-amphetamine, was not able to demonstrate how the d-amphetamine entered her system. She was, therefore, unable to satisfy the preconditions for mitigation under article 10.5.1 or 10.5.2 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. It was also determined that Ms Llagostera Vives’s results at the 2013 Bank of the West Classic should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of any ranking points and prize money that she won at that event. Ms Llagostera Vives’s results in events subsequent to the Bank of the West Classic remain undisturbed, including all prize money and ranking points won at those events. The full decision is available on the ITF Anti-Doping website.


  1. Alright, let's take a closer look at the ITF's recent "fabrication", i.e. decision, shall we?

    It starts off with a bold-faced lie - in the register of "he is an honest man", by stating upfront:

    >This is the decision of an independent Anti-Doping Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) appointed by the International Tennis Federation>
    A veritable contradiction in adjecto already in the starting line of their "decision" - how can they be independent when they get picked by the federation? followed by a gross typo "the Bank of the West Classic held in Stamford, California, USA".

    Again, they used "character witness testimonials" by a friend of Llagostera, not convincing. Yet they forgot to examine her double-partner, Schiavone...

    She claimed: >Article 10.5.1 of the Programme, in that she bore no Fault or Negligence in relation to the Anti-Doping Rule Violation committed by her>

    If something is "committed" by a certain someone like smoking/inserting meth - unlike, say, something that happens to someone out of the blue without their own doings, this per se could never qualify as negligence in my book.

    Now we come to that very VERY strange part where an IDTM supervisor both reveals a doping control selection to Llagostera while also inviting her for a pro-am tournie later and granting her 3 and half hours time BEFORE the sample gets collected by the DOC. The fuck is that? Makes you want to join the Djokovic rebellion, no?

    >On that following day her doubles partner, Francesca Schiavone, informed her that she was unwell and unable to play. In consequence, they withdrew from the Tournament. However, Ms Llagostera had by then already been selected randomly for doping control and that information had been passed on to IDTM’s on-site supervisor, Tony Cho (“Mr Cho”). Mr Cho 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.>

    Also, can you possibly have a TUE for meth??? I mean...
    >On 21 August 2013, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada reported an adverse analytical finding for the prohibited substance, d-methamphetamine, in Ms Llagostera’s urine sample2. An independent Review Board having established that Ms Lagostera did not have a TUE for the Prohibited Substance>

    She would be better off had she presented a TUE for ADHD - nothing would have happened. Silly her!

    1. Then comes this gem:
      >She explained that she had given much thought as to how she could have been in contact with the Prohibited Substance found in her system; she had retraced in her mind how she had spent her days once she had arrived in California, but was unable to work out how this might have occurred. She told the Tribunal how she had avoided any risky environments – she had eaten room service while in the hotel, she had not gone out to any restaurant and she had only consumed a bottle of water while in San Francisco.To the extent that she espoused any theory, it was that maybe she had drunk from a wrong bottle of water while practising at the Club - it was brought out in evidence that the Court that she was practising on had been used earlier that day by Club members who were not part of the professional circuit.>

      Yeah, some bitches leaving their meth bottles on court...right on! Paging Skinny P, Badger & Jesse Pinkman!!!
      Also this:
      >What Ms Llagostera did seek to establish, by reference to the expert opinion evidence of Dr Pieraccini, a pharmaceutical and analytical chemist and director of the Mass Spectrometry Centre of the University of Florence, was that, having regard to the concentration of the Prohibited Substance found in Ms Llagostera’s system, it was impossible that she had ingested that Substance with a view to enhancing her sporting performance.>

      How dare she claim that? I would like to investigate the strange withdrawal by Schiavone and her instead of believing that flat out... Maybe both took some meth to get in the mood for the upcoming game and got warned and were trying to avoid testing alltogether by their late withdrawal...? Not an option?
      Concerning the found dosage, they grant her a 48hr window, which results in it not being performance enhancing... Considering that she had plenty of time at hand to wash it out of her system, this is not convincing. ITF needs to review their procedures and act way more stringent.
      Llagostera was simply not clever enough here and instead should have come up with a bogus explanation, like the random water bottles that contained meth and stick to it, instead she opted that she
      >was not advancing before the Tribunal any possible theory as to how she might have ingested the Prohibited Substance. She was not attempting “to demonstrate what it is impossible to demonstrate”. >
      By doing so, she made it impossible for the ITF
      >to satisfy a strict threshold requirement for the application of Article 10.5.1, namely as to how (on the balance of probabilities) the Prohibited Substance entered her system. This had to be a strict requirement since, without such proof, it was impossible to assess meaningfully the degree of fault Ms Llagostera bears for the presence of the Prohibited Substance in her system.>
      Anyway, as MTracy already pointed out in the other post, the whole delay and weird-ass withdrawal makes this look shady as hale - despite the strict ban she got handed.
      It is written in the decision that:
      >The onus was on the athlete to displace that presumption, as provided for in the Programme (including in Article 10.5.1). It needed to be this way, otherwise the system of doping control adopted by the ITF as part of the international efforts to eradicate the use of prohibited substances in sport would be rendered futile.>
      How come they accepted that load of bullcrap served by Cilic as credible onus, I wonder...

    2. She should have said that the meth got into her system from watching Breaking Bad. They would have believed that one. More believable than Gasquet or Cilic.

      But realistically, she will just come up with such a story at the CAS. She will find some idiot that will say, "I was using meth and I regurgitated into a glass that Llagostera drank out of." End of ban. Isn't this the story Agassi used?

      It seems at this point in time, players should just know what to do based on the drug being used. Kind of like a chess game. Oh, you got busted for meth, use the Agassi defense. Oh, cocaine, use the old Gasquet Gambit. Whereabouts test, just use the Serena Slight.

    3. " Paging Skinny P, Badger & Jesse Pinkman!!!"

      This isn't the early 90s you douchebag.

    4. @MTracy:

      The "supplement"/"my trainer or doctor gave me something" defense seems to work too for either exoneration or reduction of sentence (see: Cilic, Rusedski, Bohdan Ulihrach, Coria, Canas, Puerta for his first doping positive etc.)

    5. @Tommy Hass

      What would you know about the early 90's? You weren't there.

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  3. I'm a bit confused here as to the drug in question.

    Is it "d-methamphetamine" (i.e. Desoxyn) or "d-amphetamine" (i.e. Dexedrine)? Or is it that some other substance she possibly took (ephedrine or pseudoephedrine?) may have metabolized into d-meth., which drug test detected?

    Would be helpful if someone with knowledge of drug testing/pharmacology elucidated here.

    Also, what would qualify as a TUE for amphetamine? Your basic ADHD diagnosis?


      >It is odorless with a bitter taste. Indications: Narcolepsy and hyperkinetic states in children (as an adjunct to psychological, educational and social measures). Its misuse includes performance enhancement and relief of fatigue.

      Also this:
      >Illicit methamphetamine is more commonly made by the reduction of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which produces the more active d-methamphetamine isomer. The maximum conversion rate for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is 92%, although typically, illicit methamphetamine laboratories convert at a rate of 50% to 75%.[93] Most methods of illicit production involve protonation of the hydroxyl group on the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine molecule.>

      Yes, a TUE for ADHD might score you meth!

  4. As I suspect you already know, amphetamines are complex mixtures of neuroactive chemicals. There are mirror 'd' and 'l' forms, both potentially active, but differentially represented in prescription and formerly available OTC preparations. I suspect you also know that methamphetamines are street drugs, aka crystal, glass, chalk, crank, etc.

    This class of chemical are used clinically to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and meta-analyses confirm utility for dextroamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine, and mixed amphetamine salts. ADHD was formerly thought of as a pediatric condition, though available data suggest that a significant fraction of affected kids continue to manifest symptoms in adulthood. The true prevalence in adults is unclear, though it is not very common, and the number of athletes claiming TUEs is also not known, to my knowledge. I would love to know!

    The drug used most comonly for this condition in the US, Adderall, is a product combining the neutral sulfate salts of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, with the 'd' isomer of amphetamine saccharate as well as d, l-amphetamine aspartate monohydrate.

    The athlete in question tested positive for 'd'-methamphetamine, which is excreted in the urine of individuals who have ingested these compounds.

    Ephedrine, and PSE, should not trigger positive urine tests for methamphetamines.


    Surprisingly (not really) Mike Tyson has confessed using a fake penis to beat doping controls numerous times in the past.

    In his modestly entitled tell-all memoir "The Undisputed Truth" he recalls his rampant drug use, ("I was a full-blown cokehead") and the resulting problems from it, like uncontrollable rage and aggression (don't we all remember the infamous ear-biting incident...).

    He doesn't mention roids, however, I would bet my last penny on it that he was and still is a major roidhead. I mean, Serena might know, aren't they like besties?

    Here is something to chuckle about, no offense:

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    3. Ah yes boxing. Yet another sport that pays lip service to doping controls, although when I look at the names of some of the boxers punished for failing doping tests it actually has some big names on it. So boxing at least, will punish the stars who test positive unlike tennis.

      Although Tyson got more of a punishment for biting Holyfield's ear than most of the dopers got for doping.

      (Sorry for all the corrections, I am typing this on my new iPad)

    4. Mike Tyson has admitted so many things that make him look bad over the years, but I don't think he has ever mentioned steroids. At the point he is in his life, I don't think he would care to hide that "secret". It's not like he has any legacy left to protect: he is a clown and has been for more than 20 years. Of course, I may be wrong.

      Evander Holyfield is a sure fire roider though. Cardiac problems in his forties, ripped like a WWF star, etc.

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  7. Could anyone please be kind enough to tell me who won the women end-of-the-year tournament that Serena won in London? I have been out of touch for a while

    Thanks in advance

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  10. " World sports bodies welcome stricter anti-doping rules"

    FIFA, and USADA, agreed, and the IAAF felt they should be even stricter!

    No comment from the ITF, and the ISU actually disagreed!!!

  11. Is this the same type of "meth" that Agassi was on? (aka a euphemism).


    Nice one from Marina Hyde/Guardian on WADA being the

    >fictional analogue is Oz the Great and Powerful, being a deceptively awe-inspiring entity that is in fact operated by one man behind a curtain."

    Here is her damning description of how the "extra audit " into JADCO went down:

    >But why in the name of credibility couldn't he say, you might wonder, just as we wondered in this space a few weeks ago how the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission could possibly get away with cordially informing Wada it "cannot accommodate their visit until 2014", despite the whistleblower revelation that the country's testing programme effectively did not operate for five or six months in the run-up to last year's Olympics? "There is no power whatsoever for Wada under our code to comply anyone to do certain things," blustered the outgoing Wada president John Fahey this week, "and there are sanctions that can ultimately be imposed by those who control sport." And who knows when "ultimately" may be.
    Intriguingly, it has since turned out that a window suddenly opened up in Jadco's schedule, and Wada's visit there took place last week. According to reports, representatives of the agency arrived on Monday night, then spent Tuesday having what can only have been a quick peek at the old testing operation, given that they nicked off on a flight first thing Wednesday morning. "I have a personal problem in what you can do in 12 hours," Jamaica's most senior drug tester, Dr Paul Wright, told the BBC. "They were only really here on Tuesday, and four hours of that was at a dinner function with the prime minister.>

    I mean, if they can't get tough on JADCO, who layed their testing on ice alltogether prior to the Olympics or on Kenya, which refuses to pass sentences after they found lot's of positive samples, how can we ever expect them to check the ITF's code compliancy?

    I mean, only by looking at their recent decisions, the ITF's shortcomings are screemingly obvious, you would think. If only WADA had more powers, the ITF is overripe to bet busted...

    Simply by looking at the ITF's stats, this has been obvious for years now - I mean, why else does this blog exist, the ITF's obvious flaws and failings are the sole raison d'ĂȘtre for THASP.

    ITF stands for lenient testing procedures (4hr windows before providing sample), secrecy when it comes to disclosing positive samples or allowing silent bans - in ITF-sprech "voluntary" suspensions, which add to a climate of rumours and suspicion. Their idea of rules was described Miller as drawing lines in the sand. Need I say more?

    They don't defend their own experienced personnel when their cash cows spill lies and try to win the public sentiment over, as Djokovic and his band of pamphletists tried with the DCO in the Troicki case.

    Miller's reign is characterized by shadyness, crooked double-speak and cover-ups rather than by transparency and stringency - not to mention the ITFs general lackluster attitude when it comes to convicting or catching their cheats in the first place. They also show an enormous tolerance for accepting reality defying bs excuses for PED abuse.

    Anyway, WADA has their big waffling meeting in Johannesburg, currently. Let's see if tennis gets a mention in all this.

    1. Honest question. On a scale of utterly-useless-assclowns to perfect-ten, how do the commenters on this blog tend to rate WADA as a whole?

    2. WADA are hapless, Jonathan, well-meaning but hapless. CAS decisions like the recent Troicki and Cilic cases don't help as they undermine anti-doping morale. Also, what sticks can they beat with? None at all really.

    3. @ Jonathan

      I so wish they were a perfect ten... that would be awesome...they would kick ass... get down to business and make mince meat out of utterly-useless-assclowns like Miller and his ole' boys club (I assume no one in the top is under thirty or female in this club, but prove me wrong)... sadly, WADA is also just another ole' boys club trying to stay relevant - so they occasionally make ominous statements that seem to criticize federations or NADO's publicly - which is something, I guess, but you actually would want them to be more like Travis Tygart, more hard ass in combination with kick ass, obvs.

      Apparently now JADCO/Jamaica is calling the man himself, Tygart, to make their joke of a programm code-compliant, finally. Maybe Bolt will have some knee injuries soon?

      Tygart, if you read this, on behalf of all tennis fans on this site, I'd recommend another high priority job, how about clean up the ITF's window dressing TADP??

      I'd appreciate that. Like A LOT!

      However, I should prolly stop hallucinating, for this won't never happen.Ever.

    4. WADA gets a bit of a battering, but let's be blunt: they have a budget that's only fractionally above zero, with which they have to supervise the entire sporting globe. They have often marginal co-operation with sporting bodies and national anti-doping agencies, and no powers of their own when not given them by said bodies.

      It's mission impossible.

  13. In other news from the WADA conference in JOhannesburg, we have the following statement by a Serbian minister on Troicki:

    >What I would like to emphasize and it refers to our tennis player Viktor Troicki – all sports organizations, including anti-doping agencies, exist because of sportsmen. Anti-doping agencies are important and they have a significant role, but sportsmen must come first, Udovicic said.

    It must not be allowed, it is impermissible and deserves every condemnation that an innocent man suffers. That could be a dangerous precedent. The repercussions could be far-reaching, especially when it comes to the careers and lives of top sportsmen, Udovicic said at an anti-doping conference in Johannesburg, and Tanjug learns from a source close to the Serbian delegation.>

    This perfectly-useless-assclown needs to resign asap, because of his rather daring display of stupidity - how can they keep this guy as a sports and youth minister on the job, when his comments are painfully see-through and jingoist and, besides, totally missing the point?

    1. One assclown after another. It should be its own species.

    2. Ah yes. That poor Viktor Troicki. So oppressed, so abused. Let's begin a kickstarter for this poor, innocent soul.

      I get the guy is sticking up for his countryman, but c'mon. This is just flat-out pathetic trolling by this minister.

  14. End of the road for a doper.