Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Troicki Ban Reduced By CAS

5 November 2013

CAS decision in the case of Viktor Troicki

The International Tennis Federation, on behalf of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme, announced that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) has partially upheld the appeal by Viktor Troicki against the decision of the independent tribunal dated 25 July 2013. The independent tribunal had determined that Mr Troicki should be suspended from participation for a period of 18 months, commencing from 15 July 2013 and so ending at midnight on 14 January 2015
for the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.3 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to sample collection).

The CAS panel confirmed that Mr Troicki failed to provide a sample having been notified by a chaperone of his selection to provide one. It also confirmed the finding of the independent tribunal that the Doping Control Officer told Mr Troicki that, once selected, he had to undergo the test and that he could face sanctions if he failed to do so. The full CAS decision stated that the recollection of Mr Troicki was “coloured by his subsequent reconstruction of events” and that any such subjective interpretation did not amount to ‘compelling justification’ to forego the test. The CAS panel thus confirmed that Mr Troicki had committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.3 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

However, the CAS panel found that the misunderstanding between Mr Troicki and the Doping Control Officer permitted the application of Article 10.5.2 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and decided that, considering Mr Troicki’s degree of fault, the eighteen-month sanction imposed by the independent tribunal should be set aside, and replaced with a period of ineligibility of twelve months, starting from 15 July 2013. He thus will be eligible to participate on 15 July 2014.

Mr Troicki’s results from the Monte Carlo Masters remain disqualified, including forfeiture of the prize money and ranking points won at that event. The CAS determined that Mr Troicki is permitted to retain the prize money and ranking points won by him in all subsequent competitions in which he participated.


  1. I'm so dismayed........

    I've already stated on this site that the Troicki CAS verdict was more important, to me, than the Cilic case.....and here it is. I need to read it in full, but it seems like this is not the right message to send.

    In an era when deferring a blood test by 24 hours can mask autologous blood transfusions, other pro-erythrocytic drugs, or even HGH (or other) microdoping, how can a regulatory body mitigate a sentence in this situation?

    1. Pre-Cilic and Troicki: "ignorance is no excuse."

      now: "ignorance is a darn good excuse."

  2. Un-f*cking-believable. And Djokovic has no faith in WADA and the anti-doping system now because he thinks they're being unfair to his friend. LOL. This is too much.

  3. If the ITF can use this as a lesson to tighten the procedures of the Tennis Anti Doping Programme, then it will be a good thing. The Troicki case at least demonstrates the benefits of transparency and openness, which is more important than the magnitude of the punishment at this time.

  4. Looking back, you wonder whether at best, the ITF were lax in their prosecution and approach or at worst, whether they deliberately sabotaged both cases. With Cilic, his honesty and truthfulness were uncontested - completely taken for granted, not even a tribunal finding made - and we all know, as did the tribunal, that honest players don't dope. This, however, does not sit easily with the implausible explanation given by Cilic regarding his using, in particular how a resident of Monaco couldn't read a "dopage" warning and couldn't distinguish between bulk glucose and a medicine tablet. Taken in toto his story is risible. With Troicki, a first instance finding of "no significant fault or negligence" is made. This, almost by definition, effectively exonerates the player. But here again the evidence is dodgy. Troicki is flatly contradicted by an experienced doping control officer who is regarded as a more honest witness.Yet somehow this is all ignored when a no fault tribunal finding is made.

    It makes me wonder whether there's another game going on, particularly seeing that CAS is being ultra careful before it issues its reasoned decisions in full.

    1. To take this further, this makes you wonder how previous trials were dealt with by the ITF - in complete secrecy, without the public ever knowing about it...

      What nonsense they wrote in them... how many others got off simply by their unending willingness to accept just about anything as an excuse for a doping violation. Maybe also money. Let's not forget what was possible in cycling - how corrupt was the UCI until very recently and how complicit were the likes of Mc Quaid and Verbrueggen in covering up doping violations.

      If that was posssible in cycling, why not in tennis as well?

      Concerning CAS, I don't get how they could reduce the sentence in both cases. I wish I could understand the basis for their reasoning that went into it - but however I look at it, and from whatever angle, I honestly can not find any indicator for a reduction of both bans.

      What I do find though are badly put together decisions on behalf of the IADT - full of attention to strange details, weird character assessments of both cheats based on assumptions (an honest man etc) and loads of implausibilities. As you say, someone who bought an apartment in Monaco should be able to read and understand basic French.

      I wonder why CAS never comments on those obvious incongruities...

  5. As we have seen in cycling, the burden of proof has shifted from the athlete, to the anti-doping authorities.

    Originally, if an athlete tested positive, they had to prove the test result was wrong, or that there was extenuating circumstances. Now, the authorities have to prove the player's excuse is false. This is virtually impossible.

    Full convictions will now be rare. The system is corrupt.

    1. Well, I for one do see ways to prove Cilic's me-no-speak-français-excuse wrong.

      It needs determination, absolute will and definitely a a few more combined brain cells than the ITF is willing to invest to prove the athletes excuses wrong and to get to the bottom of the matter.

      My tipp for the ITF - maybe invest less in psychological assessments and more in good investigative research...or what about recording each testing procedure on video, to avoid the old he-says she-says situation?

  6. Why even bother having drug testing when the players who violate the rules keep getting their sentences reduced? The players know this and that's why we keep seeing the same excuses.

    Players have zero fear of the doping authorities because they now know (if they haven't for a while now) that if they DO get caught the sentence will just get reduced anyways. Makes me sick to my stomach.

    I wish the IOC and WADA would step in and threaten tennis authorities with removal from the Olympics if they don't get stricter drug testing.

  7. BBC: "Novak Djokovic says Viktor Troicki's ban for missing a drugs test is a "total injustice" and that he has lost trust in the anti-doping system.". We too, Nole... We too...


    1. Smoke and mirrors from Djokovic. Try and damage the reputation of the DCOs and Wada so if/when he falls foul of the regulations i.e. missing a test during glow time, he can point to their previous incompetency to blur the lines of wrong doing.

  8. Here I send some comments on the match yesterday Roger F vs N Djokovic.

    One of the weirdest matches I´ve seen on this expected level of tennis. The players broke each other many times, the hawkeye went out of business and unforced errors were suprisingly many by both players.

    Besides this, something really strange happened that also happened i Shanghai. All of a sudden in set 2, Novak begins to falter in both vision and balance. It seems he can´t control his own body. Almost looks remote-controlled, falling back and forth dropping racquets etc.

    I suspect all this action is a result of chemical substances, so-called hideaway-agents of doping. Read more about these substances and it is very, I repeat, very fitting in the over-all picture.

    After every other point - Djoko looks tired and really grasps for air. It´s like a theater-setting to me.

    My idea to shut down all accusations of doping would be: offer an independent unannounced doping-control, both blood and urine. The players saying no to this - really have to live with the accusations against them. Saying yes could on the other hand get rid of all rumours.

    Please comment my text! Eager to know if someone else draw these conclusions.


    1. Good summary, I saw that match too and was puzzled by what happened especially in the 2nd set - Djokovic's timing and movement, or rather coordination, when serving was completely off there - he looked like not being able to control his downward swing and his arms and legs kept dangling in the air, like when a puppet master is about to collapse his figurine once the show is over. The fuck was that?

      Again, Djokovic won all the longer rallies and outlasted Federer, who more and more resembled Grumpy Cat...

      To be fair, Federer had also his array of inexplicable misses, both fh and bh. Those cost him dearly - unable to convert his match points in the 3rd but also closing off the first...

      The combination of UE's galore by Federer and Djokovic making him play yet another ball to score was deadly for Federer.

    2. You make a good point that the effects of doping may very well be the cause of Novak's suddenly flailing body or possible sight impediment as the commentators kept wondering. But IMO what I felt at the time was that it was Djoke theatrics. It almost seems like Djoke knows he's gonna win but he wants to make it competitive & exciting for the fans(he's a crowd pleaser who doesn't want them against him for bashing their hero or making the match boring/lopsided thus not drawing suspicion to how doped he actually is). He's done this repeatedly in other tourneys, kinda disappears mentally or losing control of body---but he seems to know when to behave like this & then willingly come back & win the match. I many times see Serena doing this as well. If it were a side effect of the doping, then he shouldn't have been able to come back so easily to win the match in the 3rd. All he had to do in the 2nd set was wear roger out with backhand to backhand exchanges which he successfully did in 3rd. But instead, he decided to miss easy shots that he usually never misses & made his serving style throw him off balance. My question is if it wasn't voluntary, then why the hell did his spasmodic flailing episodes only last in 1st half of 2nd set?

    3. Maybe simply to help Fed reach the Semis by allowing him to take a set. Good for business and he knows he owns him if they meet in the final.

  9. From the full CAS decision.......... (I kid you not)

    "Dear Mr. Stuart Miller,
    My name is Viktor Troicki, and I write to you concerning the blood test in Monte Carlo. I was notified after my match on Monday 151h of April to do urine and blood test, and due to my health condition today, I was not able to do the blood test since I was feeling very bad.

    I provided the urine sample, and for the blood test I asked kindly to skip it this time, since I get very dizzy after giving the blood out.

    So even before the test I didn't feel good, so I felt it would be even worse for my health condition to do it today. I always did blood tests before, and will do them in the future, but today I was not able to provide blood sample. Thank you very much in advance for your understanding.


    P.S.We also tried contacting you on the phone number that was given to me (+442083924696). "

    1. What to say, really?

      I mean, what a fucking farce...he comes across like a complete moron...

    2. Anyway, I will try calling Miller now, maybe I get through?

    3. So, "the dog ate my homework" should be valid proof from now on in every school of the world, shouldn't it? Shameful...

  10. "9.28.4
    It bears mentioning that both the Athlete's urine and blood sample tested negative and the Tribunal found that there is no suggestion that Mr Troicki's failure or refusal was in fact prompted by the player's desire to evade the detection of a banned substance in his system. The Panel agrees with this finding. "
    How can they even mention the negative blood test? Deferring a blood test for 24 hours makes it basically worthless. There's a reason athletes are not given 24 hours warning before a test. Unbelievable.
    Even if Troicki was on the level, they should not have simply accepted his word, and ignored the DCO (who had nothing to gain by mistreating the player). They also implied in the judgment that, if their hands had not been tied by the regulations, they would have reduced the ban even more!!

    1. Couldn't agree more. Note also this bit:
      >Dr Gorodilova tried to reassure the Athlete by showing him her medical
      accreditations and pointed out to him a medical bed where he could lie while giving
      blood. However, the Athlete still insisted that he was not able to give a sample
      because of his condition.>

      Troicki, you trying to take the piss out of us? ~Condition~, my ass! Also his reading competency clearly is on the low end of the spectrum:

      >3 .I 0 Dr Gorodilova then explained to the Athlete that he had to sign the BCF or else he could face a sanction. 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 and that he understood this section to mean that he had been notified of his selection to undergo the test.

      And then this:
      >3.13 There is a dispute between the parties as to what Dr Gorodilova said in response to that question:
      3.13 .I The Athlete stated in his written evidence: "She answered: if you don't feel
      well, you just need to write a letter addressed to the personnel doing the
      anti-doping control. She advised me what to write and she was very positive
      about it. I asked her two times if she was sure that was not going to have any
      consequences if I didn't do the test. She said it should be all right if I wrote
      the letter saying that I was feeling bad and that I was not ready to take it
      3.13.2 Dr Gorodilova denies this. In her written evidence she says: "Mr Troicki
      asked me if it would be treated as a violation even if he was unable to
      provide the blood sample because he was not feeling well. I remember
      clearly telling him that I could not advise him on whether or not that would
      be considered a valid excuse, because that was not my decision to make. I
      told him: "if you don't want to provide the sample you need to explain why
      to the ITF". I also said, though, that my own understanding was that if you are selected and notified that you are required to provide a sample, you
      must provide the sample in all cases. "
      3.13 .3 The Athlete accepts though that Dr Gorodilova said to him: "if you do not
      want to provide the sample, you need to explain why to the ITF".

      Hilarity continues:
      >3.16 The letter was sent to the ITF as an attachment to the blood doping control form. The Athlete asserts that Dr Gorodilova dictated to him the contents of the letter. Dr Gorodilova denies that she did.>

      Judging from the poor writing of said letter, it must have been written by Troicki himself, it sounds very much like him. Also, why did Mr. Gan not testify if the doctor indeed dictated that infamous letter to Troicki? Also Reader serving a bloody lie by claiming he heard the doctor confirming what Troicki supposedly said... not cool. He needs to be banned for this as well.

    2. More incongruous stuff:

      >3.21 In the meantime, Dr Gorodilova wrote an e-mail to her superior, Neal Saderstrom of IDTM, explaining what had happened to which he replied "Did you call for the ATP doctor on site?" She then went to find out from the tournament doctors if the Athlete had been to see them and was told that he had not.
      3.22 On 16 April 2013, (the day after) Mr Bratoev, after speaking to the DCO and understanding from what he was told by her that there might be a problem, went to find the Athlete to tell him that Dr Gorodilova was looking for him to find out if he had obtained a medical certificate the day before. The Athlete said that he had not because the DCO had told him that he did not need to do anything further.>

      If he really felt that dizzy, why did he not seek a doctor immediately, especially in the light of the failed doping control - when he signed that BCF, he signed the following: "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."

      Anyway, I'll stop here. No, wait, one more:

      >8.2 In summary, the Athlete submits that the Tribunal wrongly relied "on the asserted full credibility of ITF's main witness, [ ... ] Dr. Elena Gorodilova, in conjunction with the asserted only partial credibility of [Troicki] based on an unexplained frequency of cases that witnesses have persuaded themselves of the truth of what they purport to recall, despite the fact that the truth in reality lies elsewhere."

      Indeed, the truth does lie elsewhere.

  11. Neil Harman/Times on twatter

    >I don't think Viktor was 'trying to get away' with anything. His urine test was negative and subsequent blood test too.

    How uninformed and blasé can you possibly be? This smug little toff seems to live in his very own bubble.

    He clearly needs to take a beginners class on halftime of doping substances pronto...

    1. Harman provides no reason or evidence to justify his belief that Troicki wasn't trying it on. Passing a doping test is meaningless and he is well aware of that. So why continually harp on about testing negative, as if that somehow validates the player or Harman's line of thinking? Armstrong tested negative for years. What point is he making exactly other than trying to curry favour with Trociki's best friend?

      The tribunal confirmed the finding at first instance that Troicki committed an anti-doping violation albeit through no significant fault or negligence of his own. Nothing changed other than the sentence.

  12. In the comments section of the ESPN article about Troiki I posted "delaying a blood test for 24 hours could mask micro-doping, and even blood doping, as we learned from Lance". I did not even mention Troicki. Surprise! Surprise! .......Deleted within minutes, lol.

    1. Amazing if true. (Is the ESPN message board moderated by Brad Gilbert? ;-)

      It means the ESPN moderators have been given directions by their bosses to delete informed comments that make tennis and its players look bad. That's conspiracy-like.

      ESPN isn't as tight lipped when it comes to steroid comments in their baseball section as I see quite a few of those. Hopefully this drug fiasco in tennis blows out in the open (with a Nadal or Djokovic caught red-handed) so it can be talked about in the open. (Then again, I'm not holding my breath as few baseball commentators tackle the PED question. They'd rather act as it doesn't existe.)

    2. The ESPN message boards are a hot mess. I've seen racist, sexist, homophobic posts allowed to stand, posts with excessive swearing up there for hours, yet anything regarding doping in sports is pulled immediately - especially if it is on the tennis message boards.

      There can't even be an honest discussion about this issue because tennis message boards (and others) keep yanking any substantial doping posts. That's why this blog is a godsend.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. @picassowhat.

      Actually I was responding to another comment saying "He says/she says aside...Can't refuse to take a test when called upon, and take it when you want to.." ........ Maybe Troicki's Serbian fans are trigger happy with the report button, and that generates auto-bans...... That said, there's a post up there now that flat out calls Djokovic and Troicki dopers, and it's not getting pulled.

      As for Bad Gilbert... don't get me started. Does he ever shut up with those inane tweets? lol

      "uber-delpo-man firin' biggies in first point against Fearsome mcFederson #stupidnicknames #statethebloodyobvious

      "I'm walking into the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal" #fascinatinginfo

    5. Hahaha!

      Gilbert and Twatter - he is almost in the same league as Boris Becker, no doubt!

      Both insufferable!

    6. "Bad Gilbert"

      @Arcus: Giving pun-happy Brad a taste of his own medicine. I LOL'd, thanks! :)