Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 ITF Anti-doping Rules

Without any fanfare the ITF has posted its 2014 anti-doping programme rules. Unfortunately, they have not provided a description or comparison version that identifies the differences between the 2013 and 2014 rules.

The ITF has also published a note outlining "Players’ Rights and Responsibilities."

The one major change I've identified in the 2014 programme is section 4.6 which deals with the athlete biological passport (ABP).

4.6 ABP Testing:

4.6.1 The ITF will designate one or more person(s) to administer and manage the ABP Programme within and on behalf of the ITF (the "Athlete Passport Management Unit", or "APMU"). The ITF will also appoint suitably qualified, independent experts to form the Expert Panel for purposes of the ABP Programme.

4.6.2 The ITF will decide, in its sole discretion, which Players will be selected for ABP Testing. The ITF will  also decide, consulting as appropriate with the Expert Panel (via the APMU), on the timing of such Testing. The ITF will also coordinate as necessary with other competent Anti-Doping Organisations carrying out ABP Testing in relation to any Player(s).

4.6.3 Samples that are intended to be part of the ABP Programme will be collected, transported and  analysed in accordance with the International Standard for Testing, the International Standard for Laboratories, and the mandatory protocols set out in Annexes A to C of the ABP Guidelines.

4.6.4 The data arising from such analysis will be processed and reviewed in accordance with the ABP Guidelines to identify atypical values/profiles that warrant referral to a single expert from the Expert Panel, and thereafter (if appropriate) to a group of three experts from the Expert Panel, for consideration in accordance with Appendix D of the ABP Guidelines.

4.6.5 Where the three experts from the Expert Panel unanimously conclude that, subject to any explanation provided by the Player, the atypical value(s)/profile is inconsistent with a normal physiological condition or known pathology, and compatible with the use of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method, that finding (an "Adverse Passport Finding") shall be dealt with as set out in Article 7.4.
 No word on who leads the "APMU", or who has been selected to be on the "Expert Panel".


  1. Cycling president Cookson to expose 'dynamite' evidence on doping

    Would be good if allegedly corrupt officials in cycling were exposed. I would like to see anti-doping target all involved, not just the athletes.

  2. The 2014 has just begun and Federer already looked phisically different in his last match than the one before. He sweated a lot more even though he played less.

    1. The sweating thing was brought up a while ago, by me in fact. Board consensus, its really not indicative of doping. Also, he is playing in Brisbane, its very, very hot down there around this time. Remember the temperatures at the Australian Open.

      I did notice Serena looking particularly sweaty the other day. Of course her darker complexion can make her "gleam" more. But yeah, don't read too much into it.

    2. Unknown, dear, I may be wrong, but to me you sound as a very-well-known-one around here. I, rhetorically of course, wonder why.

  3. Nadal's 'new treatment' appears to be working well. So much so that he's practically become a hard court specialist. Good work, doc, good work.

    1. We shall see in the coming Australian Open. He dropped too many sets in Doha to really be a "hard court specialist" (in my opinion). It's more of tennis courts becoming homogenous.

      I do forget how cycling works, is he just not on it at the moment and waiting for the week before the Australian Open starts?

    2. Winning practically every hard court tournament he enters is not something anyone would have foreseen Nadal doing. His streak last year was ridiculous, and he appears to keep winning. I agree tennis courts have become homogeneous, though, which has benefited him over the years immensely. It's just that these courts should be the most brutal on his chronic problem. Losing sets actually makes that worse, if you think about it.

      I too am interested to see what shenanigans he gets up to before and around the AO - it seems to be his joke tournament, with knee-injuring chairs, incorrectly diagnosed ruptured muscles that take 8 days to heal from, pulling out due to a tummy bug 2-3 weeks prior to it, his absence in 2006 etc. I look forward to chapter 58,045 in the Nadal saga.

    3. The Nadal camp is playing a sick joke on everyone. As if the guy has ever been in danger of having his career end prematurely.

    4. I actually think Nadal hasn't started doping yet. He didn't played that well in Doha.

    5. yes Picassowhat, it is looking like a joke more and more with those new "knee treatments." The funny thing about those is how quickly the news outlets picked up on it. It's as if his PR camp sent stories to all these places simultaneously... makes you think.

      I don't this AO will be taken lightly by the Nadal camp. It's already been stated he wants another win real bad (to at least win 2 of each major).

      Off topic, what does everyone think about the hiring of coaches (past champions and the like)? Legit or just something to cover the reason for the "sudden winning." It just seems there is no real good reason to hire them, Federer has 17 slams, been there done that. Does he really need advice on how to handle pressure? Djokovic has 6 slams, his other threat is Nadal, he pretty much has his number anyway.

      It seems like it would help players outside the top 3 more than these guys. But ehh, just a fad maybe.

    6. Yeah it seems a strange sort of fad in a way, though Djoker surprised me a lot more than Fed. Boris Becker?? Serve and volley specialist, helping Djokovic of all people who is currently basically doing fine with his own insanely athletic, baseline style... He didn't strike me as someone who needed a driving force from someone I don't think I've ever heard him mention as an influence and what not (though I'm sure he is in some regard.)

      As for Fed, he's having a rough time out there; he has lost some mojo due to the tennis paradigm and injury (you know, an actual injury that negatively impacts your performance...) Plus he gets to chat about some ideas with someone who he has constantly accredited as being his childhood idol, and supposedly only for a few weeks too. I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. He still has his main coach, remember.

      But Boris Becker? Djokovic? Did not see that one coming.

      The timing seems odd to me though. Maybe Edberg is still living his old rivalry.

    7. back to Nadal for a second...

      What I meant to imply with my previous comment is for how long can you milk the "fact" that you are trying to prolong your career? We've been hearing that for the past 5 years at least. At that point and a dozen slams in the bag, shouldn't Nadal and the media be saying "mission accomplished" instead? I mean, the guy started being relevant at 17 or 18. Already, he has had a longer career (at a relative peak) than many HOF players. So if he were retiring suddenly, his career couldn't really be considered a short one. See what I mean?

      What I get from Nadal is that he tries to put the stakes for himself as low as possible because he actually has a hard time playing with the pressure guys like Michael Jordan, Roger Federer or Tiger Woods have had to deal with. Anyhow, I'm kind of rambling here, but I'll repeat myself again for the new year: I hate the disingenuous Nadal gamesplaying and half truths we have to deal with year in year out. The sycophant journalists/shills who take him at his word without inquiring also make me sick. That's why I have given up reading the North American tennis press - they sound like publicists. /rant

    8. Yep, valid questions. He's the one guy who seems to get better with injuries. Not just any old injuries either, but horrible, debilitating conditions. He's played some of the best tennis of his career while apparently suffering from such ailments. In contrast, Federer tweaks his back and he serves like a WTA player. The difference in credibility is vast.

      As you say, Nadal has been around a while now, and notched up quite the career. Remember when people were writing off his knees due to his style way back in 2009? Well it's 2014 and he's still running about like gazelle, and I foresee him continuing to do so for some time.

      I think you hit some form of nail on the head regarding the pressure (warning - Further rambling, OT rant incoming.) How many times have we seen Nadal play down his chances? Never the favourite, always unsure of his condition, will try his best he says, an always contrived level of modesty that belies any realistic assessment. Never just takes it on the chin like a true boss and expects himself to do well. Always prefers to play as the underdog, which I think is cowardly when compared to the legends you mentioned. Those guys were honest and courageous, setting themselves up for mighty falls after a stretch of insatiable domination. Nadal hides behind dishonesty, disillusionment and almost certainly fabricated circumstances. Because of this a lot of people consider Nadal humble and Federer arrogant, while I choose to use the terms dishonest and honest. I think of the Nadal camp as a group of con artists, who have managed to swindle just about everyone who isn't skeptical enough to question things and consider the obvious possibilities.

    9. Right on the money.

      When you add the fact that he plays down his chances Every.Damn.Time to several dubious losses (tanks, I'm sure of it), you have to portrait of a cheater trying to get away with something. Think of it: the "best" thing that could happen would be a 27-28 year old Nadal winning the calendar year Grand Slam. A player who suffers from debilitating knee injuries ending up winning every Grand Slam in a given year? Now that would open eyes and put an intolerable media scrutiny on him and his clan of (alleged) con men. Of course, he will lose here or there because of his unreliable (yet so reliable as an excuse) bum knees.

      Please wake me when that Nadal nightmare is over, lol.

    10. The real issue not whether Nadal is doping, it is how does he get away with it? He has been tested numerous times (just like Lance), but Lance had some close calls had stuff pushed under the rug. Is Nadel getting the same treatment from Stuart Miller? Is he simply using TUEs? Some type of undetectable drugs? It would also be helpful to comment on exactly what PEDs he is taking any why you think he is taking those. Would the "old reliable" combination of hGH, testosterone, and EPO explain all of Nadal's performance? What about using PRP with a different persons platelets? Would this be a way to potentially get unlimited nonsynthetic hGH and testosterone?

    11. I can't think of a player who downplays his chances as much as Nadal. The only player I can think of is Messi. He's never come across as arrogant, or lets just say confident. Where as his counterpart, Ronaldo, has practically proclaimed he is god's gift to humanity. FC Barcelona might be a team that also downplayed its expectations at its very height. Could be a cultural thing (spain), I never heard Pep Guardiola stating how they would wash the floor with the other team, lol. It's just a philosophical thing I imagine. Counter that to trash talking coaches like Mourinho. In the end, they are just different strategies to deal with pressure, wether we like them or not.

      One thing that occurred to me how doping might be done is rather simple (I think). Microdose in the private jet. A flight from Spain to Australia is 20 hours! Plenty of time I think.

    12. MTracy said: "The real issue not whether Nadal is doping, it is how does he get away with it? He has been tested numerous times (just like Lance), but Lance had some close calls had stuff pushed under the rug."

      When he played Mariano Puerta in the Roland Garros final, and Puerta was later sanctioned and suspended for doping, there were lots of comments in SouthAmerican media that the doped sample was Nadal's, and that his team paid Puerta to take the fall. They said Puerta was over the hill by then, he didn't care and he could put that money to good use. Make of it what you want...
      I'm not too convinced because if anyone wants to catch Nadal, it's the French Federation and the French press (I think they hate him...), but it would be interesting to see if there's a pattern of his rivals being "caught".

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  5. Richard Pound (former head of WADA) speaks.

    "All of the stakeholders in sport are fully aware of the high prevalence of doping ..."

    "This system will work if stakeholders want it to work, but it can also be sabotaged by those who prefer to ignore the problems of doping in sport or those who persist in the corruption of sport"

    "The rules are clear and the measures they contain can be effectively applied, but they will only work if the people and organizations affected by them are committed to the fight against doping in sport."

    Basically he says exactly what we say here every day. PED use is widespread in sports today. The sporting authorities know that doping is widespread, and are doing everything they can to look the other way because they don't have the will to catch the CHEATS. If he/we are right then Bitti, Miller, and Ing are CORRUPT (as well as the "journalists", "coaches", doping doctors, uncles,...).

    1. While I agree with the general sediment that "doping is an issue," this article by Pound really is lacking any type of concrete recommendations or realistic analysis.

      First, he starts off by saying, "All of the stakeholders in sport are fully aware of the high prevalence of doping and the dangers it presents".. Ok, I'll take his word for it.

      Then he goes on to say, "Unfortunately, their plan is to ignore the problem, pretend it does not exist, pretend to attack it vigorously, and ultimately hope that the public will get tired of hearing about it." Ok. Sounds like tennis... But seriously, if someone really knows the "dangers" of doping, then would they honestly "pretend it does not exist?"

      Although I frequently refer to Stuart Miller and other "stakeholders" as morons, the fact is that they are intelligent people. The "danger" to the sport is not viewed by them as doping. The "danger" is dopers getting caught. This was more than highlighted by Lance Armstrong. Cycling had a decade of unprecedented success -- almost entirely because of Lance Armstrong. The sport grew, viewership grew, revenue grew. All of this was caused by doping. The only reason the party stopped was that Armstrong (and others) were getting caught. As such, the stakeholders simply view the world to be what it is -- doping helps their revenues, catching dopers hurts their revenues. Ultimately, they are businessmen whose job it is to optimize revenue.

      Pound's entire premise is based on "Organized sport depends on support from the private sector. If the private sector loses interest in a corrupt system, it will withdraw its support". While true, you could insert any reason for the "private sector" losing interest in sport -- like they want to watch something else, video games become more popular, they don't like seeing people get concussions, they find non-doped athletes boring, they want to see super-human abilities, they want to records set each year, etc.

      The people who run sports see the need to provide super-human abilities and set new records each year as far more profitable than having the public know for certain that the athletes are clean. Ultimately, Pound suggests some type of utopian system where the public demands "pure" sport. Problem is, we don't live in that world.

  6. The angles Nadal was creating against Monfils in the Doha final was quite scary...especially pulling him wide with the cross court backhand, followed by a cross court forehand and and approach to the net. I don't see anyone stopping him at the Aus open...the power and angles he'll be creating

  7.'s bordering on ridiculous if it hasn't already how people actually believe this guy ever had knee issues. I don't know if it's the racket or not but his shots off both wings pull his opponents wide so easily and he finishes with down the line shots better than

  8. "Lance Armstrong Doping Probe Is Budgeted to Cost $3.3 Million"

    Lance, the gift that keeps on taking..........

    3 million to tell the world what we already know?

  9. Nadal already complained about the supposedly faster courts at the AO, though the officials deny any changes regarding court speed. Could this be a genuine observation, as well as an indicator of a substandard performance to expect, or just another preemptive excuse, which may serve as a possible explanation for knee damage due to the higher strain imposed by the conditions?

  10. No mention of the Biogensis scandal and Arod getting a 1 year suspension?

    Also, for me, last year was the final straw. Nadal, he of supposed delicate knees, coming and making the finals of like 10 straight tournaments, and winning 9 of them, including the FO where in the 5th set he went super saiyan and Djoker could not get a ball past him no matter how hard he hit it or how well angled. Then he absolutely dominates...DOMINATES the summer HC season, winning all his summer warm ups and thrashes Djoker, at the the guy who did well enough on HC throughout his career all of a sudden has his best and most dominant year on HC, his worst surface, the surface hardest on the knees, on the heels of his worst knee injury/recovery?? This guy who is basically Hewitt 4.0 at age 26/27 had his BEST year ever on the tour( wimbledon aside) at an age when most grinders have long since begun the process of physical breakdown.

    But not Nadal, this guy gets stronger AFTER serious supposed injury, unlike guys like Delpo, Fed when he has his back issues, Davydenko who has been a shell of himself since his hand injury, Klijsters whose leg and back injuries sent her into retirment again. Nope, Nadal gets hurt and is guaranteed to come back the next year stronger, faster and more powerful than before.

    So yeah, the game is done and broken and Nadal is the one who broke it irredeemably. Ill watch fed and the ladies play from time to time, but until Nadal, Djoker or murray or all 3 get caught or until they speed up the courts again to allow for some kind of variety, some kind of suprise upset..its boring watching tennis knowing that the same 3 guys are gonna make the semis. At least with federer getting old there is an open 4th spot, but it hardly matters because you whoever that guy is he wont make the final and he surely wont beat any of the 3 Dopingos.

    So yeah, for me, tennis died last year, with Nadal making a blatant mockery of the sport and with the media lapping up his 'courageous return' and 'miraculous recovery'

  11. I'm with you: I haven't watched a single rally at this AO. I cheer for Federer and enjoy watching Gasquet and Wawrinka but it's too much now.

    "Nope, Nadal gets hurt and is guaranteed to come back the next year stronger, faster and more powerful than before."
    +++What's worst is that it's EXPECTED of him by fans and pundits since he's done it time and time again (remember his humiliating end of '09 then his reborn 2010 self with the near 140MPH bombs at the USO?).

    As for Alex Rodriguez, I am quite happy about the fate he received. If only the ATP were as serious about MLB, the top 4 would be quite different (just a hunch, lol ;-) .