Wednesday, April 2, 2014

USADA Tennis Statistics: 2013

The USADA's 2013 anti-doping statistics are now up (all tests were out-of-competition):

10 Athletes Selected 
61 Total Tests

Athlete Name
Test Count

Michael C Bryan
7

Robert C Bryan
8

Mardy S Fish
4

Liezel Huber
2

John Isner
10

Wayne Odesnik
14

Sam Querrey
2

Sloane Stephens
1

Serena J Williams
5

Venus E Williams
8

82 comments:

  1. That is an improvement, but it doesn't have much meaning unless we know how many tests were missed, whether the players knew when they were going to be tested and what the actual results of the tests were (and how many positive tests had a TUE exclusion).

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  2. 1 test for Sloane Stephens? If anyone is doping right now its her. Not too many changes in her game, but her physique has definitely changed.

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    1. Well, this is the USADA testing. The ITF also does it own testing. For Sloane, the ITF did 7+ in competition tests and 4-6 OOC tests. The USADA is only OOC.

      So, Sloane had at least 12 tests in 2013. I have also not noticed any huge changes in her physique, but obviously doping does not always result in huge changes in physique -- look at Lance Armstrong.

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    2. I still think Sloane Stephens being tested only once by the USADA is way too few (especially given the year she had), but as MTracy said, she was tested way more frequently by the ITF.

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  3. Lol at Venus being tested more than Serena given their respective years. Why do they only target Odesnik?

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  4. Lol at Venus being tested more than Serena given their respective years. Why do they only target Odesnik?

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    1. Yeah, I am not fan of Odesnik -- nor the way the ITF has totally mishandled his case, but there is no reason to waste the effort on this many tests for him. Use the money on something useful. Sure, test him, but no reason of have him the most tested athlete year in, year out.

      I think the issue with Venus probably has to do with her TUEs. Venus has stated she has Sjogrens. EPO is used in treating Sjogrens, so I suspect that she has a TUE for this or other similar types of hormones. As such, the regulating agency would test more to ensure that she is using the proper doses of her TUE approved substance.

      Whether Serena or anyone else has a TUE and for what remains the $64,000 question which THASP mentioned in his initial post in this thread. Until that question is answered, all these tests numbers are not worth that much. The fact that the ITF has stopped reporting the number of positive tests that are not violations of the rules is a clear indication that TUE use is substantial. It it were 1 test in 10,000 then I am sure the ITF would publish that statistic.

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    2. Yeah really. Odesnik is 144 in the world. If he's still doping he's doing a poor job of it. And who really cares? I care about players in the top 50 mostly. Sure I wish they would catch everyone who's doping but I'm mostly concerned about the ones who are winning all the tournaments and making history.

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    3. According to Stuart Miller, this would be "intelligent testing". LOL .

      Actually, "intelligent testing" would go after those with a multitude of suspicious circumstances surrounding them (Nadal, Ferrer, Murray, Djokovic, Serena, Stosur). But we wouldn't want to catch a "hero", now would we.

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    4. Cosign to all the above posts. We all know Odesnik is a cheat, he doesn't need to be tested double-digit times. It's a waste of resources.

      I guess we should be glad that the USADA actually got their heads out of their behinds and started testing tennis players again - if you check the stats, their record for a while on testing tennis players was dismal. For several years, U.S. players were lucky if they were tested once. In 2010, just Querrey was tested. There was a three-year gap (2009, 2010, 2011) where Serena wasn't tested at all OOC by the USADA..

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  5. Ricci Bitti: "Novak Djokovic won´t play Davis Cup because of Viktor Troicki´s case"

    http://www.tennisworldusa.org/Ricci-Bitti-Novak-Djokovic-wont-play-Davis-Cup-because-of-Viktor-Troickis-case-articolo17224.html

    ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti revealed on Wednesday what are the true reasons why Novak Djokovic decided not to be part of the Serbian team, in this year's Davis Cup World Group. It appears that Novak didn't decide not to play following a moment of tiredness, but rather because he wanted to be close to his friend Victor Troicki, currently facing a punishment for doping-related issues by the ITF itself. "Novak decided no to play in Davis Cup, because of Troicki's ban, so there was nothing we could do to make him change his mind" said Ricci Bitti to the press.
    -

    But yet, Djokovic has no problem hitting with confirmed cheat (Odesnik)

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    2. The original interview (using Google translate):
      http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/sport/tennis/Die-Politik-darf-den-Sport-nicht-missbrauchen/story/28968494

      Q: Time and again, top players decide to waive participation. 2014 were missing in the first round Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych. Prepares you this development worries?

      FRB:Basically not. Berdych will be present in the semi-final again. Djokovic was upset because of the doping ban against Viktor Troicki; but afterwards we had no control. Overall, we are satisfied with the participation, because tennis has changed dramatically. We can not have the same expectations as 50 years ago.

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    4. Considering Djokovic's miraculous 2011 and subsequent level of play I'm not surprised he has a problem with the doping rules. Remember when the Serbian Davis Cup team was given diplomatic passports by their country so they could pass through customs unbothered? How blatant is that? But TBH I'm pretty sure Djoker needed to "up" his game so that he could tackle Nadal. And he was successful. Who can blame him really?

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    5. Djokovic is such a joke. So he won't represent his country and will throw his other countrymen to the wolves because he is supporting his idiot liar of a friend who refused to take a blood test (and offered up a ham-handed explanation for not doing so).

      If he felt that strongly about the ITF's decision, you would think he would try and play and win just to spite them and throw it in their face. Not playing doesn't help Troicki, it hurts Serbia.

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    6. Not sure who is worse, Ricci Bitti or Djokovic. Seems like an absurd reason for Novak the nationalist not to play. More likely that he is saving up for a burst at the French and will doubtless load up for it. Heck if it means Nadal gets a taste of his own medicine in his backyard, I might actually enjoy it.

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  6. Asafa Powell banned for 18 months due to doping offense. Can we ever expect such a big name to be outed in tennis? I say never.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/26974788

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    1. So Usain Bolt is faster than his fastest doped rivals? Sure. And the top tennis players are all clean, easily beating the doped journeymen below them. Sure.

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    2. well to be fair, tennis does also involve a lot of skill and talent. It wouldn't surprise me that a top (clean) player could beat a doping journeyman any day of the week. That's not to say that all top players are clean.

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    3. Sounds like the old argument that doping doesn't help tennis players because it's a "game of skill". So why would only the lesser-ranked players dope? Do the top players have nothing to gain from doping? Why would the ITF even bother with anti-doping?

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    4. Is there a sport that does not require a lot of skill and talent? The 100m dash? Try googling "sprinting technique" and you will see that even a 10 second race requires a lot of skill, talent, strategy, planning, etc. You know, Usain Bolt has a coach, right? Every athlete has a coach. Do you think these coaches simply tell him "Oh, just run faster. No skill required. Just run faster." Do you know there are entire magazines devoted to running technique and training? Yes, they publish monthly articles on the form and technique of how to run. Weight lifting (power lifting)? Try goggling "Olympic weight lifting techniques." Arm wrestling? Way more technique than tennis.

      So, please, please tell me the professional sport that is full of mindless brutes and requires no talent or skill so that I can dope up and be a master of that sport.

      In addition, using your logic that skill and talent dominate tennis, this would mean that women could compete with men. Or are you saying women are less skilled and/or talented? So, please explain why we have a WTA when physical strength and endurance are of such limited benefits. Surely there are some very talented women out there, but for some strange reason, they just can't beat the men. Funny how men are so much more "talented" because they can serve 130-140mph when the fastest woman's serve ever is 129mph. Someone should really give Serena some coaching lessons on serving because obviously her talent is so lacking and she has no skill because she can't serve as fast as the talented John Isner. I mean Isner almost never gets broken -- that must be talent, or is it his skill? I can't tell.

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    5. and by your logic the 1000th ranked player, given the same amount of PEDs as say Djokovic (if he were doping) would be number 1 in the world. You're saying skill and talent have nothing to do with it. And yeah I think tennis requires a lot more god given talent and skill than running 100 meters. Dope me up and I'm still not going to be able to paint the lines the way the top guys can or serve lights out. Your WTA argument is ridiculous.

      and @richard, where did I say only the lesser ranked players dope? And where did I say there's nothing to be gained from doping in tennis? Try reading my comment instead of reading into it what you want.

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    6. Lopi. His argument is not ridiculous. You're saying that doping does not influence as much because top players have ridiculous amounts of talent. You're giving too much weight to talent and skill, but if we consider just that, there wouldn't be any separation between women and men because... Well, women have a lot of talent and skill too, don't you think?

      That leave us with physical qualities... Things that doping VASTLY enhances.

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    7. well then every player higher ranked than say, Odesnik, must be doping if skill and talent have nothing to do with it. All I'm saying is you can dope someone to the gills but that doesn't mean they're going to be a top tier player. You can't rule out skill/talent. I guess I'm naive because I don't think ALL players dope. At least I hope they don't. If I thought they did I'd stop watching the sport. I just want the sport to be fair for all players so I want the dopers caught but I can't see that happening any time soon.

      And obviously you can't compare women and men. Just like you can't compare children and adults. They may be equally talented but they are built differently.

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    8. @Lopi, at no point did I suggest that a player of much lesser ability who dopes must beat a player of greater ability who doesn't dope. But the differences at the top level - top 100? - are slight. All sports have a measure of skill and technique but we know without a doubt that doping will make a difference. And it's no small difference. Just for the sake of argument, ask yourself, would a clean Djokovic (pre 2011?) beat a doped Nadal? (That's without claiming either is necessarily doping.)

      What I do find hard to believe is that when sports - like track - are catching cheats like former world record holder Asafa Powell that the runners that beat them are likely to be clean. By the same token, I find it hard to believe that the only cheats in tennis are nobodies like Odesnik, who was dumb or careless enough to get caught. Logic tells me the benefits of doping are likely to be most evident at the top of the sport - indeed it may not be possible to get there now without doping.

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    9. Why complicate things? A talented doped player is just as likely to beat a talented clean player as an untalented doped player is likely to beat a clean talented player- so well exemplified by the current threefold "rivalry" involving Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.

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    10. Simplify it further: all three could be doping.

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    11. It's actually funny when noticing the absolute lack of reason or logic with some of the posters here.

      Apparently, there are only 2 possible positions on this: either you believe that doping wouldn't really help in tennis at all or it would be just as effective as in sprinting.

      There are also those who seem to believe that "technique" or "mentality" aren't distant seconds and thirds in sprinting, completely different from tennis.

      Ugh.

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    12. Doping is effective. How much? Well, there's no study about it, right? But popular examples can give you an insight in other sports. We have also consider that there is "brain doping" for the winner 'mentality'. Just from september, have Nadal's perfomance decreased? Is it a coincidence? Knowing you, you'll say yes.

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    13. @Tommy Hass. So from your obviously considerable experience, tell us what you know about sprinting and professional track? Oh right - it's just one foot in front of the other....

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  7. Well, the ITF are never going to tell us but apparently Adrian Mannarino missed a doping test recently and received a warning which he was not to happy about:

    www.programme-tv.net/news/sport/tennis/51401-tennis-adrian-mannarino-dopage/

    French tennis player Adrian Mannarino, 25, received a warning from the French Agency against Doping (AFLD) for missed doping control. The player has apparently not well digested warning. Finally, this is what he hinted on his Twitter account. "The only positive point of this warning is that I know this asshole ass froze my door from 6am to 7am", has he tweeted before quickly realizing the pellet and thus remove the tweet. Except on Twitter, nothing is really lost and "asshole" has obviously left its mark.

    -
    He's deleted the tweet since then.

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    1. Interesting data. THSP should register it for his dopping cases log.

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    2. Ot some parallel database that registers missed doping controls xD

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  8. So Nadal has a shock defeat on clay against Ferrer and people are speculating if the introduction of biological passport in tennis may have something to do with it. I think Nadal could use another long injury break to come back stronger than ever. He has done it twice already, why not a third time?

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    1. "hair loss"

      Nadal during his last "long injury break" was loading on HGH via PRP therapy (that is proven fact,other things has yet to be reveled....) so much that lost his hair.....

      that side-effect can not be hidden (others like private parts damage can) and it hurts him like it does every man facing baldness
      so
      its "to be or not to be", hair or few more titles/money

      when he already has so many/much titles/money maybe he has chosen those few hairs he has left to keep just while longer ....... reason for dip in form

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    2. So, another loss for Nadal, against Almagro this time...

      I didn't see the match, maybe Almagro played like a god, but it seems more plausible that Rafa is out of "confidence" this season, fot whatever reason.

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    3. For once Almagro didn't bow down and pray at the shrine of Rafael Nadal. He actually looked hungry, like he wanted badly to beat this guy whom he's never beaten. I think Nadal was just like a deer in the headlights for most of the match. He probably didn't know what hit him in the end. Fortunately for Almagro it was a best of three match, otherwise I doubt he would have been able to keep it going for 5 sets. Hopefully this and Ferrer's win in MC will give more players the belief that they too can beat Nadal. You have to ask yourself why these guys can do it but guys like Berdych, Tsonga and Del Potro always seem to freeze up when they play him.

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  9. Why every day does CNN run the same fake story? "Venus Williams fights incurable disease

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    1. All this coverage of Venus and not a single person asks her what medications she is taking that allows her to play at the top of a professional sport when she has a disease that keeps some people from even getting out of bed in the morning.

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  10. Interesting quote from Nadal at the Barcelona press conference (where he goes on and on about all the titles his many injuries have prevented him from winning.

    "The strange thing is that he is doing so well at the end of his career, at such an advanced age" - talking about Wawrinka. I wonder what he's getting at here? LOL. The pot calling the kettle black!

    http://www.batennisworld.com/rafael-nadal-talks-to-the-media-in-barcelona/

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    1. Hehe! interesting indeed, thanks for pointing it out.

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  11. Interesting book review (two books I intend to read) about Armstrong: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/books/review/cycle-of-lies-and-wheelmen.html

    A couple of paragraphs (but the whole article is worth reading):
    "Armstrong organized his schedule around the drug-testing system. He skipped secondary races that might include tests, so he could use EPO while training for the Tour de France. When he had a safe lead, he stopped doping for a few days to reduce the risk of getting caught. Once, testers showed up at a race just after he had taken testosterone. He dropped out to avoid being checked.

    As tests became more sophisticated, so did Armstrong. In 2001, he scored suspiciously high on a new EPO test. He arranged a tutorial from the sport’s governing body, the International Cycling Union, to learn how the test worked. Armstrong and Ferrari switched to autologous blood transfusions, which were undetectable. Over time, team doctors figured out how to combine EPO with transfusions to yield what testers were looking for: a normal level of immature red blood cells."

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  13. Nadal seems to have lost the unnatural "explosiveness" he had last year (the semi at RG sticks out) and now he has just lost to another former minion in Almagro.

    So, when does he take is next "injury" break? Right after RG? After Wimbledon?

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    1. It appears that he made a miscalculation or overuse last year that made him very vulnerable to frequent checkouts due to the biologic passport. I think he will have an "injury break" right after wimbledon, saying that the grass worsen his knee condition and will try to study the testing protocols and more doping regimes. Without doping, we have seen this months how far he can arrive. And it's not that much.

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    2. Don't be surprised if he gets back the "explosiveness" at the French Open. Nadal has probably realized that running a lot in several clay tournaments is not going to help his longevity so he seems to be saving himself for the slams now, which is what he is after.

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  14. The longer I follow this blog, the more I get the feeling that most of the slams are "rigged".
    I get this strange feeling that someone behind the scenes is orchestrating who amongst the top players will be in the running for the major titles . Don't you get the feeling "someone" has decided Nadal has won enough Roland Garros titles and that his recent losses are just a run-up to make that decision easier to swallow. I have no proof for any of this, but have been following tennis for enough years, to know something is amiss besides doping.

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    1. And they would decide that Nadal has won "enough" RG titles because? The sad thing is that this is not the first time Nadal looked done and dusted only to come back stronger than ever. So yeah, reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated - just like his many "injuries".

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    2. I think it just as likely that the field is catching up with Nadal as more and more players realise what it takes to win against dopers.

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    3. There is no catching up here. If you follow tennis you should have noticed that the level of play has dropped enormously recently, all around the field especially on the top. I don't know if this is as result of ATP getting tougher and giving warnings to the players that they'll not be given a free pass anymore or the players themselves getting a bit scared after Armstrong's blow. And there are not any new exciting talents coming along.
      Regarding Nadal, age and style of play will be a factor at some point, no matter how much he dopes. Especially since he has started doping at a very young age a decade ago. But I wouldn't celebrate his demise too soon as well. I'm sure that come Roland Garros, he'll do everything in his power to get to that title and looking around at the competition I'm not sure who's going to stop him.

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    4. How has the level of play dropped at the top? Have service and ground stroke speeds declined? Are players slower? I don't think so. If anything I would think that more and more players move well now and hit big. Wawrinka is an interesting case in point. From being Nadal's (and Federer's) punch-bag for years he has been hitting bigger this year than ever ( and definitely moving better - at 29.) Compare: in the AO final Nadal's groundstroke speed was 116kph (which, despite "injury", was the the same as in his semi, when - uninjured - he absolutely crushed Federer.) Wawrinka, on the other hand, was averaging a massive 128 kph in the final - far bigger than both Federer and Djokovic in the tournament, who were in the low 120's. Yep - one way or another there has definitely been some "catching up" going on.

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    5. You are proving my point with your argument. Wawrinka didn't use to be a top player, he barely got in the top ten last year. We know who the top players have been for many years and is of the result their level drop that Wawrinka is enjoying the sucess right now. He's not playing anything much better than he used to be. But Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer are not running and returning every single ball with interest anymore. And yes, their service and ground stroke speed has declined. Have you seen the latest ATP finals? Did you see Djokovic-Nadal at Indian Well? A pale comparison to their never ending battles of the past.
      Wawrinka-Federer at Monte Carlos last week, although more enjoyable, it was full or errors and hardly any rallies. But it's a nice change to see them in the finals at least and that's a direct result of the drop I'm talking about. Most talented players that don't base their game on stamina and physicality are getting more results lately.

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    6. @ arbi

      You merely assume players top players' levels are dropping because you say they are being beaten more often now. How does that figure, when the top players of five years ago are pretty much the same players today? Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Ferrer and so on. They can't be losing too often to retain their rankings. You also claim that service speeds and ground stroke speeds are declining, but you offer no data or evidence in support of that assertion. Wawrinka is now hitting as big as anyone in the game, has lately become a grand slam champion at the grand old age of 29, and has been beating the world No.1 and 2 players - who can't be playing that bad to hold those ranking. Oh, yeah, and after being Federer's pigeon for many years Stan beats the winner of 17 grand slams in a final. So everyone is falling back to Wawrinka's's "old" level of about 5 years ago? You are dreaming. That's about the only point you are capable of proving.

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    7. There's a lot of speculating going on here. Let's focus on the facts for 2014. Two things should be noticed. Wawrinka's performances (suspicious, I admit) and mainly Nadal. Nadal's drop in form is remarkable because he was nearly unbeatable for a decade in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Something fishy is going on (with him, not with the others).
      As for the other top players, I don't notice anything special. Djokovic is playing very wel, but well clear of his 2011 top form. Federer plays some good tennis too, but can't be compared to the Fed 2004-2007 as you would expect.

      I like what's happening to Nadal. He's looking human on clay. I'd love to know why that is the case.

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    8. richard
      I don't need any stats to prove my points. I've been following tennis religiously for decades now and my eyes watching it tell me everything I need to know. The tennis period of 2007-2012 has been of an unprecedented level at the top. It's sad to think that it was at least partly as a result of massive doping. But it did indeed provide many classic matches and epic battles. If you think that what you are seeing now days is comparable to that level then you are the one who's dreaming.
      That's not to say that they have stopped doping. In my opinion it's a combination of easing on it for whatever reason and age doing its thing for many players. Wawrinka has always been there, great shotmaker, always hitting hard and giving a good run for the money to Djokovic and Nadal but alway failing to their non stop retrieving in the end. This time he was able to pull through because their retrieving was less effective than in the past and they made more mistakes, so they played at a worse level. And if you watched the match he won with Federer last week, you wouldn't be bragging about that match.
      It was an error fest that could have finished easily the other way around but for a couple of points in the second set. Federer has been constant in his age related decline and it's hard for him to win big tournaments anymore. The fact that he got back to number 4 and has beaten Djokovic a couple of times already this year is another proof of said level drop at the top, of which Federer with his enormous talent is taking advantage. Or do you think that he's also doping up to the gills to try and catch up the lost ground? If you are not able to see the big difference in level of this Federer to the Federer of his best years that we have not much more to talk about. It means you understand little about tennis and watch it sporadically.

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    9. I have followed the game since the era of Laver and Rosewall. I also play it. You don't need any stats to prove your points because you don't have any. That's the problem with a "religious" perspective - you can choose to believe anything you like, regardless of the facts.

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    10. The one thing I find most implausible is that the clean players are now able to beat the dopers (how?) when they previously couldn't, or that the top players who doped are no longer doping (why?) when there is so little risk of being caught.

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    11. @Richard
      “The one thing I find most implausible is that the clean players are now able to beat the dopers (how?) when they previously couldn't”

      -If a doped player for some reason can no longer take the drugs he needs then yes he can be beaten by a clean player. This is what I think happened to Nadal at the end of the 2009 season, or do you think that all the top 8 players at the 2009 World Tour Finals were doped too?

      “or that the top players who doped are no longer doping (why?) when there is so little risk of being caught.”

      -The testing protocol might be weak and for sure offers little risk of being caught, however I think players have been caught in the past; Nadal for instance. It’s very likely that one or more of his numerous extended breaks from the game has been due to him being caught and subsequently suspended for that time.

      -As for Nadal’s uncharacteristic loses it is possible that is has something to do with the biological passport which came into effect during the last quarter of 2013. The bio-passport is bad news for athletes on PEDs, even Armstrong with all the protection he had was wary of it.

      “From his Oprah Interview:

      Oprah: Would you take [drugs] several days before? You take it and give yourself enough time for it to move through your system?

      Armstrong: Yeah, it's a question of scheduling. I know that sounds weird, but two things changed this. The shift to out-of-competition testing and the biological passport. And it really worked. I'm no fan of UCI, but they implemented the bio passport. “

      -So you see it’s possible that the implementation of the bio-passport affecting whatever current routines Nadal may have with his doctors. But of course this can all change.



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    12. @UntitledK9

      I think the latter part of 2009 through to the WTF in London was one of the few times we have seen Nadal not on the drugs. Others have made the same observation. He was significantly physically smaller than at the beginning of the year - he lost 5-7kg - and his power was greatly reduced (as confirmed by Hawkeye). If he was clean at the WTF in London it meant other players wouldn't necessarily have needed to be doping to beat him. At that time he had no clear-cut physical advantage over the field, as he had previously. Of course I don't know if the rest of the WTF field was necessarily clean. But if Nadal hadn't been doping at that stage then they wouldn't have needed to play catch-up by doping themselves. Yet why would Nadal have been off the dope at that time? (That's assuming he had previously been doping.) My take is that he was likely apprehensive of the new "whereabouts" testing rule introduced earlier in the year, or he had returned a "dirty" test before the French Open that year - as I have heard agents connected with the pro tour claim - which required he drop out of Wimbledon with an injury excuse. But for whatever reason, the Nadal of late 2009 was a thoroughly mortal and beatable player compared with the monster of the beginning of the year (and 2008 before that.) We also saw that by year's end in 2009 the whereabouts rule was being poorly enforced by the ITF. In 2010 Nadal may have had little to fear from the drug testers.

      So what explains his current dip in form? Firstly, I don't think we are seeing the Nadal of later 2009. In 2014 he still is a very powerful player. But lately he has missed critical shots he used to make. That may be because the players he faces today can often match him in court coverage and stamina, and can even surpass him with pace of shot - hitting flatter than he does. He is under more pressure out there now - as all the top guys are.

      Is he - or the tour - running scared of the bio passport? Maybe, but it takes some time for the passport to deliver reliable information, and as we have seen in cycling it still hasn't prevented doping.

      I come back to my view - currently unprovable - that doping is more likely to be systematic on the tour, than merely occasional - amongst the top players anyway, with the realisation amongst players and their support entourages that athletes may stand little chance of succeeding if they don't accept doping as being part of what a professional sportsman has to do to win. With a weak testing programme and access to often undetectable drugs there isn't much to stop players from doping if they want to take that on, and with the rewards that come with success they can easily find reason to.

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    14. I agree with that one or more top plyaers might be doping but my point was that I think Nadal’s drop in form perhaps has more to do with him than maybe the rest of the field. It will be interesting watching how the rest of clay season unfolds.

      “he had returned a "dirty" test before the French Open that year - as I have heard agents connected with the pro tour claim”

      -Not surprised by this.

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  15. I believe the "they all increased their doping, at the same time, so Nadal's performance has dropped relative to the field" argument is bogus. It is much more likely that something has happened to Nadal that dropped his performance, than something happened to the whole rest of the field that raised everyone else's performance.

    I am pretty sure that Nadal has had something happen to him that dropped his physical performance. I can only speculate as to what that something is.

    Nadal's tennis skills are so poor, that he needs a significant physical advantage over his competition, if he has a chance of winning. We saw this in 2009, when the WADA code was introduced, and he was slowed down slightly. We saw this again in 2011 when Djokovic likely went onto some stamina increasing substance. Now are we seeing Nadal modify his doping regime because of the biological passport ?

    I suspect that for some reason, Dr. Cotorro is experimenting with a new doping regime for Rafa, and it may take a while to get it right.

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    1. So if you have a demonstrably weak drug testing regime in tennis (a fact) and the ready availability of sophisticated drugs whose use is easily concealed (another fact), plus the natural incentive for pro sportsmen to win by any means they can, how can you confidently claim that doping hasn't become prevalent in the sport? I would bet that is much more likely than that a doped Nadal (if he dopes) is no longer doping (or is not doping effectively) so that "clean" players can now beat him.

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    2. I didn't say that doping isn't prevalent in tennis. I don't believe that the whole field dramatically increased their doping in 2014, all at once, to leave Nadal behind. That is highly unlikely.

      Nadal's drop in results relative to the rest of the field, in such a short time frame, likely has more to do with Nadal's drop in performance, then the whole rest of the field's increased performance, since the USO 2013.

      Nadal used to DOMINATE at this time of year, and there is clearly something wrong with him this year. The Nadal's have the will to win at any costs however, so I suspect that whatever is "wrong" with him, will be dealt with by Toni, and Cotorro.

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    3. And I didn't say the "whole field dramatically increased their doping in 2014, all at once, to leave Nadal behind." For a start, Nadal hasn't been "left behind" - he is still number 1 in the world - despite a couple of untypical losses. And the field haven't all of a sudden grabbed syringes since the USO 2013 - a fatuous ovder-simplification. But if doping is likely prevalent in tennis (which you appear to say is possible) then the gap between players will have shrunk. Dopers lose their advantage - because others are also doping - and formerly dominant players become less dominant. Hence "unusual" losses. It is easily possible that players can take Nadal (and other top players now) because he no longer has a clear-cut advantage of speed stamina and power; I suspect more and more players have narrowed the gap. They all have speed stamina and power, or they are quite simply not even in the ball park.

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    4. Stop trying to convice everyone, Richard. They just don't agree with you. I also see as unlikely that in mere months, the top 100 could afford or use drugs that previously couldn't. Even systematic doping supports this argument. Nadal's performance suffered an abnormal drop. The number 1 ranking doesn't tell much because is tounct the results of the whole year. The race to London ranking is a little more representative and just look at Nadal's place... The most likely explanation is that Nadal's doping regime is undergoing some changes. The biological passport may be the reason or his body simple isn't responding to his regime anymore. Nevertheless, doctors researching doping advance quicker tan normal science. I wouldn't be surprised if Nadal wins the FO again.

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    5. "The number 1 ranking doesn't tell much because is tounct the results of the whole year"
      It counts* Huge slip there xD

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    6. I am not trying to convince you of anything. You clearly believe exactly what you want. But I am not required to agree (and nor is anyone else.) Your position is that there is really only one significant doper out there - and that is Nadal. That is naive beyond belief, and shows you haven't grasped what the blogger has been demonstrating on this site since it started over 5 years ago.

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    7. I agree with Richard in that the other players not all but several distinct ones have suddenly found great form when they want. Wawrinka has been playing much better the past year and half or even more than before. So has almalgro, although he hasn't been so consistent. A lot of these players may be so frustrated that they feel if u can't beat them join them & then best them. That being said, nadal,s level of play has dropped primarily noticeable on clay. And Novak's out of the blue wrist injury may be an excuse for TUE to win the French. Wawr

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    8. Richard, you say that we all simplify your statements but sadly, that's what you're doing. Anyway, there's no reasonable debate with you like that.

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    9. I say nothing of the kind. But differing views is part of debate. You might want to get used to that.

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    10. You say you didn't, but you did: "And the field haven't all of a sudden grabbed syringes since the USO 2013 - a fatuous ovder-simplification. "

      You say you're not oversimplifying, but you are: "Your position is that there is really only one significant doper out there"

      You're comitting strawmans (discussing statements we haven't stated) frequently. Debating like that is like talking to a wall. Useless and boring.

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    11. You make it pretty clear that you consider the issue is essentially Nadal and his doping programme. That of course is complete speculation on your part - Nadal's alleged doping is not proven. I have alternatively suggested that his recent losses may reflect the possibility that doping is widespread i.e. systematic, not occasional - and is certainly not confined to Nadal. That view, too, is speculation (although I would like to think it was an informed guess. It seems to have escaped you that this website is called "Tennis has a Steroid Problem", not "Nadal has Steroid Problem".) Anyway, I won't die in a ditch for something that is offered, as I have said, as unproven speculation - even if you are prepared to do so. But you are probably right about one thing - this is a fairly "useless and boring" debate. If the hat fits.

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    12. Again, fallacies. Have fun 'debating'.

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    13. "Your position is that there is really only one significant doper out there - and that is Nadal" from Richard

      Strawman. I said the exact opposite.

      If you are losing an argument, make shit up.

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    14. Well if you said the exact opposite then you were effectively stating my own views. So you were agreeing with me? Not very clearly, obviously.

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    15. I agree with GoldenAgeofDrugs and Unknown.

      Nadal is going to be 28 this June and he has played this style for over 10 years. IMHO, I think he and his team are wary of the new biological passport and struggling to "adapt" to it and are trying to think up new doping strategies to try and work around the passport. The drugs could also be losing their effectiveness since he (most likely) has been on a doping regimen for such a long period of time.

      No one is saying other players aren't doping (they are) but that alone can't explain Nadal's dramatic drop in play and struggles on the court. It's something specifically going on with Nadal.

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  16. Doping in Poker?

    http://tennis.si.com/2013/12/13/rafael-nadal-wins-charity-poker-tournament/

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  17. Too bad he didn't mention of PEDs

    Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?
    https://www.ted.com/talks/david_epstein_are_athletes_really_getting_faster_better_stronger

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  18. “he had returned a "dirty" test before the French Open that year - as I have heard agents connected with the pro tour claim”

    That's exactly what I mean. Just as wimbledon unilaterally "insisted" on Nadal not winning last the last couple of years, I get the feeling Roland Garros have now "decided" enough is enough.

    A player player winning the same grand slam nine times. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I bet you French Open officials have come to tbesame conclusion and communicated this to Nadal.

    So the problem here isn't really doping but grandslam committees acting unilaterally, outside of the tennis federation until itsorts it's doping program out.

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  19. “he had returned a "dirty" test before the French Open that year - as I have heard agents connected with the pro tour claim”

    That's exactly what I mean. Just as wimbledon unilaterally "insisted" on Nadal not winning last the last couple of years, I get the feeling Roland Garros have now "decided" enough is enough.

    A player player winning the same grand slam nine times. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I bet you French Open officials have come to tbesame conclusion and communicated this to Nadal.

    So the problem here isn't really doping but grandslam committees acting unilaterally, outside of the tennis federation until itsorts it's doping program out.

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