Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ricci Bitti on the Tennis Anti-doping Programme

An interview with the President of the International Tennis Federation from yesterday:
This time last year, you were about to introduce the biological passport to counter doping. Do you think it’s been effective and do you think you’re doing enough in terms of anti-doping measures?
"Doping is a very difficult matter to discuss because in doping, normally the authorities who test for it are in a lose-lose situation. Because if you have a positive test, it means that you have a problem in the sport. If you don’t have any positive tests, people say you aren’t doing enough.
"What we believe is that the tennis programme is very good, especially at the top. We have now introduced a lot more blood tests.
"We believe that in terms of quality we are very high. Having said that, we have to be vigilant. In terms of quantity, we depend also on the national agencies but they aren’t targeting tennis much. They focus more on cycling and other sports. We need them to do more."


  1. Tipsarevic apparently has Fibrimatosis at his right feet, or rather heel.
    To be more precise, it is called Morbus Ledderhose (coined after the doctor who discovered it, literally translated: leatherpants) - an aggressive growth - not a cancerous tumor - apparently, that needs excision through an operation on his foot.This has been holding back for over a year now, he even had to use a wheelchair for a while.

    According to wiki, there is an albeit unrpoven link between incidence and thyroid problems, stressful work and liver disease. One risk factor is diabetis mellitus or epilepsy.

    One way to stop the growth temporarily is by Cortisone injections or collagenase.

  2. "if you have a positive test, it means that you have a problem in the sport"


    If you have a positive test, and ban the athlete, your have REMOVED a problem in the sport.

    1. Read between the lines. Bitti only cares about public relations. To him, it doesn't matter if 100% of the players are doping, as long as they don't get caught, then he can say, "there is no doping in tennis".

  3. Regarding Ricci Bitti, I find it rather odd that he is pointing his finger at the NADA's all of a sudden, while padding his own back massively. Suddenly, they are at fault for over-testing cycling and forgetting about other sports,like tennis, is that what he is claiming? That is just a mere deflection from his own weaknesses.

    He needs to sort out his silent ban situation, first of all, which keeps doping offences conveniently under the cover until some dubious decision is reached and the public is unaware of players offences rather than dealing with it openly and transparently.
    Also, what's with telling Cilic to fake an injury to withdraw from Wimbledon after he got caught... This is close to Verbrueggen/Armstrong-style, methinks, covering for your top dogs...

    And in general, when looking at his comment, it strikes you that he should comprehend anti-doping efforts not as a lose-lose situation, but as a positive effort that helps to keep the sport fair and unimpaired by artificial means. It assures players that they are not competing against some chemically enhanced tennis-bots protected by their own federation.

    His answer reeks of faintheartedness combined with glibbery diplomacy and is simply wrong and way too defensive, like the ITFs entire program, there is no deterrence factor! HIs quotes are just an illustration of that: it is lacking serious conviction and aggressiveness, there is no conviction and heartfelt calling here whatsoever. It actually tells you a lot about where the real power lies and how money corrupts a/any sport and makes someone, who oficially was hired to fight doping, sound all toothless and mellow.

  4. "Because if you have a positive test, it means that you have a problem in the sport. If you don’t have any positive tests, people say you aren’t doing enough."

    Tennis needs to grow up.

    It is a sport, like many other sports, where the temptation to cheat with PEDs will always be there. Some players will inevitably succumb to it. And a rigorous testing regime should expect to find at least some of these cheats.

    It isn't lose-lose, it's facing up to the plain reality of competitive sport these days.

  5. Correct if I'm wrong but didn't the AFLD express his interest to participate in tennis anti-doping controls for the important french tennis events (RG, Paris Bercy) and the ITF said 'no'? Why would Bitti lie like that?