Saturday, August 29, 2015

US Open, Week 1: Open Thread

Have at it!

150 comments:

  1. As we all marvel at competitors in the US Open this year. We may be reminded of the natural super athlete, secret but legal training techniques, rest pods, oxygen tents and diets that have helped the 21st century athlete has achieve immortally. It is also said that lairs have to have good memories, no more so in our digital age...

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!"

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  2. I honestly don't even know if I want to watch the tournament this year. Right now, professional wrestling - a fake sport - has more credibility than tennis.

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    1. Yep, or read any sport news or columns on USO, i have a weak gag reflex. still waiting for them to stop publishing articles on Nick Kyrgios potty mouth and move on but no... how long has it been since the incident a month.

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    2. Kyrgios is an ass and what he said about Vekic was disgusting, but it is a little rich seeing these reporters get the vapors and pearl-clutch over Kyrgios when there are players who have said and behaved far worse and there are far bigger issues going on in this sport.

      These same people probably cheered Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe cursing at umps, sticking their middle fingers in the air and behaving like boors.

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    3. Kyrgios has learned by example on the ATP, both the WTA and ATP are littered with the arrogant who use the pressure of their elite level as an excuse for inappropriate behavior.
      Funny you should mention Jimmy and John, they nearly turned their Chicago 1985 match into an episode of the then WWF. More recently Del Porto insulted Andy Murray's mother, a much more direct slur that went by without incident.
      What Kyrgios said was about a "girlfriend" which the assumption is Vekic because of a very public girlish crush (being 17yrs) she had on the then married with a baby Stan. The relationship was never confirmed, he's only separated from his wife recently, i don't think they're divorced yet.
      Apart from a tweet after the initial incident - which never pointed to the slur against his girlfriend Stan's been silent on the incident. Vekic not Stan was the one that came out to call kyrgios reduced sentence ridiculous.
      Stan has never came out in support or defended Vekic against the media spotlight - which is unfair in itself the incident was involving Stan (who is happy to stay out of it) but Vekic (who's still only 19) is left to defend herself to the media.

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    4. He insulted Murray not his mother.Murray was acting like a little bitch as usual and DiPotro told him go cry to your mother and Murray, instead of standing up for himself said don't talk about my mother.He is a crybaby,always was.And how do you know Stan didn't support her, just because you didn't hear about it.Stan would have knocked his ass out but Kyrgios ran away.

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    5. He insulted Judy Murray to her son, i was watching the match and heard him and Fergus Murphy trying to diffuse the situation. but the point is it's a similar albeit a more direct slur that went by without incident.

      On Stan - he is the one involved and should be coming out to the media not Vekic. That would be the right thing to do. So he would've sorted Kyrgios out, if he didn't run away?? - cop out. he didn't do anything except compose a vague tweet about the offense he felt and left a young girl to take the heat.

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    6. Listen,man,you always slant the truth to suit yourself.I saw the match also and on the changeover he was bitching and moaning as usual about DelPotro hitting the ball at him and he kept talking shit so DelPotro told him go cry to your mother and Murray said don't talk about my mother.If you ain't doing nothing stop fucking talking shit.DelPotro didn't say a word until Murray started his shit and that wan't a recent match like you said.That match was in 2008 in Rome and Stan didn't hang that chick out to dry.Kyrgios disappeared after the match.You can't be threatening people on Twitter so he went vanilla.You don't think Stan and Donna had a long talk about that.It isn't all about what you say,it is about the way it is.

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    7. Come down off that high horse.The world doesn't revolve around G Murph.

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    8. So lemme get this straight: Kyrgios pointed out that one of his mates banged Donna Vekic and THAT'S why he is a bad person? ROFLMAO

      You guys are far beyond saving.

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  3. Patrick Mouratoglou, on ESPN, about coaching Serena .........................."it's all about the chemistry". Not the best choice of words, perhaps.

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  4. I suspect the ATP are more than happy with Nick Kyrgios vs Andy Murray in the first round.

    Murray has consistently supported the Aussie in public, so Kyrgios is unlikely to act-out in that match. Moreover, Murray is probably going to win, so all the potentially awkward press questions will vanish after round one.

    After that, the world can concentrate on the feel-good PR stories, as per usual.

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    1. I am not watching, but my twitter feed is going crazy talking about how disrespectful Kyrgios is being and that McEnroe - of all people - is criticizing his on-court behavior.

      Which means that even if Kyrgios loses expect 80 billion "thinkpieces" on how awful Kyrgios is for the game. Kyrgios making it easy for tennis journalists to ignore the drug testing issues and other issues plaguing this sport and instead focusing on the new "bad boy" of the sport.

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  5. The top ten iconic moments in tennis - Serena is on this list trice, two of them are tennis related. This is very telling to her legacy for the future. long after she is gone from tennis and the world. People talk about her.
    Her tiles, her style of tennis, her dominance and other reasons that will no doubt overshadow any of her tennis achievements.
    For this reason no matter how many grand slams that Serena gets, Steffi Graf will always come out on top when comparisons are drawn.

    https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/esp-us-open-10-iconic-moments-171406193--ten.html?bcmt=comments-postbox

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    1. According to who? Your top 10 iconic moments mean jackshit.Steffi ran away from the game at 30 because she saw the writing on the wall.And every great tennis player Martina,Steffi,Chrissy,Billie Jean all say Serena is the GOAT,case closed.

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    2. Yeah they would, wouldn't they. These are some of the commentators i've heard with a straight face and a steady voices praise the talent and competitiveness in the WTA.
      I didn't write that article but it's obvious what Serena will always be synonymous with...Graff will always have the class to back up her tenure.

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    3. People write articles all the time.You conveniently take the article that fits your beliefs while 99% of the articles rightfully praise her.You are in the minority and thank God for that.Listen you love Steffi and I love Serena.Let's just leave it at that because I can go all day.

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    4. Haha, already preparing for plan B??? what happened to Monica Seles again? Tax evasion? Whose nose can be parallel to the ground regardless of the position of play they are in, without doping? I think it is humanely impossible.

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    5. Having a "plan B"would suggest i'm invested in the thing, which i am not. The result on Saturday week really wont effect anything important.

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  6. The-human-reasons-why-athletes-get-away-with-doping

    http://www.propublica.org/article/the-human-reasons-why-athletes-who-dope-get-away-with-it

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    1. Very interesting comment from Tyler Hamilton talking about "hiding" from drug testers. He made it sound like it was a common occurrence.

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  7. DEA Announces Major Steroid Operation

    "DEA officials today announced a nationwide series of enforcement actions targeting every level of the global underground trade of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, the vast majority of which are manufactured and trafficked from underground labs in China. "

    http://krwg.org/post/dea-announces-major-steroid-operation#stream/0

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    1. That is a lot of dope. 8,200 liters of injectable steroids, Curiously, WADA was supposed to have assisted with this bust, but apparently not a single athlete was involved. Who is using the steroids?

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    2. More here, and more legit source.
      https://www.wada-ama.org/en/media/news/2015-09/dea-announces-major-steroid-operation

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    4. I didn't see it mentioned in the article (or maybe I missed it), but they didn't discover any client lists, did they? Not that they'd release that information but it would be interesting to know which countries or which athletes these steroids were going to or which sports had the highest order rate.

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  8. Doping has gotten the Hollywood treatment in the "The Program" based on the true story of Lance Armstrong....
    An Irish sports journalist becomes convinced that Lance Armstrong's performances during the Tour de France victories are fueled by banned substances. With this conviction, he starts hunting for evidence that will expose Armstrong.
    The trailer looks good...

    http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1848487961/

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  9. "Nike once had the wellbeing of athletics at its very core, but in the name of profits they now not only look past cheating, but some suggest they are a big part of it, writes Ewan MacKenna."

    Interesting piece about Nike's attitudes towards, and connections with, those involved in doping scandals

    https://ewanmackenna.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/a-tick-in-all-the-wrong-boxes/

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  10. Federer now age 34. Going through his opponents like butter. Showing no signs of age. Compare and contrast with Lleyton Hewitt who is the same age. I am not a fan of Federer, but I have always thought he was probably clean. I am increasingly doubting it. It is almost as though he has discovered the fount of eternal youth. Is his new raquet his own version of Djokovucs Gluten Free? Has he gone over to the dark side? Discuss.

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    1. Interesting comments but I'm not entirely sure Hewitt is a good comparison considering he had major injuries and several surgeries throughout his career. A commentator once mentioned that he was been held together by nuts and bolts.
      -

      "Nevertheless, if Hewitt looks confident with a microphone in his hand, the former world No 1 has no intention just yet of making it a permanent replacement for his racket. Despite having had to undergo surgery five times in the last six years on a range of injuries, the 2002 Wimbledon champion is not tempted simply to head for the beach. He is enjoying his tennis as much as ever.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/lleyton-hewitt-aussie-enjoying-an-indian-summer-9047772.html

      5 surgeries in six years sound extreme, though he was never the same player after them.

      Back to Federer, best of 5 is different challenge. In his last four loses he's been completely overpowered and blasted off the court by strong opponents who hit their shots deep. The new racquet did not seem to help him there.

      But still no one can say with absolute certainty that any of these players are 100% clean.

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    2. Look who Federer played: Darcis and Mayer. I don't think we can glean much from wins over those guys. Let's see when he plays Kohlschreiber and then possibly Isner and then Berdych and then Murray or Wawrinka. If he has to play all those big hitters and then plays Djokovic in the final he'll be spent. Same thing as happened at Wimbledon. Meanwhile Djoker has a bye to the final if you look at his draw. Cupcake with a capital C. I think it's funny that anyone would point a finger at Federer who hasn't won a slam since 2012 when Serena is going for the Grand Slam this year. They're the same age. I know you can't really compare WTA and ATP but really. Federer seems to be ageing the way a great player ages. He isn't winning 3-4 slams a year or multiple Masters like he did in his prime. But Serena does.

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    3. Serena is not beating anyone at this point. Federer is. You don't need to win it. Just getting to the majority of the semi-finals is an incredible feat that only Djokovic has been able to achieve. Even Nadal can't keep up anymore. Without Djokovic and Nadal, Federer would have at least 35 slams and there is nothing anyone could have done against it. Younger players are pulling out because of heat but Federer is never bothered by anything. Even at 34 years, he is never injured, never seems fatigued, never seems out of breath.
      Serena is not beating any player of legendary status at this moment. Federer on the other hand is beating potential GOAT on the men side. Big difference

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    4. He beats Djokovic once and that means he's doping? Give me a break.

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    5. Is beating Djokovic once what made him no2 in the world on the men side at 34 years old? What about all the finals and semi-finals he reached? What you don't seem to realize is that no one would ever come close to Federer's achievements as are as records are concerned. He hold them all except teh number of masters and still looks the same as when he was 27 years and everyone said he started declining. Where are his contemporaries?

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    6. Fed didn't beat Djokovic. Djo like in Montreal let his contemporaries have the title so when he wins the USO he won't have any suspicion if he dominates the masters and wins a GS in one sweep. And you have to remember the shortening of a matches on the men's tour to three outside the GS's allows Fed to wrap up a match quicker - Look at Venus Williams who suffers from an autoimmune disease that causes acute fatigue, she can win in three sets easily. You only have to look at Wimbledon to see how Fed was overwhelmed by Djo by the end of the third set in a best of 5 format.
      Serena is trying the very same masking tactic as Djokovic by feigning injuries, dropping sets against lesser ranks to make it look like she is challenged, but it's painfully obvious it's a farce once she miraculously recovers when up against a strong opponent.

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    7. "Federer now age 34. Going through his opponents like butter. Showing no signs of age. Compare and contrast with Lleyton Hewitt who is the same age. I am not a fan of Federer, but I have always thought he was probably clean. I am increasingly doubting it. It is almost as though he has discovered the fount of eternal youth. Is his new raquet his own version of Djokovucs Gluten Free? Has he gone over to the dark side? Discuss."

      Well, considering that even some of Federer's own fans have started to refer to him as an 'alien', I don't think your suspicions are completely unfounded.

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    8. So it is convenient for you guys to ignore when he annihilated Murray and looked fresh all along while doing so and talk about the match against Djokovic when he was overwhelmed skillwise?
      I thought you guys say Venus dopes to be able to win any match?
      Federer at 34 years old has more endurance than anyone on the tour not named Djokovic. He has more endurance than all the potential dopers that this blog mentions all the time and he still is not suspicious.
      In regards to that belief that Serena would be on the verge of losing just to show that she is not dominating, I find it rather hilarious. May be she forgot her plan at the french Open final?

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    9. Federer has the worst endurance from the big4. He does play less and less tournaments even though he has a quick playing style. He has also a very bad 5 set winning record which got worse over the years. For example he beat Monflis last year in New York from 0:2 and match point down and was toast against Cilic. This year in Wimbledon the same. Great semi final against peak Murray, tired against Djokovic.

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    10. Fed annihilated Murray? the first two sets had no break of service until the dying game, hardly an annihilation. Fed held his nerve to close out the match.

      Serena has been dropping service games and coming back in miraculous fashion all season. The most laughable was the SF Cincy she couldn't even hold her serve because of an niggling elbow/finger/hand (i'm not sure which there has been so many in a short space of time). Come the final she was firing 20 plus aces at Halep with no sign of any problem shown in the previous day. Its a little short sighted not to believe she isn't putting it on.

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    11. Ok. Now lets all agree Federer is always tired and that is why he broke all the records in the book except the number of masters and the number of Rolland Garos titles. He is always so tired that he is the number # 2 in the world at age 34. Yeah, I see an obvious sign of fatigue.
      Like I said from the beginning, based on doping signs and manifestations, Roger is by far the most suspicious when compared to Serena and it is not even close. It is ok to use one example and forget about the rest as long as it suits your arguments.
      G Murphy, I only watch the final against Halep so I can't comment on the semi-final you are talking about and giving the fact that you said Serena let matches go to the 3rd set on purpose, I wouldn't believe anything you say without verifying it. You seem biased to only see negativity when it coms to Serena so I wouldn't trust your judgment on matters related to her.

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    12. Are you for real? He broke records when he was much younger. His last slam win was 3.5 years ago. He has a very quick playing style and an awesome serve in terms of placement and consistency. His serve is the only reason why he is still alive on tour winning some smaller tournaments in best of 3. Another reason is that younger players aged 24 just suck like Dimitrov, Nishikori etc.

      He needs only straight set wins to win another slam and that is highly unlikely as long as a Djokovic is still in the tournament.

      Give Federer the serve from Murray and he will barely win two matches in a row at the slams.

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    13. Well go watch the SF match and then watch the Final again, perhaps you too might wonder what Serena is doing.

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    14. Isn't that amazing that there is someone who never gets injured on the tour. I can't watch the match that is already passed and is irrelevant at this point. Even if I prove you wrong, you would still come up with another argument.
      Rota. It is not just about the last slam. It is about how many finals, semi-finals, etc he has been to.
      Yoou guys are acting like if someone dops, he would remain young forever or something.
      Isn't that amazing when you guys think it is normal for Federer to be second in the world because anyone other than Djokovic suck, you don't think that it is legitimate that Serena can beat players of much lower caliber on the women side.

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    15. 9 comebacks down 2 sets to love. poor stamina ... huh

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    16. Again, how many slams Federer won aged 30+?
      And how many slams did Graf and Serena won aged 30+?

      How many slams did he win being 2 sets down? 2 out of 8. (Miami is not a slam...)

      2009 because Soderling beat Nadal in Paris, otherwise he would have never won the French Open.

      2012 his last slam in Wimbledon on his best surface.
      And btw. without the tiring match against Del Potro he would have one Gold instead of Silver...

      WOW!!!

      So he we are now: Thanks to Soderling he won 2 slams out of 8 being two sets down.

      Serena is clearly not doping...

      PS: Federer had many, many injuries in the past. Just last year he couldn't play London finals and was struggling at the Davis Cup and losing to Seppi.

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    17. And after all. Eric Ed, what do you think. What does logic says?


      Can you recover faster in the short term (for example between two matches at a Grand Slam) because of doping/painkillers?

      And/Or

      Will you rather get injured in the long term because you kill the pain because of doping and don't listen to your mind and body.

      For example hair loss, hipp surgeries etc.?



      There are a couple of books out there from doping victims during the DDR/East-Germany "era"

      Maybe you should read.

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    18. I don't necessarily buy the age argument by itself as evidence of doping. As training methods have improved, I think there are legitimate ways players can extend their professional lives. What I see as evidence is when any player wins a grueling five set match (or long three setting among the women) and comes back and wins their next match fresh as a daisy. I am suspicious when a player is supposedly sick but plays like gangbusters or when someone undergoes a miraculous change in ability. I am less suspicious of Serena and Roger, who have always had the skill (although Serena's odd health issues give me pause) than I am of players like Djokovic, who has undergone stunning changes in skill and ability to recover.

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  11. Awful lot of stories popping up over the past few weeks about how Serena is not being appreciated as the GOAT female tennis player due to her race and her physique.

    Pre-emptive attempt by her publicists to head off steroid claims when she inevitably wins the grand slam (at 33!!!!!!)?

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  12. Arthur Ashe's brother, Johnnie Ashe, underwent a second term in Vietnam to protect his brother (who was in ROTC) from a military term of duty, which would have derailed his tennis career.

    Back when tennis was pure...........

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  13. Blog favorites, Serena and BMS face each other..

    Hopefully neither will have any adrenal issues.....

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    1. Survives a scare yet again to beat sands, the farce continues. Wonder when the sickness/illness/elbow injury will be played, probably around the QF.

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    3. I only followed Serena's match on the scoreboard, but there was never any doubt in my mind that she would eek out a close second set only to crush BMS in the third and that's exactly what happened. It's almost as if all of her matches are scripted like a bad reality show and to think that there are thousands of gullible people out there that can't see through Serena's transparent bullshit...

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  14. Has anyone else noticed that the players are ALL uniformly looking thinner and less muscular this US Open?

    I think there is definitely some kind of scare going on, and its making these folks all get off the juice.

    Their physiques all look very, very different to me. Much less muscular, and some of the top folks are not playing their A games either...

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    1. Kvitova? Interesting, I will have to check her next match out. Didn't she claim she had mono?

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    2. She announced she had mono in early August and said she still had symptoms and went on to win New Haven. I have been wondering what the TUE bonus is for a mono diagnosis.

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    3. Is there any way of finding out who has TUEs and why? Does anyone think there might be something odd about Venus Wiklliams's sudden weight gain and equally sudden newfound form? What sort of TUEs might someone with Sjogren's Syndrome be given, do you think?

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    4. Legalised doping vis a TUE seems the most obvious plan for an otherwise respectable player who wouldn't normally raise suspicion. And it would seem from the Mattek-Sands case that current ITF practice is simply to nod them through with little or no real scrutiny. Once you have one of those it's open season.

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    5. @ Sal. Sjogrens could buy you a TUE for glucocorticoids, which can be performance enhancing (remember Lance's cortisone prescription). There is occasionally lung involvement, so at a stretch you might get prescribed beta agonist bronchodilators, but there are easier ways of getting TUEs for those.

      In the main, other therapies for Sjogren's are immunosuppressants, and these would not be performance enhancing.

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    6. Corticosteroids can also be prescribed for mono and interestingly, cortisone shots apparently allow an athlete to lose weight without a concurrent loss of muscle and power. Looking at Kvitova, who is far thinner than she has ever been but is playing with great power, I have to wonder.

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    7. @Sal They can probably tell us the number of tennis players using TUEs (or the number who asked for one) but they probably can't give out names or conditions for privacy reasons.

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  15. Nadal's strange form continues. After coming back from injury at the Aus open, everyone thinking it would be some kind of 'warm up' tournament after his injury lay off, he made the qtrs. And now, at the end of the (slam) year, he has still not bettered this AO result! Something strange is happening when Fognini is beating a former world-beater in a slam.

    Maybe it's the bio passport, or the years of juicin' wearing out his body?

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    1. Has to be something, a player like Fognini twice in one year?

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    2. Maybe he had a health scare and had to cut down. Like waaaay down.

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    3. I always thought that if Nadal was clean he'd be at best a top-50 player. Now it seems that is the case. Could just be age. ;)

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    4. Age+worn out body+too much doping taking a toll on his body=current Nadal form.

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    5. Apparently Nadal and Lopez got their "special formulas" mixed up for this tournament.

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  16. Jo Durie on Serena winning Calendar Slam "But I think a lot of players want to see her do it, because it is history in the making." Mmmm....interesting comment to make about a supposedly competitive environment.

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    1. The media cheerleaders care more than the players.

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  17. Just read on tennis channel, against Fognini Nadal's forehand speed dropped about 3 mph from third set onwards. Looks like he needs a magical change of grip very soon....

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  18. On ESPN. Darin Cahill re: troicki (paraphrasing)

    "I don't think anyone in the locker room believed he was breaking the rules -- he has an aversion to needles"

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    1. Oh please. Cahill can take multiple seats for that weak excuse. A lot of people hate needles yet they still get their flu shots, get blood drawn, etc. Troicki needs to suck it up, stop being a crybaby and stop making excuses. Having blood testing is part of doping controls - if he doesn't want to do it, then he's free to quit the sport and go do a job that doesn't require blood testing.

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    2. And don't forget Cahill advises players as part of the Adidas team. Not only does he have no incentive to expose the truth, he has a motive to keep the pretense going.

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    3. @mary: Absolutely. Cahill advises a lot of players and gets good money for doing so. Deep down I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks Troicki is full of it but has to keep up the pretense that Troicki is getting "picked on" and "bullied" by doping controls.

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    4. Those involved in tennis at a professional level are all $urfing the same wave... In that context, it's not surprising that they don't wan't to rock the boat

      (fully realize I mixed nautical metaphors there, lol).......

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  19. So, Donald Young is an absolute nobody for almost a decade and yet he can come back from 2 sets down twice in three matches? And both times against top 25 players? After having never come back from 2 sets down before?

    At least Tomic was completely out of gas in his next match after beating Hewitt in 5.

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    1. Tomic is a dog, always was, always will be.He doesn't know the meaning of work ethic.

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  20. Did anyone see the women's singles singles draw for Round 4? at the top half you have Serena, Venus, Genie B, some nobody from Estonia, Markaova. etc The bottom half is heavy has all the "good players", Halep, Azernka, (who look like they'll face each other in the QF) Kivitova, Lispicki - who'll all be busy battling their way to the final
    While Serena will be facing her very ill sister and players she should have no problem dealing with leading up to the Final. So cue the theatrics - we'll all be treated to a show of the many labors of Serena Williams before she wins the Calendar Slam.

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    1. Serenas Calendar Slam looks completely staged. An upset would have had to happen in the first week. Serena is approaching her level of near invincibility by now, much like with Nadal in the second week of Slams where he is usually pretty much unstoppable. I guess Williams' win is supposed to draw attention to tennis in order to generate larger buzz/revenue, thus her getting a pass.

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    2. and she's playing Venus in the QF. Might as well just give her a bye. The USO website calls it the "eagerly anticipated sibling square-off".

      LOL. Who is actually eagerly anticipating this match?

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    3. "eagerly anticipated sibling square-off" Lol is right. Psst USO....there was a sibling square off a few weeks ago, Wimbledon already did that.

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    4. Looks like the Williams family had a meeting and decided they had to make this look semi-legit so they agreed to split sets but it was never in doubt that Serena would win. Why even play the semifinal when Vinci hasn't even come close to winning a set against Serena?

      Just end this farce and give Serena the title. A fake sport like professional wrestling has more credibility than tennis at the moment.

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    5. Match looked pretty legit to me (as far as not being scripted). Serena looked like she was just dying to scream "come on" on several occasions, but she noticeably restrained herself (because of who was on the other side of the net). In the second set, you could argue that Serena gave Venus some openings, but Venus certainly ran through them with some serious shotmaking. Anyway, the match pretty much lived up to the hype, at least for the average fan that doesn't think about what the players may be doing behind the scenes.

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    6. I didn't watch the match, i already knew the outcome. The scoreline doesn't always tell the story of the match but Venus getting the second set @ 6-1 is unusual. But you know given that Serena knows how sick Venus is she probably didn't want to humiliate her especially since she already got a straight setter against her in Wimby.
      I don't think its scripted, its the draws that look fixed.

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    7. @G Murph,

      I dunno, the scoreline was much more lopsided at Wimbledon. So Serena didn't mind humiliating her then?

      Venus looked pretty strong this whole tournament. I think her illness is primarily about her getting fatigued rather easily, not about how hard she hits the ball or even necessarily how fast she can run. In any case, she seems to have learned to manage her condition better the past year (possibly due to TUEs, but that's a separate issue).

      I really don't see where you're going with the draws being fixed. Don't they have draw ceremonies where the defending champions pick names out of a bag (or is that just Wimbledon)?

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    8. I thought draws were computerize determining decrees of difficulty and mathematics i don't understand. The Revelation is a PR event? I could be wrong. But in either scenario i don't think it would be much of a feat to fix a draw if the means were there especially when clearing the path for Serena would draw in viewers and interest..Round 4 was pretty pathetic on Serena's half. The draw itself showed "difficulty" level of players being able to make it that deep into the competition (Bouchard, some nobody from Estonia, Vinci etc). At the bottom the seeded players left in the competition pitted against each other for a place in the final.

      On Venus it's not just the illness it's the age (what 35?) when Serena's blowing players half her age off the court. I find it fascinating that Serena was only able to get one game against Venus in her current form. And you are correct the autoimmune disease Venus has causes fatigue as well as a weakened immune system with would affect her health in general - didn't she pull out of Cincy because of a viral illness?

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    9. @G Murph,

      Here's a link explaining the draw process for the US Open: http://www.quora.com/Tennis/How-is-the-draw-for-the-US-Open-determined

      Key sentence: "...the remaining seeded players (those seeded 3-32) are drawn at a ceremony held prior to the start of the tournament."

      So, it seems pretty hard to fix the draw, at least when it comes to the 32 seeded players. Also, I'm not sure I agree that Serena's half the draw was *that* easy. It did contain a couple opponents who have given her trouble in the past: Venus and Sloan Stephens (you could also consider Madison Keys dangerous--she did end up losing by only 1 break per set). Granted, Azarenka, Halep, and Kvitova are more dangerous (though Kvitova is not historically a huge threat on hard courts).

      Despite Sjogren's, Venus is a pretty young 35. She has never been one to play long points, and she has missed a lot of tournaments throughout her career but particularly since being diagnosed with Sjogren's. So, I'm not surprised she can still move reasonably well and still hit the mickey out of the ball.

      Serena didn't play a great second set (she didn't serve as well and threw in some doubles), but Venus played a tremendous second set. She really seemed in the zone. Even if Serena intentionally lost the second set, I doubt she would have given herself only one game. In the third set, by the way, Serena only won by one break. It was close enough to be interesting and (apparently) stressful for Serena.

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    10. Interesting that you think Stephens, Keys and her sister could trouble Serena. Sorry i still don't get how a draw could be tamper proof, especially seeing how the names fell. If Serena would've gotten someone strong to trouble her even early in the rounds it would been bye bye ratings.

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    11. I'm just saying that there are a lot of witnesses to the process, so it would be more difficult to tamper with the results. I wouldn't go as far as to say "tamper proof", but definitely tamper resistant. The draw seemed believable to me. Sometimes patterns emerge in randomly generated sequences.

      Anyway, it's kind of moot now isn't it? Serena apparently couldn't handle the pressure of the moment, and you gotta' give Vinci credit for playing the match of her life. The calendar year Grand Slam has become such a big deal that I wonder if anyone will ever pull it off again. The Bryans couldn't handle the pressure, and neither could Serena. (Interestingly, Serena claimed in her post-match interview that she "doesn't feel pressure". Statements like that do nothing to help her credibility. The woman looked like she was on the verge of a heart attack in the third set.)

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  22. May I ask what did Simona Halep do during the 10-minute heat break against Lisicki? She was dead on her feet during the second set, but she looks completely rejuvenated since the restart of the match - getting to every ball and running everything down.

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    1. You may check how she won against Radwanska in Toronto. Radwanska won first set 6:0 and the match was completely one-sided for the first half an hour until they had the rest between sets. Then Halep returned with big serve, big points leaving no shadow of what she was in the first set. She closed it with 3:6, 1:6.

      Leaving such a huge gap between the sets couldn't be explained by just: the women are less constant or whatever.

      It was rather clear that there is something going on there.

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  23. The 25th-seeded Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard, after she slipped and fell in the locker room, diagnosed with a concussion, withdrew from her fourth-round match against Roberta Vinci on Sunday.

    Question:

    Is it possible or just an excuse to hide something that can't be said?

    Anyway, it is very strange because the week before she lost to Vinci in two straight sets and she played badly ( in the previous matches she wasn't playing good tennis at all !! ), the week after at the US Open she suddenly found her optimal form because she said that Jimmy Connors had trained her for just a few days and encouraged her very much, she won the first 3 matches and when the going started getting tough, she suddenly had an accident in the locker room and she withdrew from her fourth-round match against Roberta Vinci with whom she lost heavily the week before!!

    Here is article with some useful cues!!

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/tennis/2015/09/06/eugenie-bouchards-concussion-leaves-many-questions-unanswered-dimanno.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Best regards.

    Fabrice

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    1. Bouchard a former top ten player slips in form and finds it hard to get past the rounds...sounds familiar hasn't a former top ten ATP player got the same woes?

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    2. Found it very odd & unbelievable too. And also this US Open has had most withdrawals just like Wimbledon had few years earlier. Wonder why...

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  24. Remarkable how Kevin Anderson, a guy whose has never been known for either his stamina or his ability to defend, put on a display of both in downing Murray. At the age of 29 he's suddenly become a world class defender with stamina to boot.

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    1. But Murray wasn't exactly playing lights out. He looked out of sorts to me. Don't forget Anderson won the first two sets against Djokovic at wimbledon but just couldn't keep it going so no big surprise that against a less than stellar Murray he was able to close it out.

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    2. Highly unlikely that Anderson's on drugs.

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  25. My apologies for the off topic post.

    Paula Radcliffe “Categorically Denies” Cheating After She Was “Effectively Implicated” In The Sunday Times/ARD Doping Report

    http://www.letsrun.com/news/2015/09/full-statement-from-paula-radcliffe-who-categorically-denies-cheating-after-she-was-effectively-implicated-in-todays-parliamentary-hearing-about-the-sunday-timesard-doping-report/

    I'm sure her and her team of attorneys have been sitting down trying to figure how to get out this mess. The solution? The testing is flawed.

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    1. The testing has always been flawed and not stringent enough. Athletes know how to beat the tests. Yet another example of someone who has never tested positive who more likely than not cheated/doped.

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  27. WADA athlete doping prevalence survey.

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/culture-media-and-sport/WADA's-athlete-doping-prevalence-survey.pdf

    This was based on anonymous interviews with 2163 athletes at the 13th World Championships and 12th the Pan-Arab games (2011)

    44% of athletes at the WCA admitted doping in the prior 12 months!!!!!
    57% of athletes at the Pan Arab games admitted doping in the prior 12 months!!!!

    Even with strict adjustments for respondents that might not have been accurate, they estimated that the minimum number of dopers was 29% and 45% respectively.......

    Testing catches 1-2%............... That's a 3% risk of getting caught.......

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    1. And this is why the athletes don't fear the testers for the most part. Testing is a joke across the board.

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    2. This study is a joke. The "unrelated question method" simply results in confirmation bias.

      This "survey" works by asking two question simultaneously, with only the person answering knowing which one is being asked. The questions in essence: "Is [some random persons] birthday in the first half of the year?" and "Did you dope?"

      The study then assumes that people will answer each question 50% of the time.

      They then "confirm" the accuracy of the study because it gave "consistent" results with past studies that used the exact same ridiculous method. In any case the "consistent" results differed by more than 50% -- which highlights the need to establish your success criteria prior to initiating your study, not after the data has come in.

      The fact that the study is funded by a agency with a financial interest in the outcome and there is a paragraph of complete propaganda about that agency -- which is totally unnecessary to the study in any way, makes me toss this on the "junk science" stack. It then attributes the disparity between those people caught and the results of the study to "cutting-edge doping techniques" without describing these, nor why the WADA could not test for them. It appears that the funding agency is a saint who is just so wonderful, it is just those darn "cutting-edge" dopers that are getting away with it. Curiously, the study cites several articles for these "cutting-edge" techniques. However, referencing the actual articles shows anything but "cutting-edge" techniques. Instead, techniques such as "some of the WADA's prohibited substances are taken out of competition, when fewer tests are conducted" as being used to avoid detection.

      Another "cutting-edge" technique is "Some athletes train in remote areas." (http://www.clinchem.org/content/57/7/943.full). Wow, that is really "cutting-edge" Who would ever think of doing that?

      Another notes that "We need more-intelligent testing." So, if you are not currently doing "intelligent" testing, what type of testing is WADA doing?

      So, a propaganda piece paid for by WADA that anoints WADA as Saint Anti-Doping, despite the citations to articles which say that WADA is incompetent.


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    3. @MTracy

      Yeah, this reads like a term paper that a freshman high schooler did at the last minute.

      Do you think WADA just doesn't do enough testing or that they don't do the tests that will catch the dopers? How would you fix WADA (because it is broken, no question about it)?

      You have given us valuable insight on this topic so I'm genuinely interested in your response(s). I think the points you raise are ones that need to be discussed.

      If we can't trust WADA or USADA, who can we trust? Is there any doping organization out there doing intelligent or quality testing? What was WADA even thinking with this survey?

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    5. I'm not saying WADA are perfect, but I prefer to see the glass half-full.

      Regardless of the tone of the discursive sections, or any methodological considerations, I think it's good to have a document from a official independent body whose raw data suggests about half athletes anonymously admit to doping, but aren't caught. This pushes back against a not-uncommon public perception that doping's rare and negative testing means a clean athlete.

      I'm not sure this casts WADA in a great light, either. It makes the code and the testing look ineffectual, to be honest.

      That said, IMO, ineffective testing isn't just WADAs issue. It's the IFs who decide their budget and (largely) how it's deployed. ..... And it's the IFs who have the major financial conflict, not WADA. Maybe WADA want a data-stick to beat them into spending more, and testing more effectively. The code recommends only 5% of blood samples in tennis are tested for EPO-simulating agents or hGH-like drugs (vs 10% for hGH-like agents in Badminton, for example). I suspect these low numbers resulted from a strong push from ITF to test less/spend less.

      I know some people have issues with USADA, but I give them credit for taking Armstrong down. Others failed to. Without their zeal, he would still be "an innocent hero" and public attitudes to doping would be set back by decades.

      When I look at forums other than this, my perception is that there has been a sea-change in the average fans attitude to doping. There are still many with their head in the sand, of course, but there's an increasing percentage who have woken-up to the issue, and Lance's exposure is the biggest reason, IMO.

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    6. (6) Out-of-zone testing. Any time an athlete is in a remote location, it should send up a red flag. Obviously, costs are involved.

      (7) Full disclosure of all "results management" dismissals. This is a huge black hole in the "Code." If a tester draws blood from Nadal, they can simply throw the result away at "results management" by saying the test was not conducted properly. Currently, the reasons for this are a complete mystery and never disclosed. Did Nadal pay the tester? Did someone sabotage the package? The fact there there are so many "results management" dismissals undermines the sport completely. There is no way that junior athletes will believe in a fair system when 10-15 cases a year are mysteriously dropped for no stated reason. This simply fuels the "silent ban" conspiracy theory that will never die.

      (8) Clarify "no fault" rules. I would even recommend relaxing these. Tainted supplements are not a serious method of performance improvement for top athletes. However, lower level athletes don't want to increase testing because they don't want to get popped for "tainted supplements." Provide a diversionary program for "tainted supplements" cases. The athlete would have to (1) disclose the supplements use on the anti-doping form (currently required anyway), (2) prove that the supplement was tainted by the manufacturer, and (3) that the manufacturer had not previously been noted as selling tainted supplements. If so, allow a probationary period of 1 year in which no less than 2 tests per month are performed and the athlete is subject to 24 hour monitoring (via the app discussed above).

      (9) Structural changes. Term limits for anti-doping directors. For an international federation or NDO, the chief officers could serve no more than 4 years. Every 4 years is a new "era" in doping. These people focus too much on by-gone issues and are not moving the anti-doping efforts forward.

      I'm sure I'll think of some more, but the common trend with all these is that they don't really cost much (or pay for themselves), and shift the focus onto "big fish" rather than lower level athletes.

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    7. Thanks for responding - I like having these types of discussions.

      Regarding #7 - they can throw test results away? I never knew this before. Wow, I can't even process that. Why would they go to the trouble of taking a result and then throwing it away - unless, like you stated, they got paid off or there was sabotage. I think the silent ban is iffy as well, but tennis does nothing to dispel the rumors that there are silent bans.

      When you look at CIlic's case and he was allowed to go all over TV, social media, etc. and claim he had a knee injury when he really was suspended for doping, it does nothing but feed rumors of silent bans. Tennis could easily put this to bed and announce positive results right away like other sports do, but they refuse to and then they get irritated when people accuse them of silent bans. A lot of times we don't even know a player was suspended for doping until their appeals process is completed.

      #8 is interesting - I agree there probably should be a difference between supplements and HGH/EPO/steroids/etc. I agree with your measures on supplement-taking. The only issue is that many of the athletes that test positive for supplements claim their trainer (many athletes have claimed this / wife (Puerta's excuse) / mother (Cilic's excuse) gave them the supplement and they just took it no questions asked.

      WADA had a $28 million budget last year - all of your points (and more) are doable under that current budget.

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    8. For the "results management" dismissals, they don't have to give a reason -- which is what creates the problems. In theory, it started as a way the lab could deal with known errors in testing. That is, if the lab knew it handled the sample improperly, it could throw the results away. However, there is now a rather long list a reasons the WADA uses to explain the throwing away of results -- and it does not explain why it is throwing away these results beyond the typical "trust us" response.

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    9. In terms of #8, the clarification would eliminate "Cilic" situations because "no fault" would be clearly defined. Currently, the arbitrators have too much leeway to deciding what the term "no fault" means. By clearly defining exactly what it means.

      In any case, under my rules, Cilic would have been banned, because he failed to disclose the stimulant on his anti-doping form. By making the strict requirement of disclosure on the form (which you fill out when they are taking your sample), it will eliminate all this "after the fact" story making.

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  28. Anyone else suspicious that Cilic is suddenly in the semis & possibly could win the finals yet again when he has been playing crap most of this year??? Mommy accidentally fed u glucose tablets again...

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    1. I'm suspicious as hell of Cilic.It's the same as last year - crap year then he looks unbeatable at the U.S. Open. Another joke of a player beating the system.

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    2. His best set against Tsonga was the last one, after over 3 hours of match.

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    3. this guy is totally suspicious. Obviously they aren't testing this year.

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  29. If I checked well, Cilic has 0 semis at any Masters tournaments but 3 semis at Slams, 2 at the US open alone. I don't think there has been a precedent to this.

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  30. A 33 year old winning the grand slam. Nothing suspicious about that, eh?

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  31. Flavia Penntta in the SF of a Grand Slam, hilarious...

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    1. Is this doping or some executive's warped sense of humor?

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    2. I am looking forward to the Pennetta/Vinci final.

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    3. Actually, this is her second SF of a Grand Slam, the first happened in 2013 at US Open!!

      Furthermore, in 2014, Pennetta won at Indian Wells which is not an average tournament!!

      Apart from that, no explosion of muscles or stamina at all, just a bit of luck and more mental maturity which she has reached too much late because she is going to retire very soon!!

      Nothing more and nothing less!!

      Best regards.

      Fabrice

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  32. Wawrinka not playing well in the 1st week but suddenly GOATing in 2nd week, beating a guy that he had trouble with in regular BO3 tour matches. Reminiscent of the QF of 14AO, 15AO and 15RG? Peaking dope cycle? A 30 yr-old player who couldn't even win a master for the most part of his career suddenly blooming at a age that is supposed for decline...not to mention his coach's former player was allegedly banned from the sports. Not suspicious of course because we all love the Swiss players...surely saving tennis from the doper in 15RG final...yeh double standard at its best...

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  33. even Nadal is more consistent than this guy...at least he can dominate the entire clay season...and swept all hard court major titles in summer in 2013 before his yet again "injury"
    While Wawrinka cant even play consistently well for the entire GS...he can only peak the second weak, not to mention doing well in two consecutive tournaments
    "Injury" in montreal...cant even beat Kyrgios...then get the therapeutic exemption due to "injury" maybe.

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  34. Has yet to lose a set at 34 years old...huh. Without Djokovic and Nadal, the undopable man would probably have 40+ slams and would be getting closer to 50 slams.Yes, indeed, he is an alien.

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  35. I love Federer, and would be greatly disappointed if he were on PEDs, but this caught my eye from the quarterfinal post-match Wawrinka interview:

    Q. You mentioned on the court, you know, that Roger has invented this new shot. Do you feel like Roger has kind of reinvented himself this summer, that he's captured something that's helping him play like he used to?

    STAN WAWRINKA: I think he's trying some new things, for sure. He's feeling really good at the moment.

    I think probably what he did between Wimbledon and Cincinnati with his fitness trainer was something really good for him. You can feel he's fresh and enjoy.

    And later in same interview . . . .

    Q. I'm sure you're tired of answering questions about Roger, but when you see him playing as well as he is at 34, does it make you think differently as a pro about the length of your career, what is possible in terms of if you pay the right attention to conditioning and fitness and you have luck with injuries and so on that you can play competitively later on through your career?

    STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure. He show that it's possible. I'm lucky to have the same fitness trainer as him, so I'm doing right schedule. I'm doing some good work so far. And again, if I look at myself, I'm playing my best tennis. I start to play my best tennis at 29, so hopefully I can still play for few years.

    Who is this fitness trainer that the two Swiss stars share?

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    1. A Swiss starting to play his best tennis at 29... an another 34-yr-old Swiss playing as gd as he did when he was 24.

      Credit to the fitness trainer who turns Wawrinka into a bulky guy and builds him a physics defying game so that Wawrinka can hit the hardest BH and hardest serve (for a 1.83m guy) ever in tennis history.

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    2. Meh, he has about a .00002 percent chance of beating Federer. It'll almost surely be another straight-set cakewalk for the GOAT.

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    3. Roger does look fresh out there. Smart move skipping Montreal and putting in some more work with the fitness trainer.

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  37. Here is the answer:

    If tennis ever comes up with an “unsung hero” award, Pierre Paganini will surely be among the major contenders. There are key team members behind every multiple Grand Slam champion and Paganini has played a major role in the careers of two such men. The Swiss fitness coach, who is a former footballer and athlete, has been part of Roger Federer’s entourage for 15 years and has also been working more recently with Stan Wawrinka....

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/stan-wawrinka-puts-french-open-victory-down-to-new-fitness-regime-10306176.html

    Wimbledon.com talks to Federer's fitness trainer, Pierre Paganini, ahead of another Grand Slam landmark at SW19 this summer...

    http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/articles/2015-06-16/roger_federer_set_to_rewrite_grand_slam_history_again.html

    Best regards.
    Fabrice.

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    1. The Swedish article I was was referring to is dated 2009:

      http://goo.gl/Dgn2Vz

      "SvD kunde i tisdags avslöja att världstian Robin Söderling fått en dopningvarning sedan han missat ett test under Öppna franska"

      "SvD could on Tuesday reveal that world no. 10 Robin Soderling received a doping warning after he failed a test during the French Open"

      -

      Norman worked with Soderling from November 2008 to November 2010.

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    2. I also believe Soderling failed a drug test (whether one or multiple I'm not sure but he's been out since 2011). I know mono takes a lot out of you, but 4 years?

      Wawrinka is a strange case indeed.

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    3. In 1999 (his breakthrough year) Magnus norman was coached by Fredrik Rosengren. Mario Ancic was also coached by Rosengren from August 2005 to his sudden retirement due to mono in 2008. Rosengren retired from coaching after Ancic and didn't worked again as a coach until jan. 2011 when Soderling hired him. Soderling also retired due to mono after Bastad 2011.

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  40. I have moved my comment to the most recent thread.

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