Sunday, March 13, 2016

Read This

Drop whatever you're doing and read this excellent piece by Paul Kimmage.
PK: What about steroids and EPO? How do you know you weren't taking any of that stuff?

AA: Because I got tested 150 times from WADA - 20 times a year out of competition....
[...]
AA: I don't have any comments on that kind of speculation. It's absurd to me.

PK: Absurd?

AA: It's absurd to me. I know everything I've been through in my life.

PK: That was the only aspect of the book that left me uneasy. I mean, you say the sport is clean but . . .

AA: Oh fuck!

43 comments:

  1. Came here to post the link..... It is a great read.

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  2. LOL @ Agassi suggesting that he was tested 20 times a year out-of competition...

    Did he mean 'career' rather than 'year'

    "Paul Kimmage: I've written extensively on doping in sport and the passage in the book that makes me most uneasy is on page 200. The year is 1994, you have just become the first unseeded player since the '60s to win the US Open and now the goal is to become Number 1. This is the quote: "I cloister myself in Gil's (his personal trainer, Gil Reyes) gym and train with fury. I tell him about the goal, and he draws up a battle plan. First, he designs a course of study. He sets about collecting a master list of phone numbers and addresses for the world's most acclaimed sports doctors and nutritionists, and reaches out to all of them, turns them into his private consultants." Who were these acclaimed sports doctors? What was the nutrition? (He reaches for the salted almonds.)

    Agassi: He has a network of people that work in the Olympic training institution in Colorado Springs, and a number of people that are responsible for writing the American sports medical journals . . . Let me put it this way, this is going to sound really strange, but the greatest advantage I had with Gil when I started with him is that he knew nothing about tennis and didn't look at it through the same lens that everybody else looked at it through. This was the day and age when people didn't believe in weight training and he looked at it and said, "Wait a second, if you make the muscles stronger you've made them more capable." Gil never stopped learning, it was his greatest thing. 'Gil water' (a drink Reyes prepared for him) was a hybrid of the right ratios between supplements and minerals and salt and carbohydrates and protein. He was a scientist about it. It's the way he approached his craft.

    PK: What about steroids and EPO? How do you know you weren't taking any of that stuff?

    AA: Because I got tested 150 times from WADA - 20 times a year out of competition. I mean the truth is that I love Gil like my father, we're family. Secondly, he would never do that to me, but the reason why you can know that's not the case is because of the extent the ATP goes to protect its integrity is vicious. It's tireless the efforts that my peers as well as our organising body have gone to to answer that question."

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  3. I read the article, there are some meaningful passages in the interview with Agassi ( the last ones when he got emabarassed...!! ), but as far as "Take the directive issued by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) last week to players at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and published on Wednesday by Sports Illustrated", actually, there have been some ( few actually but better than nothing!! ) tennis players of WTA who haven't cared a fig about the WTA directive above mentioned, here are some examples:



    1) Kristina Mladenovic says Maria Sharapova is seen as ‘cheater’ on Tour

    2) I have been very shocked and disappointed "- Eugenie Bouchard said." Like I said before, she was my childhood idol. Thinking about your childhood idol and you wonder whether it was all a sham, has impressed me very much. "

    3) Simona Halep very frank and direct: "I didn't speak with her before, hence, there isn't any reason to speak about her now"

    4)Victoria Azarenka: "The whole matter has provoked a dark cloud on tennis, players are disappointed and surprised, I hope it will be resolved."

    Source: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/mar/12/kristina-mladenovic-maria-sharapovapa-cheater-tour-simona-halep

    Best regards.

    Fabrice

    PS obviously, I don't assume that the WTA players above mentioned are all "Saints Doping Free", I was just reporting what they have said!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its a mixed bag of opinions at the moment but i'm still not hearing anything negative about the Anti doping program. For all of Maldeonvic talk on Sharapova testing positive she thinks the Anti doping testing is working...

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    2. Actually, the point of my post was another!

      The article about the piece by Paul Kimmage says at a certain point :

      "Take the directive issued by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) last week to players at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and published on Wednesday by Sports Illustrated..."

      and I just pointed out that a few WTA tennis players have broken that directive by WTA, I know that it isn't nothing special but it's a detail that it's worth to mention because if the case "Sharapova Meldronium" complicates, that kind of WTA tennis players will increase and...!!

      Who knows.., we'll see!!

      Best regards.

      Fabrice





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  4. Disappointing that Kimmage's original article didn't run.. Shows the pressure on journalists when it comes to negative doping stories......

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  5. I love the bit where Agassi talks about the early part of his career in the mid-eighties and says how tennis players "looked like school teachers, you didn't see anyone who looked like Nadal and the athletes of today". The question I wish Kimmage might have asked Agassi at that point is why did that change, and has he ever wondered if it has had anything to do with doping?

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    Replies
    1. It's just a matter of money:

      much more money at stake involves much more doping!!

      It's just a logical equation which is true for any professional sport in which top players can earn tons of money!!

      The other side of the coin is that by now people think it's normal that Federer can earn $67 Millions in a special year ( most come from sponsors ) or that Floyd Mayweather, the boxing champion, can earn $300 Millions in a special year!!

      Totally insane!!!!

      Best regards.

      Fabrice

      PS http://www.forbes.com/profile/floyd-mayweather/

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  6. Rafael Nadal: 14-time Grand slam champion to sue over doping claims

    Rafael Nadal plans to sue an ex-French government minister who said his seven-month absence in 2012 was "probably due to a positive doping test".

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/35800550

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    1. Lance Armstrong quickly admitted to doping in the first portion of his interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on Thursday.

      He also admitted that he had sued journalists, friends and colleagues who accused him of doping, report the Associated Press, the Washington Post and Reuters. Here is Oprah’s question: “You’re suing people and you know they’re telling the truth? What is that?”

      Armstrong’s answer: “It’s a major flaw.” He said he was a control freak and needed to hide the truth.

      The articles do not describe the lawsuits. According to previous coverage, the London-based Sunday Times has filed a lawsuit seeking return of a half-million-dollar libel settlement it paid Armstrong for publishing doping accusations. In advance of the interview, the newspaper took out an ad in the Chicago Tribune with a list of questions it wanted Winfrey to ask, NPR reports. One of them: “Did you sue the Sunday Times to shut us up?”

      After the Sunday Times settlement, Armstrong dropped defamation cases he had filed against other defendants in France, according to a story published in 2006 by the Associated Press.

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    2. I wonder why it has taken nearly ten years for Nadal to finally sue over doping allegations. Sorry - threaten to sue. He hasn't actually done it yet. Perhaps he hopes for an apology and a retraction before it ever goes to court. The problem for Bachelot is proof. Without a positive drug test, a la Sharapova, she is in a weak position, legally. That is Nadal's advantage. Even though there is no smoke without fire, as they say. For the last ten years it has fairly smouldered. That kind of speculation will not go away even if he gets the former French Sports Minister to back down, and to attempt to
      argue it in court may simply further fan the flames, even if he wins. It would be a Pyrrhic victory; in the court of public opinion his name would always be closely associated with doping allegations. He is best to be publicly indignant - and then let it go. Of course, there is the risk that someone can offer up something in the nature of proof. The rumours of failed drug tests have been around for quite awhile.

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    3. It might also be noted that Bachelot has an "out", legally. She said Nadal's absence from the tour in the latter part of 2012 was "probably" due to a failed drug test; she didn't state it as a fact. In the circumstances she could argue that it was a reasonable surmise.

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    4. Of course there is a simple question Nadal might ask himself before he embarks on a legal solution: why is he subject to more speculation than anyone who has played the game that he is a doper? He alone "works hard and loves the game"?

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    5. Depending on one's view, a lawsuit between Bachelot and Nadal could be the best thing to explode Tennis and its doping. Why? In short, ITF doping test records could be made available "by force of the court."

      Just because Bachelot did not say anything then, for whatever reasons, does not make whatever facts there are disappear.

      Assuming test records show Nadal's guilt, he could still claim he never failed a test, because he never has. But everyone would know better...

      So, I am hoping for said "threatened lawsuit." As in, be careful for what you ask...

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  7. I suppose one of the issues is where he decides to sue and who bears what burden of proof.

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  8. I'm hoping for a lawsuit as well, that would make the whole process legally binding and more transparent, instead of people just making claims and counter claims in the media. I'm just curious what court handles these cases, hopefully not a spanish one.

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    Replies
    1. As Bachelot made the claims on a French television programme the most likely legal scenario would be a lawsuit in France. French law would prevail. Bachelot did not make the claims in a Spanish forum and so is not subject to Spanish defamation laws, even though her comments were later published in Spain. She was not responsible for that. So what do you think a French court would make of a Nadal suit against a top former French government official? A relevant question for the court is how much damage has Nadal sustained to his reputation, given that the rumours of his doping have been around for years? A lawsuit could take years to resolve - and would be very costly - and Nadal is likely to be retired by then. Who would care then? It would also mean his name would remain primarily associated with doping allegations - before and after the suit would be resolved. All in all, not good pr for the Spaniard.

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  9. Spanish blood bags one of WADAs top 7 issues....

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cdf8AMzXIAABqhB.jpg

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  10. "I am convinced Sharapova made an honest mistake"

    Steve Simon, WTA CEO. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/tennis/article4712774.ece

    Not sure Steve is in-tune with current public mood/awareness about this issue. Does he honestly believe she had a valid medical reason to take that medication for over 10 years???????

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    Replies
    1. Well he oversaw for years the tournament that nobody seems to be tested in, he's obviously a very trusting individual.

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  11. "WADA To Revisit Russia Report With View To Extending Inquiry To Other Sports"

    http://www.swimvortex.com/wada-to-revisit-russia-report-with-view-to-extending-inquiry-to-other-sports/

    Wonder if tennis is among them......

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  12. I read Stacey Allistar is the new CEO of the USTA. Strange her jumping straight back into another governing position so soon after her quitting the WTA for family circumstances. Perhaps the USTA is less stressful?

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    Replies
    1. She came back after almost exactly six months, which made me wonder if this was always about a non-compete.

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  13. Worth a read.. Insights into the process whereby Meldonium got on the banned list.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/14/sports/wave-of-positive-tests-for-meldonium-adds-to-doping-crisis.html?_r=1

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  14. Nadal also says he will sue "anyone" who makes doping allegations about him. Bachelot won't be lonely. Nadal will be taking on half the internet. You might say he's left it a little late to put that particular genie back in the bottle. In fact there has been so much speculation about him over the years Bachelot could argue that, from her position as a sports minister, her observations were "fair comment". Her opinion is nothing new, but previously widely-rehearsed public speculation.

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    Replies
    1. Someone else made similar comments previously. I think his name was Lance something.

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  15. I was thinking that she'd get off with a free pass and slapped wrist, but reading comments from other players, they wouldn't stand for her coming back so easily. Fair play to Mladenovic for having the balls to say that, when everyone else will cower away and hide. 4 year ban please, not a free pass. It will be interesting to see the reaction if she gets a free pass and leniency, while Aregawi and others get the maximum punishment. It's also interesting that all the suspect dopers are supporting her- Serena, Djokovic, Nadal. Why anyone would defend her is beyond me. She admitted to using PPEDs for a decade and no doubt it helped her get the edge. Remember when she was dreadful on clay? Yet now she is the world's best and the most physically demanding surface. In 2014, she outlasted all her opponents over 3 sets to win the FO and she gained an advantage through boosted endurance. If they find out she was illegally using it, then she should be stripped of any titles she won in the 10 year timeframe. Saying that, I think other players used it and got away with it before it was banned, shame we will never find out who.

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    Replies
    1. I certainly hope the opinions of other players doesn't play a role in the eventual punishment. However screwed up the system is (and the answer is very screwed up) we don't need penalties determined based on the popularity index of the guilty parties. I cannot imagine any athlete in her situation getting a four year ban. If she does, we will know that the authorities are playing with the penalties on bases other than the rules.

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  16. You know it's funny, just before the announcement, I found her withdrawal from Indian Wells very dodgy and even joked that her 'major announcement' would be a failed drug test rather than retirement.

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  17. Will Nadal finally sue THASP, Sen and the entire comment section of Tennis Has a Steroid Problem? I hope this doesn't deter the owners of this blog.

    P.S Please bring back and update "The Curious Case of Rafael Nadal"

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  18. I take the occasion to remind you a very meaningful post written by Vincent ( February 2011 ) to that wonderful article "The Curious Case of Rafael Nadal" by THASP, here it is:

    " Excellent write-up, THASP. At the risk of bloating this post some more, I think you should add three important links, two of which are regrettably in French, but which are in my mind critical for understanding the whole RG 09 - Wim 09 charade.

    This article:

    http://www.lemonde.fr/cgi-bin/ACHATS/acheter.cgi?offre=ARCHIVES&type_item=ART_ARCH_30J&objet_id=1083092&clef=ARC-TRK-NC_01

    reports that, on the 19th of May 2009, so exactly just FIVE DAYS before the start of Roland-Garros, the AFLD (French anti-doping agency renowned for its uncompromising stance) announces that it had negociated with the ITF the right to conduct TARGETED, UNANNOUNCED tests at Roland-Garros.

    On Friday 29th, day 6 of Roland-Garros, two days before his fateful match against Soderling, Rafael Nadal complains vehemently about anti-doping and announces that, the other morning, his good friends David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco were woken up at 6 am for UNANNOUNCED testing.

    He gets blasted by the Telegraph in this article:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/frenchopen/5410931/French-Open-2009-Rafael-Nadal-is-no-exception-to-the-drug-testing-rules.html

    On the same day, David Ferrer loses against Soderling. Two days later, Nadal and Verdasco exit the tournament.

    After Roland-Garros has ended, the AFLD announced it has conducted 20 additional targeted test (link : http://www.rmc.fr/editorial/80462/roland-garros-l-afld-a-assure-une-vingtaine-de-controles-supplementaires/).

    It was the first and last year the AFLD was allowed to conduct TARGETED, UNANNOUNCED tests at the French Open.

    Let everyone form his own conclusions. "

    End of that very meaningful post by Vincent.

    Just a quick comment:

    1) the French Sport Minister hadn't to speak about Nadal because it's quite known that doping has been rampant in French rugby for a long time!!

    2) Nowadays, Nadal who is toward the end of his professional career plays the part of "Saint Doping Free" but he had to play this part when he was younger on occasions like that above mentioned!!

    And instead on that occasion, he played the part of the emperor who has no clothes!!!!!

    Best regards.

    Fabrice

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    Replies
    1. A useful reminder, Fabrice.

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    2. Thank you!!

      I agree 100% with what you have written in your post and your final comment:

      "It would also mean his name would remain primarily associated with doping allegations - before and after the suit would be resolved. All in all, not good pr for the Spaniard."

      Anyway, in my opinion, he might change his mind!!

      We'll see!!

      Best regards.

      Fabrice

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  19. Tennis match-fixing: 'More players should be investigated'

    More than two dozen top tennis players should be investigated for possible links to betting rings, according to an Italian prosecutor.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/35808571

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  20. The gambler and the top-50 tennis players

    An Italian investigation is laying bare the efforts of a gambling syndicate that tried to fix tennis matches around the world, including at Wimbledon and the French Open. Documents seen by the BBC and Buzzfeed News suggest the gamblers approached two leading Italian players - but prosecutors say there is evidence they courted many others, including two who have been in the world's top 20.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35802893

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  21. UN suspends Sharapova's role as goodwill ambassador......

    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/mar/15/united-nations-suspends-maria-sharapova-as-goodwill-ambassador

    Ouch!

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    Replies
    1. Ouch is right. I am beginning to think that Sharapova may be falling too fast and too far to ever recover, save a full blown "Oops! We read the report wrong! Our bad...," which I can't see happening. So, am thinking that should Sharapova pass the point of no return, she might just name names, dates, places, etc., since she would have so little more to lose.

      She has to know she is now in a very bad place..

      Is she a time bomb or not?

      Tick tock...

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    2. Provisionally Suspended yet again... LOL

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    3. If I were a betting person, I'd bet that both Novak and Serena will be exposed as dopers within the next 22 months, by end of 2017. There is too much circumstantial evidence and, as with silent bans, I bet there are also silent rewards.

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  22. "More than two dozen top tennis players should be investigated for possible links to betting rings, according to an Italian prosecutor. Roberto di Martino says their names have appeared in evidence seized from gamblers suspected of fixing matches.

    They include two players who have been ranked in the world's top 20."

    In the current top 500 ATP rankings, only 48 players have been in the top 20. Since they didn't mention top 10, I'm tempted to conclude it's players with peak ranking 11-20. The limits the number to ~15 players, although there may be others who were top 20, but are no longer ranked..... Of course, this might not be limited to the ATP.. The women might also be implicated.


    Tennis: the Italian files.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07378dc

    ReplyDelete
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  24. THASP, you should post a link to this great Federer interview, which features him as both politically correct and incisive depending upon what you highlight:

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/mar/25/roger-federer-doping-crackdown-maria-sharapova-drug-test-miami-open

    ReplyDelete
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