Tuesday, August 23, 2016

No More Secrets?

Amendment to the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme


NEWS ARTICLE
With effect from 1 September 2016, the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (Programme) will be amended. Specifically,
the following underlined text will be added to Article 13.3:
13.3   The ITF shall use its reasonable endeavours to ensure that Persons under its control do not publicly identify
 Players or other Persons whose Samples have resulted in Adverse Analytical Findings or Atypical Findings, or
Atypical Passport Findings or Adverse Passport Findings, or are alleged to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule
Violation under this Programme, unless and until a Provisional Suspension has been imposed or accepted or an
Independent Tribunal has determined that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed, and/or the Anti-Doping
Rule Violation has been admitted…
What does this mean?
Where a case that arises under the Programme after 1 September 2016 results in a Provisional Suspension, that
Provisional Suspension will be publicly announced. This applies to all Provisional Suspensions, whether mandatory or
voluntarily accepted.
Why is this change being made?
The reputation of the Programme and, consequently, the image of tennis, have been damaged by accusations that
players have been allowed to serve bans without those bans being made public (so-called ‘silent bans’). This rule
change will prevent any further similar accusations and so protect our sport.

Read more at http://www.itftennis.com/news/237420.aspx#fzVgZ8Xt65uoTFJE.99


Provisional Suspensions Q&A


NEWS ARTICLE
This document answers some frequently asked questions about the announcement of provisional suspensions.
1. What change is being made?
From 1 September 2016, if a case arising from the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme results in a provisional suspension, then that provisional suspension will be made public.
2. Why is the change being made?
The reputation of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and, consequently, of tennis, have been damaged by accusations that players have been allowed to serve bans without those bans being made public (so-called ‘silent bans’). This rule change will prevent any further similar accusations.
3. Does this change apply to all provisional suspensions?
Yes. Provisional suspensions that are mandatory and those that are voluntarily accepted will be made public. For mandatory provisional suspensions, an announcement will only be made at the time the provisional suspension actually comes into effect, so that any challenges to its imposition, which are permitted under the rules, can be made.
4. Will this change reduce the incentive for players to accept voluntary provisional suspensions?
We won’t know until it happens. However, while time spent serving a provisional suspension, whether mandatory or voluntary, can be credited against any ban subsequently imposed, it doesn’t change the length of the ban. So, players are not prejudiced by the change.
5. Is there a risk that a provisional suspension is announced, but the player is exonerated?
Yes, but it is a very small risk, due to the checks and balances in the system. For example, the procedures leading up to, and including, the analysis of the ‘A’ sample are reviewed by independent experts. Also, the ‘B’ sample, which provides confirmation of the findings of the ‘A’ sample, is normally analysed before a provisional suspension is imposed or accepted. For mandatory provisional suspensions, the player concerned is given the opportunity to show why he/she should not be provisionally suspended.
6. Do other sports announce provisional suspensions?
Yes, for example, UCI (cycling).

Read more at http://www.itftennis.com/news/237425.aspx#cgVDiSP2uvRljWo7.99

152 comments:

  1. yes to the announcement policy; and a big no to the secrecy policy.

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  2. Ryan Lochte lies about getting robbed in Rio - gets dropped by sponsors in a nano second, the media goes wild and he's forced to apologize. Maria Sharapova blatantly lies about an injury to cover up a doping violation. Her sponsors, the media, the public are nothing but sympathetic to her tale of woe and theres a chance she'll get a reprieve through CAS. Strange old world we live in.

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    1. Double standards,the world is full of them especially the world of sport
      I think that vandalism is no different then stealing,when your doping/cheating your not only stealing from everyone around you,you're also stealing from yourself
      Maybe Lochte should have called a press conference before the story broke so that everyone could sympatheise with his bravery for twisting the truth

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    2. An excellent point which I have made numerous times in recent weeks.

      A few thousand dollars of damage due to vandalism is completely unacceptable, especially from a leading sportsperson.

      But how on Earth does that compare with effectively frauding millions from sponsors and clean competitors alike? Sharapova is scum. Many people clearly can't accept that pretty can be bad.

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  3. I don't know why this hasn't always been the case (provisional suspensions being made public). If a person is arrested for murder it's made public even though they may be innocent. This just confirms that silent bans are real. And as we are well aware, players who test positive more often than not get their sentences reduced or overturned completely, which is probably why we haven't heard about more suspensions.

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  4. I'm more interested the type of bans where after a player's A and B samples have been confirmed to be positive, they are sanctioned secretly but it's still not announced to the public.

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    Replies
    1. I was wondering the same thing,does this only apply to athletes appealing a failed drugs test or will it include athletes who are given a 2+ year ban
      It would not only defeat the purpose but many will find it insulting to be expected to believe that athletes "retired" when they return 2 years later i.e Henin.

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  5. This 40 min podcast goes into history of cold war olympics doping, state sponsored programs, WADA, why sports bodies deliberately don't act, the role of sponsors and that doping happens in all sports and countries. Its worth a listen - http://pca.st/REk4

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  6. Who will be the first player exposed? My guess it will be some lowly journeyman/woman who can't afford a lawyer and whom no one really cares much about. But the ITF will want to make an example of someone, to prove they're doing their job and trying to keep the sport clean. Should be fascinating. 🙄🙄🙄9_9

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    1. "If" not when and of course it'll be some pleb they can parade through the media and shut away again easily.

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  7. I'm confused with all this talk of Sharapova coming back in January 2017. Surely a ban isn't based on the calendar year? If the ban is indeed reduced to one year it'll be Feb or March depending on when the ban or provisional ban was implemented.

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    1. Wouldn't it be as of the Australian Open, which is where she tested positive?

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    2. but effective from 26th January. Will miss the AO regardless anyway i suppose.

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    3. I still don't think a year is enough time.

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  8. What is going on at the US Open? We're 2 days in and there have already been a lot of retirements and players struggling with cramps on the men's side.

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    1. Maybe because they all had to clean up their acts for the Olympics. Now there are residual effects. Hey I don't even know if that's a thing. But I wouldn't be surprised. Djokovic looked very off his game last night, losing a set to someone who hasn't even played this year really. It was a curious performance.

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  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLmohhwPxBc
    A video on Youtube where you can see a bunch of Serena like women playing volley ball. If they decided to lift weight, they would look exactly like Serena.

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  10. Nick Kyrgios pointed out on the eve of his US Open first round match against Aljaz Bedene that tennis players are allowed to smoke marijuana when not competing in tournaments:

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/31/nick-kyrgios-rolls-into-us-open-second-round-after-marijuana-comment-causes-stir

    Tennis' tokin bad boy reaffirms the doubts many of us hold over the anti-doping stance of the sport.

    "The 14th seed’s routine win came after officials said he would not be sanctioned for his latest headline-grabbing moment on the eve of the season’s final grand slam event. Kyrgios offered up a simple “yep” when asked by one of his Twitter followers: “are you allowed to smoke weed on tour?""

    "And he is correct, with a Wada spokesman confirming that while marijuana “is a prohibited substance for in-competition testing, it has never been prohibited out-of-competition”. In effect, that means players are OK to smoke marijuana while not competing at tournaments"

    Is this universal across WADA testing? How does this fit in with OOC testing if detected?

    And what else can tennis players do when 'not in tournaments'?

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    1. Marijuana (like some other recreational drugs, including cocaine) are only prohibited in-competition under the WADA code (which tennis subscribes to).

      Individual sports who subscribe to the code can have their own stricter views of athletes who test positive for recreational drugs OOC (which is about limiting bad PR for the sport), but tennis doesn't do this, afaik.

      I would imagine OOC samples in tennis are not tested for substances that are not banned OOC, for both economic and medical privacy reasons.

      Interestingly, Richard Gasquet's cocaine positive was after he withdrew from the Miami masters with injury, but before he was technically removed from the draw. This always made me wonder if he incorrectly thought he was OOC while clubbing "with Pamela" in advance of the test.

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    2. I have a memory of Ronnie O'Sullivan testing positive for marijuana - snooker, of all sports - and always therefore assumed ANY prohibited drug was an immediate violation. I wasn't aware of the OOC caveat.

      So if it is all 100% factual, why then is there such 'furore' over Kyrgios' comments? I'm guessing the outrage is the implication pro sportspeople do smoke weed if they can, and the more specific 'spoiling' of tennis' image (lmao)

      I'm also guessing that such recreational drugs like marijuana aren't possible masking agents.

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    3. Interesting. Ronnie O'Sullivan's positive test for weed was indeed OOC:

      http://snookerscene.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/snooker-players-tested-out-of.html?m=1

      Which presumably means the WSPBA (snooker governing body) goes over and above WADA requirements.

      Snooker therefore appears to have more stringent meausures than tennis for OOC banned substances. Let that just sink in for a moment.

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    4. Some of the UK Snooker players used to drink like fishes while they played...

      Bill Werbeniuk is an interesting case in point.

      From Wiki
      "Werbeniuk was noted for the copious amounts of alcohol he consumed before and during matches – at least six pints before a match and then one pint for each frame. In total, he drank between 40 and 50 pints of lager per day. Doctors advised Werbeniuk to drink alcohol to counteract a familial benign essential tremor. Later in his career he also took propranolol, a beta blocker, to cope with the effects of his alcohol consumption on his heart.

      Bill was also famously reported in the UK tabloid press as successfully claiming the cost of 6 pints of lager a before every match as a tax deductible expense.

      Some of Werbeniuk's most famous feats of drinking include: 76 cans of lager during a game with John Spencer in Australia in the 1970s; 43 pints of lager in a snooker match/drinking contest against Scotsman Eddie Sinclair in which, after Sinclair had passed out following his 42nd pint, Werbeniuk was reported to say "I'm away to the bar now for a proper drink"; 28 pints of lager and 16 whiskies over the course of 11 frames during a match against Nigel Bond, in January 1990 – after which Werbeniuk then consumed an entire bottle of Scotch to "drown his sorrows" after losing the match"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Werbeniuk

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    5. And the Darts players were just as bad

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/darts/2998699/Sport-on-TV-Darts-sunk-by-heavyweight-drink-problem.html

      I'm being deliberately facetious, but these where sportsmen who used a specific drug to increase confidence (dutch courage!) and reduce performance detracting tremors...

      There is virtually no sport where athletes don't explore chemical performance augmentation.

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  11. Pam Shriver (during ESPN commentary) on success and player age.... "30 is the new 20"

    The question is why...

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  12. If one didn't regard Pam Shriver as a toothless simpleton prior to that comment, we most certainly do now.

    Plus, shouldn't 40 be the new 25, in order to accomodate Serena?

    I can't help but use Sampras' retirement age as a yardstick. Aside from a few Grand Slam last hurrahs, he was effectively done in by 29/30. As was common by that age. By comparison, Murray and Djokovic are in the form of their lives, having played a far more gruelling game and more tournaments over a comparative period; and as for Serena... just lol.

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    1. To be fair, all she said is the players perform at an elite level way later in their careers than in the past, which is a statement of fact.

      She didn't mention 'doping' as a reason, but my guess is that she can't, as a commentator, given the relationship between her network and the sponsors and sheep-like fans who tune in for the 'good story'. It was Chris Evert who talked about older players "taking breaks" and 'rediscovering the joy of the sport', which made me laugh.

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    2. Pam Shriver should be an expert in doping having played all those doubles tournaments with Navratilova.

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    3. Shriver was 3:39, and lost her last 29 consecutive matches against Navratilova... If she'd been a doping expert, those numbers whould have looked different.

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  13. http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2016/08/madison-brengle-kayla-day-drug-test-injury-us-open-tennis/60437/

    Madison Brengle said she has a vein condition, which caused her arm to swell following a random blood test on Saturday.
    -
    Madison Brengle says the arm injury that caused her to retire from her first-round match at the U.S. Open was a reaction to a drug test she took leading up to the tournament.

    Brengle told The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware that she has a vein condition, which caused her arm to swell following a random blood test on Saturday.

    She retired down a set and a break to 16-year-old wild card Kayla Day. Following the match, the right-hander said hitting her forehand had been like "getting hit by lightning," and she could not keep playing despite two medical breaks for her right arm.

    "Every time I get one of these tests the same thing happens, and I tried my best to get ready," she said. "The only way it gets better is with rest and time. I’ve had work with the physios and I’ve [been] sleeping with the compression sleeve, but it just takes time to heal."

    The 26-year-old said she had a similar experience with a blood test following Wimbledon.

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  14. Andy Murray. Thoughts from the regulars, please?

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    1. Chances are he's probably used PEDs too.

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    2. Yup. I have been reading commentary on track since Rio - a sport I have long followed - and the prevalent view is that very few, if any, of the elite are clean. Designer drugs beat the testers again and again. I can see it in many of the unbelievable performances out there. No reason to think tennis is different. Debating names is like trying to separate buffalo from the herd. They are all still buffaloes.

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    3. To be honest, i doubt there isn't a elite Tennis player not on some form of dope legal or banned. Since the open era there's more tournaments, more travelling, more Tennis, more money.
      I imagine when Peds and the likes of heart medicine are used from a relatively young age, theres a risk to health in the long term. Lets see in the next 30 or 40 odd years how many of them are sitting in the stands like Rod Laver or Margaret Court are today.

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    4. @Richard "the prevalent view is that very few, if any, of the elite are clean... No reason to think tennis is different."

      A bleak view, but also one that is disappointingly hard to disagree with. That said, the below response from David Walsh when asked about tennis specifically is more optimistic. The sports fan in me really wants him to be right.

      "My guess is that it's more than we know about, less then we imagine."

      https://twitter.com/davidwalshst/status/567767734252232704

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    6. Sadly, I think this is the case and I think at events like the Olympics, where independent testing exists and where they threaten to crack down, the most egregious offenders cut down to avoid detection. Williams, Nadal and Djokovic failed to win singles medals, yet on the tour they are dominant players (esp. Williams and Djokovic, the world #1s). Is there a connection? Clearly, the more a player dopes, the more he (or she) depends on the PEDs and the poorer they perform without the illegal substances.

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    7. 2012??? Serena the mighty black woman Williams??? I see you forgot the career record breaker who never won a single olympic gold medal despite losing a few matches year in and year out.

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    8. She didn't hit the floor in "the panic room" to beat the testers - she was practising her break dancing.

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    9. 2012??? Serena the mighty black woman Williams??? I see you forgot the career record breaker who never won a single olympic gold medal despite losing a few matches year in and year out.

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  15. A Eurosport article highlights how bathroom breaks and MTO are a glaring problem in Tennis. How i laughed...
    https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/esp-us-open-konta-s-distress-clear-22-minute-074352373--ten.html

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    1. I recall someone on here marking Konta suspicious when she broke into the top 50 out of nowhere but it didn't really gain traction probably because she wasn't yet a serious contender. Now she's ranked 14 and climbing...

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    2. Well she didn't find her form until she started training Barcelona i believe. Wouldn't be suspicious in itself, but Spain is the destination for all the top performers these days.

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  16. I think it's interesting how much the field has been given a shake since the Meldonium moment. I presume more players than Sharapova were taking the drug. I also wonder if her getting caught put a scare into players about other doping. The women's field in particular is suddenly all over the place. Maybe it's the lack of doping that is allowing Wozniacki a bit of a comeback.

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  17. Nadal is chewing through his opponents at the US. Wrist injury? Well, it seems he is able to "accelerate" his recovery at will - if this NY Times article is to be believed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/sports/tennis/rafael-nadal-regains-his-form-by-virtue-of-impatience.html?_r=0

    Del Potro must be wondering why he was two years off the tour with a wrist injury. He should have talked with Rafa's doctors.

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    Replies
    1. How does one come back from an injury layoff and start winning everything right off the bat? Without any practice or match play? That certainly didn't happen to Federer after his knee surgery. Or Murray after back surgery. Or Del Potro after wrist surgeries. Are we to believe that he is that great a talent that he doesn't need time to gradually work his way back into the game?

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    2. But Nadal didn't have surgery. Maybe his wrist injury is fake.

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    3. Fun fact: Excluding his appendix situation, Nadal has never had any surgery for all the various ailments he's had (Foot, Knee, Back, Wrist e.t.c)

      He's had various type of "treatments" but never surgery. He just takes time off.

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    4. Ironic that the most injured player on the ATP tour has never had tennis-related surgery.

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  18. By the way, did anyone see how beautiful Serena was today?

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    Replies
    1. About as beautiful as a turd in a fruit bowl.

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    2. Someone at Nike does not like her.

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    3. Just saw Serena's "twerking" vid. I wondered why she likes to draw attention to a relative deformity. I mean her personality of course. Miss Piggy on a tennis court.

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    4. You want her to be flat so that she can use her ass to break nuts???

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    5. You want her to be flat so that she can use her ass to break nuts???

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    7. Eric Ed, this is a blog on anti doping, whats your point?

      @Richard, why someone at her level in the sport needs attention by sharing publicly twerking, eating dog food and her numerous split personalities is beyond me. I'm not a psychiatrist but she has all the hallmarks of having mental illness one of which is extreme paranoia. These seems to be getting worst as time goes on and could escalate into a serious public meltdown.

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    8. Gross narcissism just as likely.

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  20. Lorenzi... where has he come from?
    Commentators are laughing at how much court he is covering, especially after a 5 hour match 2 days ago. He doesn't appear to be tired, Murray does however!
    Lorenzi reminds me of the female 10,000m runner at the Olympics who smashed the world record - making huge efforts but doesn't even look out of breath.

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    Replies
    1. Its like watching the Ferrer of 2/3 years ago.

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    2. Perhaps he's been clean his whole career but now is rolling the dice, looking for a last payday before suspension / retirement

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    3. The temptation for a journeyman pro to dope in the twilight of his career must be massive. Couple of big pay checks and if you get caught and a suspension so what, you're thinking about retiring anyhow.

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    4. lol "And still he runs..." says the commentator as Lorenzi gets the upper hand in yet another long rally as we approach the 3rd hour.

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    5. But he lost. So, much ado about nothing. Murray is still the tour's Superman of the moment.

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    6. Much ado about nothing? That was one of the more suspicious performances I've seen this season. He's a Challenger circuit player having the season of his career at 34 giving the world number 2 a run for his money after a five hour slugfest the other day. How many best of five matches can he have played in his career? He still looked pretty fresh at the end there too.

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    7. @Northwestcircus

      You are, without doubt, the most blinkered and biased Murray obsessive I have ever seen. It is beyond pathetic, and up there, as far as I am concerned, with Eric Ed's delusional perspective on Serena.

      You once claimed that Djokovic played recent seasons 'doped up to the gills'... yet the only man who manages to stay with him in many matches, and occasionaly beat him - including notable matches on clay - is supposedly whiter than the virgin Mary herself. Do you have any idea how your credibility gets shot to pieces by this sort of logic?

      And now when Murray struggles, his opponent must be juicing. Beyond pathetic. Shame.

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    8. @Northwestcircus but Murray was playing at about 60%. Yet he still managed the win. Wait till he dials it up a bit. I have no doubt he'll be in the final and he may even beat Djokovic this time.

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    10. @Lopi - that may well have been the case. Doesn't change the fact that his opponent today seemed remarkably fresh on the back of his first ever Grandslam 5 set match, with the retrieval skills on Ferrer in his early thirties prime.

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    11. Hmm... not sure the invective is necessary Umpire. Fact is Lorenzi had only won two Grandslam matches his entire career before this US Open yet here he was chasing everything down after a 5hr match. More than two hours into it and he was still winning 42 shot rallies. Then in the 3rd set the commentators remarked with surprise that Lorenzi was winning the long rallies 23-20. IMO signs that a journeyman pro could be a doper are noteworthy because it demonstrates how deep rooted it is in tennis as per Richard above.

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    12. You could very well be right Northwestcircus. But again, he's a journeyman and sometimes I think these guys just get tired of watching the top players win everything and maybe they do decide, at the end of their careers, to throw caution to the wind (as you said up thread). That still doesn't mean Murray is clean. And I'm more concerned with the players who are winning $3.5 million for two weeks work, not the ones who are maybe taking home $50,000. But then again those are the players who are selling tickets so I suppose they feel entitled.

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    13. I would fully expect Lorenzi to do whatever it takes to succeed as a professional sportsman. As I would think Murray and so many others have done. I, too, was struck by Lorenzi's tireless retrieving - for a player of his ranking. Of course, it still doesn't mean he would beat the better player - only that they have levelled a certain playing field - as many have increasingly done with Nadal, who is "the gold standard". Interesting that there are no apparent developments in his defamation case against Bachelot. Harder to fix than a wrist injury?

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    14. @Northwestcircus

      In summary, if a player can go toe to toe for periods of a match with Murray, it is supsicious? What does that say about Murray - who, as Lopi points out, definitely had more to give?

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    15. Umpire. Your summary does not reflect what I said above.

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    16. Umpire, I would be astonished if Murray is not juiced.

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    17. If you look at the rankings, there are a lot of players in their mid-to-late thirties who are enjoying career seasons, e.g. Karlovic, Mahut, Lorenzi, Robert, Jaziri, Estrella-Burgos.

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    18. I've said it before and I'll say it again - EVERYONE in tennis is suspect. EVERYONE.

      You can make a stronger case for some over others but the point still stands: I suspect everyone until proven otherwise. Sad to be cynical but that's how it is nowadays.

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  21. Britain now dominant as a sporting nation. Almost overnight, sheer strength in depth on the tennis circuit despite the LTA being a widely reported and obvious failure.

    Suspicious. And I'm British.

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    1. "Almost overnight, sheer strength in depth on the tennis circuit"

      Not sure Dan Evans and Kyle Edmond quite merit such grandiose acclaim just yet. Seriously, not trying to be antagonistic but I can't see a single reason to mark them as suspicious based on their performances or anything else but would welcome some more detailed thinking on this.



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    2. Check out some of the comments on the sudden and unexpected progress in British cycling at Rio.

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    3. @richard

      I thought the comments from Australia were tinged with bitterness, but nevertheless, considering UK's performance at the last track cycling WC, t is quite incredible they turned it up for the Olympics.

      The old 'we time our peaks for the Olympics' from Hoy smacks of Serena 'only concentrating on slams'.

      A lot is made of the money being thrown at British sport.

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    4. Above points regarding cycling all fair. Would however love to hear Umpire's expand on his LTA observation.

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  22. By the way, did anyone see how beautiful Serena was today?

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  23. Has anyone here seen Venus Williams play at this year's US Open? I swear, she's playing her best tennis since the 2010 season. Not only is she hitting the ball with a lot of power, but she's also striking it with incredible depth and consistency.

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    2. Yes in Wimby and USO, the 34 yr old with Asthma and an autoimmune disease is playing like a healthy 25 yr old (and beating healthy 25 yr olds too)
      This is a woman who's supposed to have a comprised immune system. She sits on planes for hours going from continent to continent and then goes out to play days of tournaments, then back on another plane to go somewhere else. Last year when the rest of her fellow competitors were coming down with Mono, she was as fresh as a daisy. I don't believe there is anything wrong with Venus apart from needing the odd TUE.

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    3. Venus hasn't been featured on Eurosport much this campaign so had no idea.

      Is she 36? Haven't the last two years been pretty good for her ageing and supposedly fatigue-ridden body?

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    4. At this stage the age doesn't matter. Might as well pick a number between 25 to 30 these days to complete the delusion.

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    5. Meanwhile Serena, who only a couple of weeks ago claimed her shoulder was so bad she couldn't lift her arm over her head without pain, is now in the quarterfinals and blasting through her opponents again.

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    6. "Meanwhile Serena, who only a couple of weeks ago claimed her shoulder was so bad she couldn't lift her arm over her head without pain, is now in the quarterfinals and blasting through her opponents again."

      Serena has got to be the greatest liar/faker in sports history and the sad thing is, there are actually people who still buy into her bullshit.

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    7. We won't be seeing 5 consecutive double-faults this tournament.

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  24. According to the 2016 WADA report, approved Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) have increased by 40-50% every year!
    2013: 636
    2014: 897 (+41%)
    2015: 1330 (+48%)

    https://www.wada-ama.org/en/resources/finance/annual-report

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    1. Athletes are getting sicker and sicker it seems.

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    2. That would go some way to explain why the self life of athletes is getting longer and why Tennis Journos in particular are discovering new uses for superlatives.

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    3. Hilarious during the Konta 4th round match earlier today - her opponent's name escapes me but she started limping at strategic times and pulling pained expressions.

      "Not another injury!" exclaimed moron Andrew Castle. "How many is that at this tournament now?" Willful ignorance or WWE-tier commentator faux-bemusement - you decide.

      One wonders if players under a TUE are obliged to limp, groan or hobble to demostrate they are worthy of the certification to any watching anti-doping figures or doctors...

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    4. wow that stat is shocking. For elite athletes they are all awfully unhealthy. Look at the medicine cabinet Sharapova amassed.

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    5. Who knew athletes were so sickly! That stat is an eye-opener. All these sickly athletes with so-called life threatening illnesses putting in such high-quality athletic performances.
      Amazing.

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    6. Meanwhile, in cycling, TUEs getting rarer and rarer

      Number of TUEs annually granted by the UCI

      Year TUEs granted
      2009 239
      2010 97
      2011 56
      2012 47
      2013 30
      2014 24
      2015 13


      http://www.uci.ch/clean-sport/therapeutic-use-exemptions/

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  25. What kind of stuff is Lucas Pouille on, I wonder. He has won 3 5-setters in a row and his first round match wasn't a straight-sets affair, either. The last player who pulled off a feat like this was Robredo at the 2013 edition of the French Open.

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    1. Pouille ousts Nadal in 5 sets. So how does a relative journeyman stay with - and beat - the most tireless player on the tour? Yep - it confirms for me that the rest of the tour has worked out how to level the playing field with the biggest doper in the history of the game. That is the reason for Nadal's so-called "decline".

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    2. Yup. I think you're absolutely right.

      On a side note...Cliff Drysdale called Djokovic "Djerkovic" yesterday during Nadal's match when he was listing off the night schedule. I rewound my recording to be sure I hadn't head him wrong, Maybe he knows something we don't know.

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    3. Nadal needs to steer clear of players named Lucas or Lukas in grand slams. LOL.

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    4. Pouille did look fresh as a daisy after that match. Looked like he could have played another five sets at least. And his team was all high-fiving each other as if to say "see. it all paid off".

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    5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Pouille is suspicious. He's only 22 but he's a career journeyman who has never gotten this far in a Slam before and all of a sudden he is playing back-to-back-to-back 5 setters on the sport's most grueling surface and is still utterly fresh.

      We all know (well, suspect) Nadal is a world-class doper and now he's getting beat by players who have caught up with him with routines of their own.

      If Pouille beats Monfils, who has had four easy matches, then the doping questions will - and should - intensify.

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    6. Would tend agree with all the above re Pouille, would only point out that the his two five set matches seemed relatively quick, more like 4 setters in length. The Nadal match was closer to four hrs I think, so it will be interesting to see how his next match goes.

      Withdrawals still keeping apace, I see. And Djokic seems to have overcome his injury and "personal issues" after a couple of extra days rest, although I'm not sure Kyle Edmond is much of a force just yet.

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    8. I do agree that not all 5 set matches are the same, just at this US Open Gianessi defeated Kudla 0-6, 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-0. The match was only 2:50 long. (though it looks like one of them should be investigated for match fixing...)

      However, since it’s possible that all players could be doped I’m at the stage where I'd rather see a 22 year old win back-to-back-to-back 5 setters, than watch one of the older players do it (Robredo)

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    9. I don't really see as much suspicion as everyone else here when it comes to Pouille. I watched large portions of that match and whilst some of it was vintage human backboard, a lot of it was simply down to Senor Badknees not being the 2010/2013 robot he once was. First set especially.

      Sure, I don't doubt that tennis is akin to 90s era road cycling; where the clean competitors (read Christophe Bassons) are few and far between. But playing in a few 5-setters at 22yo is nowhere near as suspicious, as already stated, as journeyman Robredo rising from the dead to win multiple 5-setters, on clay, in his 30s after being nowhere for years.

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    10. Pouille's 5 setters have been consecutive. And without apparent physical toll on him. He also beats a top player who makes his opponents always hit the extra shot. So what does it take to play continuously at that level, as Pouille has shown us this USO ( and only here, so far, it seems)?

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  26. Mouratoglou and Cahill both coaching active top players while working for ESPN...

    Tennis' player entourages and TV networks are too cozy to ask the tough questions IMO.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting that McEnroe stood aside from the coaching of Raonic, citing those very conflicts you describe. It did smack of nepotism at Wimbledon this year; the BBC pundits seeking JP's sage advice on the final, when jis charge was one of the competitors.

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    2. Mouratoglou also worked as an expert for Eurosport at the Australian and French Open earlier this year. I don't know if he's still doing it. I have yet to see his mug show up on my telly, but then, I am streaming most of the matches online because I can't stand the delusional commentary of the Eurosport reporters.

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    3. @Shadow

      I thought, with regard tennis delusion, no-one could top the BBC - but Eurosport are dreadful. Not sure who is worse - Andrew Castle with his utterly misplaced conviction of who is the greatest tennis player (which changes on a daily basis), or Jo Durie's giggling bemusement at the inhuman displays of stamina and power.

      Why do I watch? I just can't pretend I am suddenly not a tennis fan; even if the game has become a macabre charade. Morbid curiousity also drives me to see what incredible feats are casually tossed into the tennis pantheon - like Andy Murray's 141mph serve.

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  27. In this world where tennis is seemingly littered with cheats and liars, it is at least some small comfort to know that Senor Badknees is unlikely to win another slam, at least based on the last few years. I rule out no far-flung 'miracle return' when it comes to that individual; but it really looks like he's done.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not so confident... He was starting to look his old self in the run-up to French Open before the wrists issue, which for once might have been legit. His form since the start of the Olympics has been spotty as you would expect on the comeback trial, but there has been signs the brute is starting to break out again in some of his recent matches. I would not be surprised to see a strong finish to the year, maybe pick up the World Tour Final for the first time and go on a tear next season. Of course, delighted to be proved completely wrong.

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    2. Nadal in my opinion ain't coming back

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  28. Gregor needs to start doping or if he is already, up his regime. He can barely keep up with Murray, who by the way just hit his fastest serve ever (141 I think). Brings back memories of 2010 Nadal. In fact, it was faster than Nadal's 2010 serve of 135 I believe,

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    Replies
    1. Yup. 29 year old going on 30, arguably the fittest man on the tour, suddenly pulls out a howitzer of a serve and destroys Dimitrov with groundstrokes beyond peak Gonzalez.

      Nothing to see here folks...

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    3. Apparently, Murray has served even faster in Davis Cup play earlier this year:

      "Murray appeared to make life difficult for himself after a solid start when his tennis grew increasingly ragged but he found enough composure in the fifth set to get the job done. The statistics said he committed 97 unforced errors, while at the same time hitting serving speeds of 146mph, 148mph and 149mph."

      I don't know if any of those were in, though.

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    4. The interviewer asked Murray after the match if he had ever served that fast (141mph) and he said in San Jose he did once but the next day they recalibrated the speed gun because it was off. So he said he didn't think it counted. So I'm guessing those Davis Cup serves were out.

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  29. Lately, there were quite a few news about athletes being retroactively striped off of their titles, medals, etc., based on the re-examination of their preserved/frozen samples, won at Beijing, London, etc.
    Now, I remember Federer's more-than-once publicly uttered initiative that the tennis-players' samples be frozen for 8 years and retested when the tests somewhat catch up with the designer-drugs (the initiative which no other (top) player, as far as I know, ever publicly supported.)
    So, my question is: Was there any noteworthy development in this matter, comparable to the aforementioned example (track&field, weightlifting, etc.)

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    Replies
    1. The International Tennis Federation administers tennis' anti-doping program. This subscribes to the WADA anti-doping code, so samples they collect are stored for 10 years (after a recent rule change prior to which samples were stored for 8 years).

      It's up to the ITF to decide if they want to retro-test samples. AFAIK, tennis never has, and is unlikely to do so in the future unless forced. The sport has no incentive to risk the reputations and legacies of its biggest stars. Too much money at stake for that.

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    2. Thanks, arcus. I'm not surprised, to say the least. Cheers.

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    3. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/sports/olympics/international-tennis-federation-russia-doping.html

      Ings raised the issue of retesting samples — a relatively inexpensive and effective way to catch cheats — but [David] Haggerty said the I.T.F. does not do so regularly. Ings said he believed that all samples, at least from the quarterfinals and later rounds at Grand Slam events, should be retested before the time allotted under the statute of limitations lapsed. “Either wait to get the maximum benefit of improving science, or retest early with cause,” he said.

      [...]

      Roger Federer, winner of 17 Grand Slam titles, has said that he has been tested in Dubai only once in the 10 years that he has been based there. He said in June that he wished the tennis authorities would store samples for up to 20 years for retesting.

      “You have to scare away the people who think they could cheat,” Federer said. “You have to scare them so they will not do it, so they could retroactively also be banned, and take away titles and so forth.”

      Haggerty said that while testing older samples was a possibility for tennis, “right now it is not done on a regular basis.”

      ...“right now it is not done on a regular basis.”

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    4. David Haggerty is the current president of the International Tennis Federation and it looks like he's doing a good job of ensuring Tennis' image stays intact.

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    5. No way Haggerty wants those samples retested. He knows what they'll find.

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    6. Tennis has as good as said that it had no intention of retesting samples. If you google it up you may find some recent news, but recently enough tennis officials have deflected and said they do not routinely retest past samples unless they have good reason to. i.e. Take that as a "NO".

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    7. Surprises me that the ITF pass up the opportunity to retest samples.

      I mean, how many 200+ ranked journeymen/scapegoats are slipping through that particular net?

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  30. Murray is playing like a man possessed and the quality of his defense is very reminiscend of Djokovic and Nadal at the peak of their doping days. I will be very surprised if he doesn't walk away with the trophy on Sunday.

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    Replies
    1. Same here. I've had Murray down as a doper for many years now.

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    2. The winner on Sunday will likely run more than the Rio marathon.

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    3. Yes. Murray's abilities on court do indeed remind one of dominant Nadal & dominant Djoker. And b/c of them mostly beating Murray throughout the years, he couldn't shine the way that he can now. Always making semis or finals of slams but hardly winning them. But now with Nadal past his prime & Djoker looking a bit out of sorts @ US Open, esp. With serve, Murray can start his domination. But have to say, Djoker seems to be handling Tsonga just fine right now. @richard---Lol!

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    4. We might be in for another "epic" 5-setter on Sunday. If Murray gets through his next 2 matches without exerting too much energy and he still ends up falling apart in the final, then I'll be convinced that his problems against Djoker are all in his head (and not his legs).

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  31. An aside - I've only just realised Tomas Berdych is missing from the US Open. turns out he had suffered appendicitis and pulled out in order to filly recover.

    Real men play through their appendicitis, no?

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    Replies
    1. If you put all Nadal's historical injuries together you would expect him to be a tetraplegic. Again, no news of his court case against Bachelot, after all the bluster. Perhaps he is hoping that, a bit like the wrist injury, it will simply go away.

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    2. or the knee tendonitis. Everything just miraculously goes away for Nadal. After skipping a few tournaments and resting. I was wondering about that court case as well.

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  32. https://twitter.com/christophclarey/status/772969792143785984?s=09

    There's your clean athlete and there's your doper.

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  33. https://twitter.com/christophclarey/status/772969792143785984?s=09

    There's your clean athlete and there's your doper.

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  34. Now Ana Ivanovic has shut down her season due to a recurring wrist injury. I didn't know it was contagious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ivanovic's priorities have changed, perhaps she should consider retirement.

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  35. After watching far too many hours of the US Open, I conntinue to be amazed at the ability of some players, both male and female, to hit precise winners time after time after time, while on the run. I don't remember ever seeing play at this level. Kerber is astonishing to me these days. Watching Ana Konjuh beat Radwanska last night, I felt like I was watching old style tennis, where you chould see points being constructed and winners coming by hitting into the open court. With Kerber, there is no open court. And the players' ability to track hard hit balls balls moving very fast seems unworldly. If these performances are "enhanced," I wonder about the nature of the magic juice involved.

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  36. Pouille looking like a man who has been through 3x 5-setters.

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  37. Does it seem strange to anyone else that 3 of Djoker's matches won were b/c Djoker's opponent withdrew or retired with injury? It feels as if there is some kind of silent protest going on. Not sure what kind of protest, but certainly seems odd!! It'll be interesting to see if Monfils chooses to complete his match against Djoke.

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  39. It is worth noting that Serena "Steroid" Williams declared that she is considering taking a break from tennis as she is "tired of playing unhealthy". Perhaps, this amendment has something to with her decision!

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