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  • Suspicious Blake alleges tennis cheating

    10/22/12 3:31 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Suspicious Blake alleges tennis cheating Suspicious veteran James Blake believes that after the Lance Armstrong cycling doping allegations, tennis might still not pass the smell test when it comes to cleanliness.

    That's despite a year-round testing program, which is the bane of many players with its 6:00 AM knocks on the door and attempts at constant surveillance of competitors.

    The 32-year-old, whose stick on court has fallen to 84th in the ATP rankings after playing only 11 ATP level events this season, is not shy about broadcasting his suspicions despite the longstanding anti-doping protocols in his sport.

    The American insists that cheating exists and he's sticking to his story. "In tennis I'm sure there are guys who are doing it, getting away with it, and getting ahead of the testers," he told USA Today. "But I also am realistic with this much money involved, $1.9 million for the winner of the US Open, people will try to find a way to get ahead."

    The one-time world No. 4 added: "It's unfortunate, but I hope tennis is doing the best job of trying to catch those guys trying to beat the system."

    Blake has an unlikely ally in the Frenchman Yannick Noah, who won the French Open three decades ago. The now-famed entertainer has long suspected tennis doping. "I understand that many people are trying to play nice but are paying dearly for it," said Noah, who casts a wary eye on Spanish sportsmen.

    USA Today reports that the ITF spent around $1.6 million in the three years prior to 2011, paying for 2,000 drug tests per year.

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Comments

That's a Harvard man talking now so we should listen.

chr18 , 10/22/12 7:01 PM


No doubt that there are some players probably doping, whether it be one of the higher guys or the lower guys. It's near impossible to rid a sport of doping in this day and age... especially with all that's on the line; endorsements, higher prize money, sponsors, etc. But $1.6M seems awfully small for 6,000 drug tests over 3 years...

aegis , 10/22/12 8:22 PM


I think it would be helpful if the guys who have these suspicions would provide more facts instead of just giving hints. Names, please.

scoretracker , 10/23/12 1:09 AM


There is no sport that is completely clean, so obviously there is some doping in tennis...but what good does it do to throw out a general accusation?

cherylmurray , 10/23/12 2:03 AM


Agreed, it won't do the sport any good to throw out a general accusation However, it's not doing the sport any good either for these guys to throw out hints. IMO, it would be best if they would just shut up and not engage in a smear campaign with unsubstantiated facts. They're taking away from the enjoyment of the sport.

scoretracker , 10/23/12 2:51 AM


what Blake said isn't good or bad for the sport. It's hardly even news.

it WOULD be bad if he threw out names, though

RickyDimon , 10/23/12 3:19 AM


For once I find myself in agreement with @scoretracker! To both players (ex and current) and fans: if you have evidence of doping in tennis, lay it all out, name names and be done with it. That's what people who care about the sport do. They do not engage in long-running hints and innuendo, does the sport no good.

rafaisthebest , 10/23/12 8:54 AM


I join RITB. Hats off to Scoretracker @ 2.51 AM

In the wake of the Lance Armstrong findings, inevitably this subject will raise its ugly head in every area of sport. Unfortunately the internet provides ample scope for damaging rumours, speculation and unsubstantiated accusations to circulate unchecked.

ed251137 , 10/23/12 10:36 AM


Blake: "But I also am realistic with this much money involved, $1.9 million for the winner of the US Open, people will try to find a way to get ahead."

Realistic enough to have a go, James, or can you not use $1.9m? If you point your finger at someone else, you'll find that there are three fingers pointing back at you. Go figure; as an American would say.

nadline , 10/23/12 10:48 AM


I have held Blake in high regard till now but he has gone way down in my estimation.
He is entitled to voice his opinions but insinuating the USO is tainted is out of order unless he is prepared to back up his innuendo with facts.

#SourGrapes

ed251137 , 10/23/12 2:24 PM


Evidence? What do you think Blake does, walks around taking samples from fellow players and tests them? Blake is going by what he can see and I don't blame him for it.

Instead of continuously attacking messengers, I'd like to see journalists and fans alike actually question the ITF's anti-doping regime. It is literally a joke and leaves so much room for dopers to get away with cheating - and yet I don't see anyone calling the ITF out for this. The cases involving Armstrong and Marion Jones were quite similar - everyone attacked those who doubted them, and what happened in the end? Are we so naive as to believe that tennis is completely clean with the anti-doping structure it has?

I think its time those responsible actually did something about the dope testing schemes in place and were transparent about it; or tennis will only deserve skepticism.

samprallica , 10/23/12 3:29 PM


Luis Garcia Del Moral has worked directly with quite a few tennis players. Victor Conte has worked directly with some tennis players. Time for the ITF to step it up?

samprallica , 10/23/12 4:03 PM


samprallica , 10/23/12 3:29 PM

I am bemused by your post quite frankly. Here's why:

1. Evidence? What do you think Blake does, walks around taking samples from fellow players and tests them? Blake is going by what he can see and I don't blame him for it.

RITB: What exactly has Blake seen? We just want him to tell us exactly what he has seen, not give us cryptic innuendo. Who said Blake should be the ITF/ATP drug tester? He is the one pointing fingers...........at no-one in particular! Rather tiresome.....

2. The cases involving Armstrong and Marion Jones were quite similar - everyone attacked those who doubted them, and what happened in the end?

RITB: Exactly. Armstrong and Jones were SPECIFICALLY attacked AND NAMED by specific journos who courageously NAMED them, they did not hide behind innuendo. CAN BLAKE PLEASE NAME NAMES? This is all we ask...................

3. Are we so naive as to believe that tennis is completely clean with the anti-doping structure it has? No, we are not that naive. We all know about the tennis players who have been caught with HGH, tested positive etc. As far as I have seen, not a single poster has said drugs do not exist in tennis. The sentiments being expressed in this discussion are overwhelmingly that we need proof, we need names. Whispers, innuendo etc do not address the problem......................or do they?

4. Time for the ITF to step it up? Of course! That does not mean people like Blake and fans should go around "pointing" fingers when they are actually pointing at nobody!

rafaisthebest , 10/23/12 4:37 PM


..........I would agree with you if Blake's ire was directed at the ITF/ATP bureaucracies and their inadequate anti-doping infrastructure, but it is not. His comments are generalisations which, quite frankly, are old news................

rafaisthebest , 10/23/12 4:45 PM


^^

1. Blake wasn't making specific accusations - and he cannot, he doesn't have the stats. I think this answer was in response to a question - what was he supposed to say, "I believe the ITF's stats prove beyond doubt that the sport is clean."?

2. Tennis journos have never really been courageous enough to point the finger at anyone. I mean, look at Lindahl above - "despite the longstanding anti-doping protocols in his sport". What a load of tosh - there's a lot of misinformation tossed around by journalists regarding anti-doping in tennis.

3. What happened to all those who were caught doping? Agassi - swept under the carpet. Rusedski - swept under the carpet. Not much of a fuss was made about those who were actually caught.

4. I have not asked for the fans to point fingers at nobody. I'd like to see more people actually raise their voice against the ITF and its anti-doping programme. Nothing on this website has coming close to highlighting this issue. Good tennis journalism? I think not.

samprallica , 10/23/12 5:46 PM


Has anyone taken a look at the stats for 2011? Some very prominent players were tested 0-3 times out of competition. 0-3 times out of competition in a day and age where the traces of designer drugs can wear off in a matter of hours. Some anti-dope testing regime that is.

samprallica , 10/23/12 5:53 PM


Well said RITB. I applause you for that!

luckystar , 10/23/12 5:58 PM


When I say very prominent players, I mean all of the top 20 players on both the men's and women's side. And since that stat has been published as 0 or 1-3 times, I'm inclined to believe there is a substantial percentage of players who weren't tested even three times in 2011. Now, if anyone thinks testing like that is going to catch dopers, I'd like to see a comment.

samprallica , 10/23/12 6:06 PM


Put up or shut up, Blake.

His comments potentially cast doubt on everyone, whilst exposing no one.

Contributes nothing.

No doubt Blake would be among the first to complain if, like rafa, muzz and others, he got woken up at unearthly hours and watched over while he produced a urine sample.

If he cannot point anyone out and cannot provide a solution, what does he hope to accomplish, other than enjoying the sound of his own voice?

alex , 10/23/12 6:07 PM


No Alex, Blake did precisely the right thing. Because of how anti-doping works in tennis, everyone on the tour is a potential doper. I don't know if that makes you uncomfortable, but its the unfortunate truth.

samprallica , 10/23/12 6:11 PM


By the way, Rafa, Nole and Andy were tested between 8-10+ times in 2011 (including out of competition). Being very generous, that would probably be a maximum of 15 times. Roger Federer was tested a maximum of 9 times in 2011. I don't see how waking up a little early to provide a test 15 times a year is such a huge problem - after all they earn millions because we watch the sport.

There is a very clear solution here - install a proper anti-doping programme and ensure that it is enforced properly.

samprallica , 10/23/12 6:16 PM


So one of my comments was deleted. Someone doesn't like it when facts are stated against a players name? Mind you, I wasn't making any unsubstantiated claims there.

Here goes - maximum number of tests in 2011 for the top 4:

Rafa - 10+
Nole - 10+
Andy - 10+
Roger - 9

Waking up 10 + times early in the morning is no big deal when you're earning millions off the sport.

samprallica , 10/23/12 6:21 PM


My mistake - the original comment is there.

samprallica , 10/23/12 6:24 PM


samprallica is absolutely right. I don't understand why the rest of you are in such a fuss. It really just makes the rest of you look like blind sheep.

The more it is discussed, the sooner things will and can change. Blake makes a general comment, due to, BEING ON THE TOUR. He, for say legal reasons, maybe cannot possibly say much because 1.) the higher ups would shut him up to save face and 2.) he would not want to taint the sport that helped him.

But I guess, it surely must be better to stay quiet about it right, since we are just fans and a majority of fans cannot actually tell when a player has taken PEDs.

aegis , 10/23/12 6:31 PM


samprallica -

ok, let me spell out what i mean ... come on, Blake, out with the facts (that's what we really want).

because if you don't ...

hmm, that's some tennis roger's plaing at the age of 31 ...
hey, isn't it amazing what nole's 'gluton free' diet did (wink, wink)? ...
wow, did you see how muzzle suddenly bilked out 5 years ago? ...
and talking of muscles, how about 'biceps' nadal? ...
hey guys, that's some Indian summer ferrer's having ...
and talking of Blake, what better way of deflecting attention from yourself than enjoying deming a clean-up ....
that's the problem, samprallica, by not having the guts to come out and name named, he's tarring the whole of tennis with the same brush.
vome on, Blake, tell us, WHO ARE THEY?

alex , 10/23/12 6:40 PM


The point is that no one should make baseless accusations! Accusing someone of doping is the most serious allegation that can be made. This could destroy a player's reputation.

If Blake was interested in really dealing honestly with this situation, then he would have called for the ITF to investigate and/or make specific changes to this process. Making a general accusation does precisely nothing to further the cause of eliminating supposed doping in the sport and casting suspicion on all players is simply unacceptable.

Nativenewyorker , 10/23/12 6:41 PM


Armstrong never tested positive

the last thing tennis needs is for the higher-ups to go on witch-hunts like they did in cycling

RickyDimon , 10/23/12 6:42 PM


Blake is an unfilled tennis player who is munching on sour grapes.

If he thinks it's that simple to get away with it, I'm sure there is nothing stopping him from going for the $1.9m. Has he tried it and forund out that it takes more than stamina to be a champion, that you need technique as well?

nadline , 10/23/12 6:45 PM


apologies for the infuriating predictive text

alex , 10/23/12 6:45 PM


@alex, the point I'm trying to make is that the scenarios you painted are entirely possible because of the ITF's anti-doping scheme. And how is Blake supposed to name names? I think its good that he pointed out the possibility that people could be cheating in tennis rather than "shutting up".

@Ricky, you too? Armstrong never tested positive? Read the documents, he tested positive TWICE, and as was the case with Agassi, these incidents were covered up.

"the last thing tennis needs is for the higher-ups to go on witch-hunts like they did in cycling" - proper doping regimes are not witch hunts. You cannot possibly tell me that a genuine effort from the ITF to do the correct thing is a witch-hunt in the making.

The Lance Armstrong saga highlights why the ITF's anti-doping scheme is a joke. The documents give a chilling tale of systematic designer doping and a code of omerta. Unless the ITF shows us some verifiable stats that they're making an effort to test properly, I don't see how the same scenario is far-fetched in tennis.

samprallica , 10/23/12 6:56 PM


expalin, Blake, what specifically is it you are observing that points to drugs? Nobody has suggested drugs are not there, but if you start a conversation you must have the decency to see it through.

samprallica, drugs is the 'paedophile' word of sport - such is the stigma it causes and the pall it casts over an entire sport you just can't throw it around indiscriminately, without facts and evidence, or it becomes a very messy business.

alex , 10/23/12 7:12 PM


Lance Armstrong never failed any dope tests, ever. He turned in TWO samples which were suspicious but not enough to constitute "analytical violations" at the time. Of course we all know he doped, and why he never failed a test, but fact is: he never failed a dope test.

I have read the reports..................

rafaisthebest , 10/23/12 7:23 PM


@alex's post of 10/23/12 6:40 PM sums it up really.................

rafaisthebest , 10/23/12 7:28 PM


I cant believe Blake can be very happy to have been aligned with Yannick Noah - the 'poacher turned gamekeeper' - whose accusations that all Spanish athletes must be doping caused such a furore last year.

I am still puzzled by this outburst. What exactly did Blake hope to achieve by suggesting doping is rife in tennis and why did Lindahl quote Blake's comments (originally aired to USA Today during the USO) on the day the world learnt the true extent of doping in the cycling world. Are readers expected to infer there is a parallel between cycling and tennis?


#Opportunism

Mind you, I reckon anybody who actually chooses to flog up and down mountains on a bike in all kinds of weather for 5-6 hours a day for weeks on end needs to be doped up to the eyeballs. However, knowing many of them probably are doesn't stop me enjoying the Tour de France every year!


ed251137 , 10/25/12 9:03 PM


Benn Johnson...ex world record holder:"Everybody was doing it... it was...TAKE IT OR YOU WON'T MAKE IT",1984.
Why not in tennis... :(
The fact is that anti doping control in tennis is very dark and mysterious area, nothing is transparent...

zare , 10/25/12 9:48 PM


A few facts:
World class cycling is almost entirely about endurance, mental and physical. Your mind has to endure and transcend the agony of the pain throughout the entire race. Your body needs the endurance to being pushed so hard for so long, day after day. Doping can certainly make a big difference here. (Still need tremendous amounts of practice and developing your mind's ability to copy.)

Sprinting involves pushing your body past similar pain tresholds and have tremendous explosive power in the muscles... train so that you have a far greater percentage of fast-twitching muscles than the general population. Train also to execute the techniques as flawlessly as you can on the day of the race. It's a lot more technical that way than it may seem. Doping here can make a major difference here for the body side of things.

In tennis you need an incredible package, all at a very high level. Some stamina, yes, strength, yes... and doping can help with some of this. But you also need mental toughness, mental tennis intelligence (strategy, tactics, making all kinds of choices througout a match), flexibility, coordination, almost flawless execution of serves, or return of serves, of court positioning, of strokes, of precision returns when you need them, and to make sure your weakest strokes are not particularly weak and vulnerable. Doping can not help with any of these... only with those first two.

I am not saying that there is no doping in tennis. I have no idea whether there is very little of it or more. BUT... doping can only help you so much.

Who but those in the top 5 or so have a real hope to win the US Open Blake talked about? Is there any evidence that any one of the top 5 or so have been using doping in the last few years? I have not come across any. Has Blake? Have some of the posters here? Or is it just lazy throwing dirt around to see if something will stick with some readers?

chlorostoma , 10/25/12 10:29 PM


I think one of the reasons why the dope testing in tennis is a closely guarded secret is probably due to the length of time that tennis has taken to gain in popularity and acceptance as a sport world-wide. It was always considered a gentleman's sport and most probably not subject to the usual scrutiny that the more popular, strenuous sports have been, viz, it's less taxing to the body, whereby one would think the use of PEDs would be unnecessary. Hence, if there are doping allegations in tennis considering its roots, those charges would rock the very foundation of the sport, and there would be huge falling off of fan participation and sponsors.

Tennis is now making big money in the sports world, and a drop in sponsors etc., would not bode well. As a result, there are many forces working behind the scenes which are against WADA going public with its findings.The situation is probably worse than we think and there's cherry picking as to whom will be held up to ridicule and/or be the sacrificial lamb. A top player would be bad news, but a player ranked 150 would be seens as a 'so big deal'. Such are the machinations of big time sport, of which tennis has now put a claim to recognition and fame.

scoretracker , 10/25/12 10:41 PM


Doping can give an individual a lot of confidence and can propel them to want to do more coz they are playing with a lot more ammunition. In other words, a mediocre athlethe can feel invincible when he is doping, and nothing appears out of his reach.

scoretracker , 10/25/12 10:45 PM


^^^Are you talking from experience?

nadline , 10/25/12 10:56 PM


Yeah, from the stuff you gave to me. Ask a dumb question, and you'll get a dumb answer. Like it?

scoretracker , 10/25/12 10:59 PM


chlorostoma, 10/25/12 10:29 PM,

I loved reading this post! I think you made a reasonable argument as to what and how doping may help in respective sports. But I agree with you that there are limits to what it can do. We have seen how important mental strength is in the sport of tennis. There is no drug that can give a player that quality! I don't think a player gains confidence from taking a drug. I think a player gains confidence from believing in his game, from knowing that he has put in the long hours and hard work to attain maximum physical fitness and accuracy and precision in shotmaking. If only there was a drug that could do this!

There are special qualities that separate the great champions from the rest of the field. It is my belief that those qualities can never be found in any aritificial substance or drug.

Nativenewyorker , 10/26/12 12:55 AM


You've hit the nail on the head NNYl

ed251137 , 10/26/12 2:34 AM


This is going to be a first, but I agree with Ricky here. US cycling wanted Lance Armstrong's head on a platter. They went after it and they got it.

Protocols being what they are, if passing a doping test doesn't actually mean anything, then why administer them? Armstrong PASSED the tests, but that didn't matter in the end.

We cannot fall into the trap of thinking "well, Player X LOOKS strong...let's see if we can get him for doping" or "Player Z runs like a rabbit for hours. He wouldn't be able to do that if he didn't dope."

No witch hunts in tennis, please.

cherylmurray , 10/26/12 3:43 AM


well said, ritb

RickyDimon , 10/26/12 4:07 AM


I think Lance Armstrong was the sacrificial lamb, due to his nationality. If USADA wanted to make an example, why not pick An American to show that they are being fair, unbiased and thorough? It wouldn't bode well for the organization to accuse someone of another nationality before doing it's own house-cleaning here, would it? It's as the saying goes, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Everything American is under a microscope. Unfortunately, politics plays a huge role in this type of decison-making.

I still maintain that doping can give an athlete confidence. The findings on it's effects are well-known to the sports world. If someone knows that they are armed with the necessary stamina enhancing supplements, it will definitely empower their mental toughness to keep fighting, coz they know that they have the ultimate edge to finish the job. It's a mind over body situation. Doping is similar to people who use mood-altering drugs which gives them the tools to cope mentally when facing challenges in life.

Anyone who is doping will eventually begin to believe in his prowess when he sees the positive results the doping is achieving for him. His confidence will begin to soar coz confidence is cumulative and is dependent on how well an athlete performs over a period of time. There's a reason these drugs are dubbed as 'performance enhancing drugs', coz they enhance an athlete's performance, which in turn gives them the confidence to believe in their game. These data are not hearsay, they are proven findings.

scoretracker , 10/26/12 6:16 AM


By your reckoning S/T none of the current crop of American tennis players are using PEDs :-D

ed251137 , 10/26/12 7:26 AM


NO, I'm not reckoning that to be the case at all, but they are the ones more open to scrutiny for USADA to show as an example. Odesnik was banned for having HGH on his possession. He's a low ranked American. Then before that Ivo Minar a Czech, Volandri an Italian, and a few other very low ranked players were banned, but not any players in the top 50(?) to my knowledge. The same happened with gambling.

If the current crop of Americans are doping, then it's not helping them coz most of them stink IMO.

It's difficult to catch players using PEDs, coz it is a drug that only last for about 6 hours and then exits the system, through perspiration and other bodily fluids. It's not like cocaine and marijuana which remain in the blood (cocaine) and fat cells (marijuana) for a lengthy period of time. Also, those drugs make the use lethargic. PEDs is a very smart drug in that sense, which is the reason so many athletes don't not caught.

scoretracker , 10/26/12 7:42 AM


Cheryl said that US cycling wanted to Lance Armstrong's head on a platter. Do we know their reasons for going after him? Was it to prove that they are fair and unbiased? Was it politics? Ricky and Cheryl seem to be saying that it was a witchhunt. I am not in favor of any kind of witchhunt in any sport.

I also wanted to reiterate my belief that the supposed confidence that drugs or PEDs provides is an illusion. As chloro said so well in the post @10:29 pm, the benefits of using drugs are specific depending on the sport. It can't do all things for all people. I would also posit that if an athlete needs drugs to feel confident, then he has a real problem. True confidence comes from within. It is an internal process in which hard work, training, conditioning, rigorous practice and perfecting one's game results in a player who can go out on the court with the belief that he is prepared for anything. Confidence comes from application and perseverance. Otherwise, why bother to train or practice at all? Just pop a pill and by magic you can become an unbeatable player!

I do not buy that for a minute. There have been too many athletes who have proved otherwise throughout the history of sport.

Chlorostoma made the case very well regarding what can and cannot be achieved by the use of drugs. There are limits. Some things have to be done the old-fashioned way. I believe that it is in the doing that real confidence and mental toughess are achieved.

Nativenewyorker , 10/26/12 8:44 AM


PEDs is rife in snooker. :)

Tennis is not an endurance test per se for the reasons that chlorostoma, so eloquently described @10/25/12 10:29 PM. Cycling is an endurance test, pure and simple as are many other sport, but not tennis. Anyone who believes that PEDs makes a tennis champion does not want the facts to get in the way of a good story.


nadline , 10/26/12 10:28 AM


PED's aren't a defining factor in tennis - but they sure do help in a lot of aspects; especially recovery. Tennis is one of the few sports with a long tiring season, where you tend to play week after week, travelling from one destination to another. It is also a sport that requires a substantial amount of practise through the year when you are not playing tournaments. Anyone who plays tennis understands the loss of muscle mass etc that happens.

Now I'm not saying that turning in incredible performances are a result of PEDs. I haven't insinuated that at all. What we need in tennis is a proper dope-testing scheme. No witch-hunts, a proper foolproof scheme. You cannot seriously be defending the present regime by saying "tennis doesn't need a witch-hunt". It will seriously help the sport because anyone who knows what the anti-doping regime is like is bound to think something is wrong there.

For the record, I'm not against tennis players taking drugs if it was out in the open and the drugs were administered in such a way that it couldn't potentially harm a player.

Btw, regarding doping helping somebody mentally - its just a pesudo placebo effect that goes on there. Not rocket science.

samprallica , 10/26/12 10:34 AM


Of course, the second thing tennis needs is less homogenization and slowing down of courts. The incentive to dope would reduce dramatically on faster courts - to hell with the audience that doesn't understand tennis unless its a long drawn out slugfest.

samprallica , 10/26/12 10:38 AM


NNy - this is sheer speculation on my part, but it seems to me that there has been some serious jealousy going on. Remember, that a host of other cyclists, US and otherwise, have been caught doping in the past few years. I think a bunch of people got together and said, "If I'm going down, he's going down with me."

And the problem with that thinking is that it isn't motivated by trying to clean up the sport. It's just petty revenge.

As others pointed out, cycling is a sport that is almost exclusively a test of endurance and physical fitness and as such is ripe for doping.

Scoretracker - I wonder if the fact that it's always lower-ranked players is indicative, not of bad tests but of the fact that lower-ranked players can't get by on skill alone.

When all is said and done, there is no amount of doping in the world that is going to give someone a forehand like Roger's or Rafa's or a backhand like Nole's.

cherylmurray , 10/26/12 12:51 PM


When all is said and done, there is no amount of doping in the world that is going to give someone a forehand like Roger's or Rafa's or a backhand like Nole's.
cherylmurray , 10/26/12 12:51 PM

That's exactly the point.

samprallica, if it was that easy to get away with it, and PEDs were that useful in tennis, more players would be contending for the top spots that have been the exclusive domain of the same players for yonks.

nadline , 10/26/12 3:26 PM


When we talk about doping, are we talking about blood doping, or a different type?

rbennett , 10/26/12 3:45 PM


Confidence in various performance situations in life is not a simple matter. I have been part of toastmasters clubs for several years. We practice public speaking each week. You learn a lot about people's self-image and confidence levels by attending these clubs. Over time many people become more confident... but sometimes you lose your confidence again for a variety of reasons. I think we all know about this from our own experience in various types of jobs and life situations.

When it comes to confidence in performing tennis at a world class level... this is very obviously far more tricky. We see it all the time in the pro tennis matches, how much the mental strength, belief, and confidence plays a role. You only need to look at the four different trajectories re confidence by the current top four and you can see many aspects of this question of confidence. Perhaps the strongest example is Djokovic. Here is a player with an incredible amount of potential. Who started playing at a very young age. Four I believe. With incredible motivation to get to the world class level and even to become number one. Yet remember how he struggled with confidence and consistency in mental strength for the first half of his ATP years? We are not writing about this often but I seem to remember he worked for a bit with a sports psychologist or someone like that... around the same time as he went on that gluten free diet. This is when Nole version 2 crystalized and we saw one of the most consistent mentally strong season by any player. The second strongest player that year could not quite beat him match after match.

Do you think any drugs can do much to get you that mental strength, to work out your psychological belief systems and views of yourself? If they can at all then, I think, they can only help a little, ten percent, say, and I don't think that will always work either.

I am not saying any of this proves there is no drug use among the top, say, 20 players. Or that the testing is adequate. I don't know. But at the same time do we KNOW there are players among the top 20 who use drugs? Do we know WHO? I don't think we do. And those that do, how much is it actually making a difference? Enough to greatly improve someone's chance to win the $1.9M US Open price, as Blake apparently suggests?

And how did the slowing down of the courts enter into this? Some of the courts were slowed down some years ago, yes, but in response to how much faster the players, their rackets, shoes etc have been making the game. And that trend of more power and speed due to technology and training changes is not going away. Tennis used to be a much slower game. Whenever it is not on a super fast surface it is not only about endurance but much more so about all the other skills: returns, ball placement, court position, good movement on court, strategies and tactics, the list goes on.

Take power only. Some of the tall and very strong players pose a serious challenge to lesser skilled players and usually defeat them. However they have a hard time defeating the likes of the top 4 who have superior skills in most departments, neatralizing the challenge of the power of the large bodies and the angles at which they can serve.

chlorostoma , 10/26/12 3:53 PM


and no amount of doping would ever make someone not named Lance Armstrong become Lance Armstrong

Armstrong won because was the best, and slaughtered everyone on a level playing field. Not because he doped.

RickyDimon , 10/26/12 3:55 PM


Another valid point, Ricky (that only hurt a LITTLE this time). I'm not suggesting that doping made Lance Armstrong what he was.

The truth is that in his prime, LA was probably the finest athlete in the world. Maybe even of all time. Blood doping did not transform a nobody into a superstar. But it did allow him to train in a manner that pushed the boundaries of human endurance beyond what we would consider normal. I've read articles about how he trained. He WAS Superman.

The crazy thing is that in cycling it WAS a level playing field. LA and the dozen guys behind him were all doing the same thing. And probably the 3 dozen guys behind them, but nobody will ever know because they passed the test and nobody is out for a witchhunt to nab the guy who came in 34th in the 2001 Tour de France.

cherylmurray , 10/26/12 4:15 PM


When we talk about doping, are we talking about blood doping, or a different type?
rbennett , 10/26/12 3:45 PM

Who knows? Some of us, including me, have no clue about PEDs, my opinions are purely based on logic and common sense.

nadline , 10/26/12 5:44 PM


As per a previous comment about tennis's mysterious and ambiguous doping standards... I recall being a bit dumbfounded when Agassi failed his drug test, and it was swept under the rug. He had lied to the administrators by saying that it was an accident or something? Now, in ANY other sport, he'd have had a few months ban from competition.

Also, it's pretty well known that cocaine is a confidence drug, unlike marijuana. So assuming that a player takes it after a match, win or loss, it would affect their psyche heading into the next match.

It's pretty clear to me that the higher ups, with all that tennis has accomplished, does not want to lose any ground, not with how successful tennis now is.

And for LA, a comment I read says it best: Lance Armstrong beat a field of dopers, 7 times. So either he doped, and doped better than the rest. Or he was simply better than the rest.

aegis , 10/26/12 7:32 PM


I'd also like to add this...

While many of us are discussing the "top 4" using PEDs, or "top 20", I think they get too much attention. Who's to say those players ranked 20-120 aren't? I may be the odd one out here, but I don't think the lower ranked players using PEDs/doping are doing it to beat the top 4 players, necessarily.

Though Blake is talking about the big prize winner, I would imagine that's not always the case. Some players may be satisfied just getting into the quarters or 3rd/4th round and making quick money, knowing that their chances of beating nole/rafa/red/murray in the final is slim to none. I would think, even one match win on PED, is a match win, and it's money in the bank, and it's onto the next tournament.

aegis , 10/26/12 7:39 PM


Armstrong won because was the best, and slaughtered everyone on a level playing field. Not because he doped.

RickyDimon , 10/26/12 3:55 PM


Au contraire. This is how I would phrase it:

"Armstrong won because he was the best doped cyclist out of a doped peleton, and slaughtered everyone on a level playing field. He excelled because his doping programme was better than everyone else's."

I read somewhere that Lance was domestique material before he got cancer and emerged as superman. He never showed potential to be a stage winner let alone TDF winner. Now we all know he started doping before he was diagnosed with cancer and continued after his recovery and then he goes and wins the TDF the year of his return after cancer treatment.

So, in my opinion, it was the dope that done it.................

He also had an incredible work ethic. That plus the dope...........7 TDF's.

rafaisthebest , 10/26/12 9:57 PM


By the way, I don't think Lance was targeted because he is American. I think Lance brought about his own downfall with his arrogance. The guy had/has a bad attitude. He almost revelled in making enemies. You cannot piss off so many people and not expect some if not all of them to want to get back at you some time.

Karma truly is a biatch..................

rafaisthebest , 10/26/12 10:02 PM


well said, ritb

Conspirator , 10/26/12 10:06 PM


Leave it to the Scots to aptly sum up Lance's "amazing exploits".

http://now.msn.com/lance-armstrong-book-recategorized-as-fiction-a t-bookstore

Choice quote:

"Bookstore comes up with clever way of calling Lance Armstrong a liar"

.......by re-assigning his autobiography to the fiction section!

rafaisthebest , 10/26/12 10:20 PM


aegis, 10/26/12 7:32 PM,

Your comment about cocaine being a confidence drug was kind of disturbing. As you must know, there are a lot of side effect from cocaine use, most of them extremely dangerous. It is one of the most difficult drugs to kick. So anyone who is using it to get confidence, is paying a pretty high price!

Along with that supposed confidence to the psyche, are a whole host of negative changes in brain chemistry and the body. I cannot imagine taking that kind of risk when real confidence can be achieved with hard work, determination, practice, perfecting groundstrokes, serve, return of serve and conditioning. The so-called confidence you presume that a player gets from cocaine, is an illusion. The problem is that you have to keep taking it and we know where that leads!

chlorostoma, 10/26/12 3:53 PM,

Again, many thanks for an informative post! Needless to say, I agree! :)

Nativenewyorker , 10/26/12 10:33 PM


Thank you, nny

as the song said and still says: you know the score :-)

chlorostoma , 10/26/12 11:56 PM


"When all is said and done, there is no amount of doping in the world that is going to give someone a forehand like Roger's or Rafa's or a backhand like Nole's.

cherylmurray, 10/26/12 12:51 PM

Those guys weren't born with those shots. It took long hours of practise, sweat and determination to make those shots their weapons.

PEDs does not gift anyone talent but it does give them the endurance to practise for endless hours to eventually excel above all other players in their playing field, with one or more weapons. Your comment below confirms this:

@"But it did allow him to train in a manner that pushed the boundaries of human endurance beyond what we would consider normal. I've read articles about how he trained. He WAS Superman."
cherylmurray, 10/26/12 4:15 PM

Case in point, (I hope I don't open a can of worms here to begin a Fed bashing by his detractors, on cue) I've heard Fed state and also read it in many articles, that about 3 years after he turned pro, he began watching tapes of those players he admired, their go to shots, etc. He would replay those tapes and practise the shots for hours daily until he felt comfortable incorporating them into his arsenal of weapons. He did it progressively, day after day, until they became his signature shots. With practising he gained confidence, and confidence is what has made him win more GS titles than any player in the history of tennis.

Djokovic has practised for hours taking the ball early ala Davydenko, to take time away from his opponents, his flexibility and sliding.He did not become an overnight wonder in 2011 by accident. He changed his diet, doctor, and trainer, and then practised, practised, and practised, until he gained the necessary confidence to shake the tennis world.

Nadal practised the buggy-whip, and then made it HIS, along with the USO serve and FH. It's not a secret that Nadal practises for numerous hours more than any other player. And, it's also why he needs to play a lot of matches to regain his confidence after a long lay-off.Practise makes confidence. And, practise makes perfect.

When Fed had mono, he stated the one thing that affected his tennis the most, was his inability to upkeep his fitness. And, that translated to his match play as in the AO 2008, when Djokovic beat him.

A lot of fans throw around the word 'talent' as though it's something these guys are born with, or some special gift they were given, but in reality, it's practising that makes them perfect.

Some players are gifted with good health, and can achieve their goals by natural means, but for some others, PEDs is a means to help them attain those goals, as it gives them the much needed energy to practise, which translates to confidence, and winning titles.

Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the top 4 guys are taking PEDs. I'm saying that their signature weapons can be duplicated by others practising for hours, but the reason not too many can do that is due to their low energy levels.

This is where PEDs can be tempting to a player who wants to win titles, shoot up in the rankings and not flame out in a match.

Armstrong may have offended a lot of people, and I suppose he did dope, but he's not the only one. What about Contador and the other European cyclists that have been banned? I'm sure they ticked off a lot of people also. Thus, why is Armstrong held up to so much more ridicule?He didn't do anything worse than a lot of other athletes.

I still feel that Armstrong was exposed in such a horrible manner because he's American. Tahe world looks at America and a lot of people are jealous of American athletes' success. Look at how Tiger Woods was hounded for his indiscretions in his personal life. And, that was his personal life not his golf. Did he do anything worse than a lot of public figures? However, he's American, and anything done by an American is hugely amplified, and we're supposed to pay a hefty price in comparison to all others.

scoretracker , 10/27/12 6:24 AM


there is no possible way that Lance doped THAT much better than everyone else

he was simply WAY better than everyone else...and he happened to dope

RickyDimon , 10/27/12 6:25 AM


^^^if he was way better than everybody else, and he happened to dope, why did he need to dope then? Don't get me wrong, I believe Lance was special on a bike. He was the one who got me hooked on cycling. I am now a TDF groupie.

Why did he need to dope?

rafaisthebest , 10/27/12 6:40 AM


......btw, I never bought into that Lance-as-cancer-survivor-Messiah hogwash. I liked him for his cycling prowess that's all...........

rafaisthebest , 10/27/12 7:28 AM


@ RITB

Because everyone else did it, and he felt cheated, and probably knew that if he hadn't had doped, he might not have won concretely. Granted, with his talent, he would have won either way, but he had to make a statement. Do you take your chances, if you're Lance, and compete knowing how good you are, you have a 75% chance to win... or do you take the PEDs, take them better than everyone else, and make it a 95% chance?

It was a witch hunt, simple as that. He was American, and they needed to make an example of him. There are politics involved, obviously. The Americans are already dominating at NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, Golf (at the time), and Tennis. Cycling was now about to let the US of A dominate their sport.

aegis , 10/27/12 7:30 AM


Cycling has a history going back to the 19thC of widespread doping. The real culprits are the team managers and in particular the doctors who supply, administer and train cyclists in the use of drugs.

#LevelPlayingField

ed251137 , 10/27/12 8:45 AM


nobody who doesn't dope doesn't have a chance in cycling. so obviously thats why he did it.

but everyone else still should have had a chance against him. but they didnt.

#tennis

RickyDimon , 10/27/12 9:07 AM


RITB @ 7:28 AM
With you on that one. I always suspected it was an elaborate smokescreen to counteract the rumours swirling around his comeback and first Tour win.

I firmly believe in the philosphy of 'there is no such thing as true altruism'. But whatever his motives, the fact remains the Armstrong Foundation has been a positive force for good raising some $500million and instigating radical new approaches in the treatment and care of cancer victims.


#EveryCloudHasASilverLining

ed251137 , 10/27/12 9:38 AM


@ 8:45 AM
I meant to add:

Also it is corrupt officials of various governing bodies (particularly the UCI) who have collaborated in concealing the truth which contributed to the culture of widespread, systematic doping in cycling.

#TennisTakeNote

ed251137 , 10/27/12 10:32 AM


Djokovic has practised for hours taking the ball early ala Davydenko, to take time away from his opponents, his flexibility and sliding.He did not become an overnight wonder in 2011 by accident. He changed his diet, doctor, and trainer, and then practised, practised, and practised, until he gained the necessary confidence to shake the tennis world.

Nadal practised the buggy-whip, and then made it HIS, along with the USO serve and FH. It's not a secret that Nadal practises for numerous hours more than any other player. And, it's also why he needs to play a lot of matches to regain his confidence after a long lay-off.Practise makes confidence. And, practise makes perfect.

When Fed had mono, he stated the one thing that affected his tennis the most, was his inability to upkeep his fitness. And, that translated to his match play as in the AO 2008, when Djokovic beat him.

A lot of fans throw around the word 'talent' as though it's something these guys are born with, or some special gift they were given, but in reality, it's practising that makes them perfect.

Some players are gifted with good health, and can achieve their goals by natural means, but for some others, PEDs is a means to help them attain those goals, as it gives them the much needed energy to practise, which translates to confidence, and winning titles.

Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the top 4 guys are taking PEDs. I'm saying that their signature weapons can be duplicated by others practising for hours, but the reason not too many can do that is due to their low energy levels.

This is where PEDs can be tempting to a player who wants to win titles, shoot up in the rankings and not flame out in a match.
scoretracker , 10/27/12 6:24 AM


scoretracker, you are contradicting yourself. This i:s what you've said

1. You don't believe in natural talent

2. PEDs enable anyone to train hard to perfect technique.

3. Top players have trained very hard to perfect their technique.

4.....their signature weapons can be duplicated by others practising for hours, but the reason not too many can do that is due to their low energy levels.

5. This is where PEDs can be tempting to a player who wants to win titles, shoot up in the rankings and not flame out in a match.


To put it in a nustshell. only the top players can train hard to improve their technique and PEDs enable hard training.

Conclusion :- You ARE saying that the top 4 guys are taking PEDs.

nadline , 10/27/12 11:10 AM


@aegis: it was an American organization, USADA, and American cyclists who testified against Lance and brought him down. Are you saying Americans do not like each other? Please, Americans dominating at NBA, MLB? You are having a laugh, aren't you? These are American pastimes! Are you one of those Americans who think the world is America and America is the world?

rafaisthebest , 10/27/12 11:26 AM


I?ve been bothered by Cheryl Murray and Ricky Dimon buying into the ?witch hunt? argument promoted by Lance Armstrong. If any top tennis player had been surrounded for years by allegations, accusations, and indeed positive results for doping, as Armstrong was, then I should not consider it a witch hunt if a national sports body made a determined effort to break down the expensive legal barriers and expose the lies. There may be doping in tennis, as indeed some have been suspended or banned (for example Canas), and some ?excuses? seem laughably thin (kissing?), but persistent widespread (or even occasional) doping seems implausible. Two articles in SI seem to me to put the case well. John Leicester on October 22, and Jon Wertheim?s tennis mailbag on October 24. I?ll try and provide the links.http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/news/20121024/wertheim-m ailbag-tennis-doping/?sct=tn_wr_a1
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2 012/cycling/wires/10/22/2080.ap.cyc.john.leicester.221012.1st.ld.write thru.1663/index.html

jmk , 10/27/12 3:00 PM


'Agreed, it won't do the sport any good to throw out a general accusation However, it's not doing the sport any good either for these guys to throw out hints. IMO, it would be best if they would just shut up and not engage in a smear campaign with unsubstantiated facts. They're taking away from the enjoyment of the sport.'
scoretracker , 10/23/12 2:51 AM

He then goes on to explain to us how PEDs work (for those of us who have no idea lol) and finally narrows down the field - all be it contradicting himself along the way -
and it doesn't require too much intelligence to have a pretty good idea who he is pointing the finger at.

I suggest S/T takes his own advice, offered to Blake, and refrains from the insinuations.

BTW: re: his comment @ 10/27/12 6:24 AM

The remark - 'Armstrong may have offended a lot of people, and I suppose he did dope' - makes S/T one of the last people left to only to suppose Armstrong was doping all those years.

#MakeUpYourMind
#WhichSideOfTheFenceAreYouOn?

ed251137 , 10/27/12 4:15 PM


You have to remember, ed252237, a lot of people elevated Armstrong to this near-mythical Messiah status that it has difficult accepting the truth, being that their hero was just an average sportsman who sought the holy grail by drugging himself to the gills, pushing drugs, lying, bullying and corrupting an already corrupt system.

I hope we never see the likes of such venality in tennis...............

rafaisthebest , 10/27/12 4:47 PM


Armstrong may have offended a lot of people, and I suppose he did dope, but he's not the only one. What about Contador and the other European cyclists that have been banned? I'm sure they ticked off a lot of people also. Thus, why is Armstrong held up to so much more ridicule?He didn't do anything worse than a lot of other athletes.

I still feel that Armstrong was exposed in such a horrible manner because he's American. Tahe world looks at America and a lot of people are jealous of American athletes' success. Look at how Tiger Woods was hounded for his indiscretions in his personal life. And, that was his personal life not his golf. Did he do anything worse than a lot of public figures? However, he's American, and anything done by an American is hugely amplified, and we're supposed to pay a hefty price in comparison to all others.

scoretracker , 10/27/12 6:24 AM

Reasons Armstrong is being held up to so much more ridicule compared to Contador and co:

1. Armstrong refined the sophisticated doping programme at USPostal Team, carried it over into the Discovery Team where Contador was then mentored and taught how to dope. Therefore Contador is seen as more of a victim and Armstrong the Godfather of the whole corrupt team ethic.
2. Contador doped, he did not bully other team-mates to dope for his benefit (at least this is what we know), Lance did. Contador did not traffic drugs, Lance did.
3. Contador never chased any clean riders out of the peloton for daring to speak out against doping, Lance did.

I have asked this question in my other post: Do Americans hate their own? They (USADA) are the ones who hounded Lance. The riders who ratted on him are all American as far as I know. So, this notion that Lance was set upon by a world which hates America is just strange to say the least. And as for the Tiger Woods analogy, again, this was an American expose with American players (were any of Woods' mistresses non-American?). Was he exposed by non-American tabloids? Maybe the golf club his now ex-wife used to flatten him was made in Sweden............who knows.

rafaisthebest , 10/27/12 5:09 PM


........come to think of it, I would expect Americans to be really pissed off at Lance Armstrong because he used their tax-dollars to finance his doping and drug-trafficking.........US Postal sponsorship money, instead of pointing fingers at imaginary outside forces.

rafaisthebest , 10/27/12 5:14 PM


@ed, you and nadline as per usual have run true to form. she asked me the most stupid question, and then further comes to the conclusion that all top 4 are usung PEDs. Roger is my fave, so then I'm accusing him of doping? And I didn't even include murray, coz he's just a one trick pony, and hasn't done much with his FH and serve.

And, as per uusual, ed waits in the shadows only to come out like the usual flesh eater. I suppose all would have been well if I had only talked of roger and Djokovic(?), or maybe only roger's practising ethics?

Or did I touch some nerve coz I mentioned Nadal?

You've all proven once again, that it's a waste of time to discuss anything worthwhile on this site. I'm thankful I don't address any comments to any of you, but only write in general. Oh but, wait, it's coz I don't have any friends? Have fun y'all talking among yourselves. I'll stay away from anything even remotely related to Nadal.

scoretracker , 10/27/12 8:25 PM


Needed to add, if you read my comments with an open mind, you'd see I stated the top guys spend hours practising to perfect their awesome FH, Bh, serve, etc., , but it's not the same for the lower-ranked coz they are energy deficient, and I can understand why the lower-ranked would be tempted to use PEDs.

Talk about twisting someon's words to suit your own thinking it's right here. Grow up, (not so in ed's case) and get real.

scoretracker , 10/27/12 8:56 PM


scoretracker, maybe you are not that good at saying what you mean.

nadline , 10/27/12 9:28 PM


Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the top 4 guys are taking PEDs.
scoretracker , 10/27/12 6:24 AM

And I didn't even include murray,
scoretracker , 10/27/12 8:25 PM



Could you tell me who the top 4 guys are that you mentioned if you didn't mention Murray?

nadline , 10/27/12 9:33 PM


'And, as per usual, ed waits in the shadows only to come out like the usual flesh eater.'

S/T: Would you care to explain exactly what you mean by that comment.

ed251137 , 10/27/12 10:30 PM


#Ageism
#Sexism
#GranniesUnited

ed251137 , 10/27/12 11:30 PM


Absolutely agree with all comments from RITB regarding Lance Armstrong. I also don't believe he could have got away with it for so long without the complicity of governing authorities but that is a different matter altogether.

As for people saying doping doesn't help your mental strength/confidence etc; I don't think you quite understand how tennis works. Doping massively helps you if you believe you've got an edge over a player who isn't doped on the other end on literally every point. Now, once you see that the player on the other side is doped as well, that confidence might just begin to erode.

I will not name names but there has been a very plausible scenario for exactly what I described above that unfolded on the tour quite recently.

samprallica , 10/28/12 6:09 AM


^^^^

Why not name names? It's this business of mentioning these anecdotal incidents that occurred without providing specifics, that makes it innuendo and not credible.

Oh and believe me, I do understand how tennis works. I used to play until a horrific car crash caused permanent damage in my back. Of course I was just an amateur, but to presume to tell those of us who do not agree that confidence can be bought with a convenient substance, is kind of condescending.

I think chlorostoma answered this question by indicating the various ways in which doping may or may not help in specific sports. The idea that simply by the act of doping, one has a mental advantage is not correct. It's like a crutch.

The real edge in the sport of tennis happens when a player has put in the long hours of work and practice, honed his shots and tried to work on his weaknesses while preserving his strengths. When you go out on that court with real fitness, the best game you can possibly have and the confidence from knowing that these things will help you beat your opponent, then there is no need for any kind of artificial substance.

Nativenewyorker , 10/28/12 7:22 AM


I will not name names but there has been a very plausible scenario for exactly what I described above that unfolded on the tour quite recently.
samprallica , 10/28/12 6:09 AM

Are you talking aout the olympic and USO results?

nadline , 10/28/12 10:15 AM


^^^The olympic finals, particularly?

nadline , 10/28/12 10:16 AM


^^^^

I certainly hope this is not the case!

Nativenewyorker , 10/28/12 8:19 PM


#Speculation
#Innuendos
#RedsUnderTheBeds

ed251137 , 10/28/12 8:37 PM


@nadline,
And I didn't even include murray,
scoretracker , 10/27/12 8:25 PM
Could you tell me who the top 4 guys are that you mentioned if you didn't mention Murray?"
------------
I'll indulge you. I didn't include Murray's work ethics coz he doesn't possess a shot that can be labeled his signature shot.

You claim I'm not that good at saying what I mean, but that's not the case with you is it? You and some here, have a comprehension problem and misinterpret what they see in front of them, most times than not, deliberately done, just to get into an argument. That's not my problem, but yours and theirs.

When I write down every little detail, I'm told my comments are lengthy, and when I shorten them, then many have a problem comprehending. This is a catch-22 obviously. I hope I don't have to explain a catch-22 to you now?

You are very adept at putting words into other people's mouths just to fool yourself that you're showing them up, albeit you're twisted. I'm of the opinion that you will say anything just to get some focus on yourself, coz, you have very little to add to the topic, as always. You look for ways and/or means on how best to get yourself into the mix, which makes you feel that your'e part of something, but in reality you're absolutely not. You need me to spell this out for you also?

scoretracker , 10/28/12 10:30 PM


the opposite of everything samprallica said in her last post

#HopeThisHelps

RickyDimon , 10/29/12 12:14 AM


@Ricky, I thought samprallica was a *he*. He/she was in agreement with RITB.

I don't think any governing authorities helped Lance to hide his doping. If that's the case, then how is it that Armstrong got stripped of his itles, etc? Surely, those authorities would have put up a fight to save Armstrong for fear of being exposed themselves, coz he could retaliate by being a whistleblower?

This whole doping matter is more complicated and deep than we can fathom.

scoretracker , 10/29/12 12:30 AM


LA is a joke.

#Karma

Conspirator , 10/29/12 12:31 AM


scoretracker, 10/29/12 12:30 AM
If you will forgive me for saying so, but your argument is flawed. If you can still believe that there were not people conniving at a cover up you have clearly not been following the saga closely as it unfolded.

There's none so blind as they that won't see.

'This whole doping matter is more complicated and deep than we can fathom.'

Exactly.


ed251137 , 10/29/12 1:03 PM


scoretracker, you should be grateful that anyone bothers to read your lengthy ambiguous drivel.

Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the top 4 guys are taking PEDs.
scoretracker , 10/27/12 6:24 AM


So what exactly are you saying?

nadline , 10/29/12 1:42 PM


scoretracker , 10/29/12 12:30 AM

1. As ed251137 says in her post of 1:03pm, there is strong circumstancial evidence that the UCI knew about the organised doping going on in the peloton and they either turned a blind eye to it or they covered it up.
2. UCI challenged USADA at every turn during USADA's investigations. In fact, UCI tchallenged USADA saying they had no authority to investigate and sanction LA, effectively taking LA's side. USADA refused to be cowed and went ahead anyway. Right up to the time released the Reasoned Report, UCI indicated they would appeal USADA's decision but when the report came out and they saw the overwhelming evidence and the way it was received by public opinion, they had no choice but to endorse the decision.
3. The current Chairman of UCI, a Dutch guy went on record to state emphatically that LA never, ever doped. He now says he was misquoted.
4. The UCI board has announced that they have commissioned an independent enquiry to investigate the UCI's role in the whole LA affair. They wouldn't do that if the UCI was beyond reproach would they?

I would say the other shoe hasn't yet dropped in this whole affair...............

rafaisthebest , 10/29/12 2:12 PM


scoretracker, suggest you read the following article and open letter to the UCI from Greg LeMond, the one true US TDF Champion:

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/13145/LeMond-issues-ope n-letter-calling-on-McQuaid-and-Verbruggen-to-resign-for-the-sake-of-c ycling.aspx

rafaisthebest , 10/29/12 2:17 PM


nadline, 10/29/12 1:42 PM
Give up darling. S/T no longer knows what he thinks.

If I have followed his train of thought and weasel comments correctly, he wants to believe in Armstrong's innocence yet at the same time wants to prove there is widespread doping in tennis. Figure that one out if you can.

RITB: You can take a horse to water but you cant make it drink - particularly if said horse is wearig blinkers.

ed251137 , 10/29/12 2:58 PM


James Blake is being ridiculous you cant just assume that people are getting ahead of the testers he hasn't supported his judgement by any solid arguments

tennis2011 , 10/29/12 8:00 PM


The Americans are already dominating at NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, Golf (at the time), and Tennis. Cycling was now about to let the US of A dominate their sport.

aegis , 10/27/12 7:30 AM

Well, now we know why Americans are "dominating" at NBA, NFL etc:

"A baseball player who tests positive for steroids or testosterone, like Melky Cabrera, faces a suspension of just a few dozen games, not a two-year ban like cyclists and other athletes whose sports subscribe to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.

WADA covers Olympic sports like track and swimming, but not American professional sports."

http://www.tnr.com/article/109212/cyclings-secret-it-may-b e-the-worlds-cleanest-sport

rafaisthebest , 10/29/12 8:21 PM


Americans dominate those sports because they are played in America

they don't dominate the Premier League or Australian Rules Football or the Bundesliga because they are not played in America

RickyDimon , 10/29/12 9:32 PM


LOL at nadline and ed. Your comments prove that it's a lost cause trying to discuss anything worthwhile, without the usual ganging up and personal nasty remarks you love to induge in to make a useless point. enjoy the mud slinging it's what you do best. The only contribution nadline makes on a thread is to take swipes at other posters, especially Fed fans, and then ed does her usual, add some more gas to the flames.As ed mentioned on another thread 'great minds think alike', it's the laugh of the day when it's you two who are the great minds on this thread who are thinking alike.

Whenever ed pays anyone a compliment, they have to look out for the dagger that's hiding behind her back or the flesh eating piranha she'll let loose as in Jaws. ouch.

scoretracker , 10/30/12 3:04 AM


I can assure you that the scenario I described had nothing to do with Andy Murray :D

samprallica , 10/30/12 6:31 AM


But let me put it this way - I believe that if doping is going on, it has to be going on at the top of the game as well. That is where the money is, that is where the risk of being in danger and getting caught is averted because you have access to the best "doctors" etc. Also, it is at the top of the game where performances are being turned in that were once thought impossible.

This is of course speculation and I hope this post isn't deleted. What I find strange is that the fact that nobody has addressed the issue of tennis players being linked to Del Moral and Conte. That to me is more worrying than anything else.

samprallica , 10/30/12 6:37 AM


'Also, it is at the top of the game where performances are being turned in that were once thought impossible'

Examples please. Like? Nole's more then ten hours heroic efforts at the AO vs Murray + Rafa?or Fed's unbeliveable efforts at age 30-31 beating his younger counterparts in the top four and clinching the no.1 ranking? Or Haas at 34 playing some of his best tennis to reach top twenty in the rankings again? Or Ferrer at 30 playing his best tennis this year, reaching two SFs and two QFs at the slams and winning six titles across all surfaces (outdoor/indoor hards, clay and grass)....

luckystar , 10/30/12 8:44 AM


scoretracker, what exactly is your contribution to this forum. You are always at odds with someone or other.

nadline , 10/30/12 8:59 AM


Nadline: Good question!

I think I'll use 'piranha' as my next moniker. lol.



ed251137 , 10/30/12 10:36 AM


samprallicca@ 6.30 am. Well phew! I'll just put my catapult away....for now...;)
@ed
#OliveBranchSnappedCleanInTwo
#Surprised?

deuce , 10/30/12 10:45 AM


@luckystar, I would include all the examples you mentioned, and also include Rafa's AO performance in 2009. Like I said, I am speculating and genuinely hoping this is all a result of better training methods and nutrition nowadays but until the ITF steps and shows some interest in actually employing an effective anti-doping regime, those who speculate are quite justified. Maybe the players should just say they are happy with more testing (they clearly are not! - with the exception of Federer).

samprallica , 10/30/12 10:47 AM


@nadline, I contribute a lot more than the two of you combined. You ask dumb questions, and the other backs you up with the usual mud-slinging. See above for affirmation of my comments before your disgusting behavior. Who began being at odds on this thread asking me a dumb question? YOU, and then ed chimed in, doing what she does best.

The constant mud-slinging and uncalled for intervention messes up every thread. It's not safe to post on any thread without one of the gang getting involved.

I'm off this thread so talk to yourselves, but I know you'll follow me around. It's hilarious.

scoretracker , 10/30/12 11:04 AM


@deuce, got something to say to me, say it, don't use your stupid sarcastic hash-tags. I noticed you wrote "#the old problem is back "when I returned a week ago. iIt got erased, and you wrote it again.

scoretracker , 10/30/12 11:08 AM


@scoretracker
I certainly DID NOT write that.
Please email Cheryl if you do not believe me.
I will post on this site exactly as I want to, thank you.
#YetMoreFalseAccusations
#Sigh

deuce , 10/30/12 11:14 AM


scoretracker has a problem with everyone but according to scoretracker, the problem is everyone else, not scoretracker. ROFL.

jean , 10/30/12 11:17 AM


samprallica, I think you get it wrong. The players were not complaining about the testing but the timing of the testing. They all know it's necessary for testing to be done, but in a more reasonable way. Also if I'm guilty of doping, I would rather keep my mouth shut than to complain and invites suspicions towards me. Maybe those who prefer to keep quiet end up being the guilty ones!

luckystar , 10/30/12 11:18 AM


@11.04 AM
'The constant mud-slinging and uncalled for intervention messes up every thread. It's not safe to post on any thread without one of the gang getting involved.'

dictionary definition of mudslinging: the practice of saying things publicly that are intended to harm someone's reputation.

#PersecutionComplex

ed251137 , 10/30/12 11:18 AM


jean: Good observation :-)

ed251137 , 10/30/12 11:35 AM


Also, Rafa's AO performance was matched or even surpassed by Nole's at AO2012. What did that show us? That it's a possible though very tough feat. And what about those who won the USO title playing back to back long tough matches on consecutive days(without rain delays and subsequent postponement of the final to the following Monday, like those from 2008-
2012). And what about Nole's effort this FO, playing long five set matches one after another?

Are we to question all these efforts from the players, just because we don't believe any human is able to pull off such feat, without the help from some prohibited means?

luckystar , 10/30/12 11:35 AM


@lucky, I am not letting being a fan of player get in the way of what I feel regarding doping. If indeed doping is prevalent, I'd say Nole is a heavy doper :)

I'm just spelling things like it is. Either we have an amazing generation of players or we have a bunch of dopers. Now if the ITF were to do something about their anti-doping regime, then I'll sit with the former - something I'd like to believe.

samprallica , 10/30/12 12:20 PM


I prefer to give these players the benefit of doubts. Now if we look at the top four guys for example, all four of them are incredibly fit and quick. If we are to suspect one of them, we have to suspect all four. How do we explain that one is not doping but the other is and yet both are equally fit and quick, for example. Unless there's concrete proof, it's unfair to suspect some but give some others the pass.

luckystar , 10/30/12 12:55 PM


I am with you lucky, give the players the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

You have to be a real sour puss to prefer guilty until proven innocent to innocent until proven guilty!

rafaisthebest , 10/30/12 1:03 PM


Blake certainly achieved his objective making his statement when he did! Now just about every player on the circuit is under a cloud of suspicioun :-((

The worry is that the governing bodies might be guilty, like those in cycling, of papering over the cracks when the stars of the sport are involved. There is a disturbing history of accepting spurious defences when somebody is caught that undermines their credibility.

The ITF, ATP etc needs to put their house in order, and quickly, if the public's faith in the system is to be restored.

ed251137 , 10/30/12 1:24 PM


RITB: answered your q. about Tomic on "Murray" thread, where I found it.
#FeetOfClay
ed: really easy to cast nasturtiums isn't it? Wonder what "proof" Blake has.

deuce , 10/30/12 1:39 PM


Let's here it from Muzza:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/9641656/Andy-Murray- calls-on-tennis-to-get-tough-on-drugs-in-the-wake-of-the-Lance-Armstro ng-scandal-in-cycling.html

Sorry, I like Muzza's take so much I am taking the liberty of copying the entire article in case some posters cannot open the link, a la chr18:

Murray is right to question the thoroughness of tennis?s anti-doping programme. Urine samples may be taken with some regularity during tournaments, but as the mass of evidence from the US Postal cycling team demonstrates, the best way to catch drug cheats is to take them by surprise.

?You never know in any sport what?s really going on,? Murray said, as he prepared for his second-round match at the Paris Masters tomorrow. ?I think the out of competition stuff could probably get better. When we?re in December and stuff, when people are training and setting their bases, I think it would be good to try and do more around that time.

?On Saturday night, we actually had a blood test. They came to the hotel late that night ­­ ? it was completely random. I think that?s good; we?re not used to doing that many blood tests in tennis [and] it?s something that?s obviously necessary. It?s a shame for their sport [cycling] but how they managed to get away with it is incredible, for that long.?

How urgent is tennis?s desire to front up to this challenge? There are some worrying statistics, including the paltry £1.5million annual budget that the International Tennis Federation spends on its anti-doping programme, according to a 2010 interview with the head of its science and technical department.

The data published on the ITF?s website reveals that, in 2011, there were only 21 out-of-competition blood tests across the whole of the professional game. Yet this is a sport where the rewards for reaching the top run into tens of millions of pounds. The motivation is there to take any advantage available.
Related Articles

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Murray addressed both sides of the issue.

He drew a contrast between cycling ? where it?s all about ?how many watts you?re producing? ? and the extraordinary physical skills required by high-level tennis. There?s no drug that can teach you how to play a drop volley.

But he also pointed out that doping penalties have not always been fully enforced, citing the case of Wayne Odesnik, who was caught with eight vials of human growth hormone in his luggage in 2010. Originally handed a two-year ban, Odesnik?s sentence was later reduced.

?That?s what was frustrating for me,? Murray said, ?because we?re going through all of this and they?re being too lenient with guys that are travelling with human growth hormone to other countries. It?s ridiculous.

If somebody fails a test, don?t just let them back into the sport 18 months earlier than what they should be.

?The other thing with tennis is that there?s a lot of testing at the top end,? Murray added. ?But lower down there isn?t anywhere near as much. With the ?Whereabouts? form, I think only the top 50 singles players and maybe only the top ten doubles players have to do it.?

There is a theory that, if the ITF really wanted to make a statement, it could pick up dozens of positive tests at Challenger level. This is where the desperation is greatest, with hundreds of would-be stars struggling just to pay their travel costs.

But if a really big fish happened to be caught, would the tennis authorities be prepared to expose them? Andre Agassi?s 2009 autobiography, Open, broke the story that he had tested positive for crystal meth ? a recreational drug ? fully 12 years earlier. Yet the information had never escaped an inner circle of ATP executives and the independent panel who decided to accept Agassi?s ?accidental ingestion? excuse.

More recently, further questions have been raised by the involvement of Luis Garcia del Moral ? team doctor for US Postal during Armstrong?s heyday ? in a tennis academy in Valencia where Sara Errani, David Ferrer and former world No1 Dinara Safina have all trained. However, there is no suggestion that any of these players have taken drugs.

Murray clearly does not believe that tennis has an endemic doping problem.

?Since 1990 we?ve had 65 positive tests,? he said, ?and ten of those have been recreational.? But there was a warning in the recent interview that Dick Pound, the founder of WADA, gave to USA Today.

Pound asked whether the ITF?s program, and others like it, ?are actually designed to succeed or designed to fail and merely cover their butts?.

rafaisthebest , 10/30/12 1:56 PM


@rafaisthebest, 10/30/12 1:56 PM
___A. Murray: "It's a shame for their sport [cycling] but how they managed to get away with it is incredible, for that long.?"___


They have had experienced adviser(s), in Switzerland.
Quotes:
##American cycling champion Lance Armstrong paid more than a million dollars to a Swiss company controlled by an Italian doctor [Michele Ferrari] who helped cyclists benefit from illegal doping, a new report says./---/Ferrari provided advice on how to evade detection by anti-doping testers.##
Wikipedia: Bicycle racer Filippo Simeoni: "Dr. Ferrari recommended I use Emagel the morning before controls, and another product to decrease my hematocrit."

Augustina08 , 10/30/12 2:32 PM


It was access to Armstrong's bank accounts (I think by Federal agents) that revealed this damning piece of evidence.

ed251137 , 10/30/12 2:43 PM


scoretracker, your contribution is mainly running a particular player down, who can't answer back. You never have anything contructive to say.

nadline , 10/30/12 4:33 PM


@nadline, you're talking about yourself and jean, whose only mission on this site is to badmouth Fed and his fans for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I believe your reputation precedes you.

I'm still to see one comment on here from either of you on the subject of players who are doping.

scoretracker , 10/30/12 7:39 PM


I'm off this thread so talk to yourselves, but I know you'll follow me around. It's hilarious.
scoretracker , 10/30/12 11:04 AM

Still posting here at 7.30 PM

#IdleThreat

ed251137 , 10/30/12 10:07 PM


I'm still to see one comment on here from either of you on the subject of players who are doping.
scoretracker , 10/30/12 7:39 PM

Such low level subject is banned on this site. In any case, your comment on the subject is worthless as it is based on hate.

nadline , 10/30/12 10:15 PM


Everybody has their breaking point: while I'm not so naive as to believe there is no doping, I draw the line at speculating on who may, or may not, be guilty.

#EndOfDiscussion

ed251137 , 10/30/12 10:30 PM


@scoretracker
re alllegation I wrote: "the old problem is back"
#Lie
#WaitingForAnApology
#PigsMightFly

deuce , 10/31/12 11:06 AM


I can?t say for that the top four never use doping (or pick a higher number if you like, but the top four are incredible fit and fast as luckystar says). But if I had to guess, I would say they do not.

I think that luckystar makes an excellent point: other than a bit of timing (Fed?s age, Rafa?s injuries, Murray?s injuries of old, Novak?s rise into incredible confidence and consistency two years ago, Murray?s recent increase in confidence and consistency)? these four are indeed pretty close to each other in terms of fitness and speed. With variations, e.g. only Novak has the extreme flexibility in the hips and the spinal twists. So indeed, if one of them or two of them got to this level of fitness and speed in a significant part due to doping, then how did the clean ones get to about the same level? Should we conclude that because it _seems_ impossible to do what they have done without doping therefore all four must be doping. In that case someone somewhere should leak vital information and someone or someones should pressure various official bodies to expose the top four? and? cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs? kill the ATP worldwide business during one of its best eras.

So which is it, are the top four all doping, and doping often enough to play at such levels of fitness for years now, and are all the officials involved silenced by various forces such as economics?

Most readers of tt who have been following pro male tennis for a few years will, I think, agree that this is not a very likely scenario. This is NOT cycling, where I do believe what Rick wrote: if you were not doping then you could not possibly get anywhere near the top of the heap, a heap where most were already doping.

Do lower level tennis players dope? Seems so. Very many or not very many? I have no idea.

But coming back to the top four and those in the top 20 or 30, say. How CAN they put in such amazing performances?

Some facts will help I think. I just do not know whether they explain everything about modern levels of fitness? but perhaps they do.

One. Technological changes. To racquets, shoes, even balls, cameras, the internet and world wide television coverage on hundreds of channels bringing a much greater public to each match than before. Technological analyses of players? movements. New sciences of sports physiology and nutrition. The list goes one. All of these changes have at the same time increased the competition and the level of fitness needed to rise to the top, as well as finding ways to make players a lot fitter than they needed to be in, say, the 80s or the 90s. Just the fact that a player can easily watch any recorded match at ease on their laptop anytime as often as they want is a strong factor.

Two. With the much increased audience for tennis and with the further rise of the global economy the moneys at play at much higher. The price money for those who reach the last matches of a tournament are higher. The number of tournaments players are forced to play at on four continents is higher. AO used to be skipped by many often, for example. So here there are further pressures to be in great shape.

Three. There seem to be many more very tall players reaching deep into tournaments, forcing the average height players to deal with them too. Nutrition would be one factor: there are taller people in many countries than there were two generations ago. And again, money, international interest, training methods etc mean that those players who in the past would have been too tall to be good enough today have a much better chance to get close to the top levels of playing.

Four. The biology / psychology of performance. I mean that biology and psychology that have nothing to do with modern changes. But that I think kicks in more often because the game demands that much more physicality. I think that this is the factor not written about because perhaps not so well known. I thought about this after I read Rafa?s autobiography and read the chapter about how he managed to find the ability to play well and last at the AO final where he beat Roger (2009, no?)? after that monster marathon in the semi-finals less than 48 hours before. He quotes the essence of the pep talk uncle Tony gave him. I thought back to a documentary that has been on my mind often. It dealt with a skinny teenager who, in the heat of the crisis, had lifted a car to save a family member, his uncle I believe. They explained that chimps and gorillas and other animals have no restriction in their brain to use any amount of the power of their muscles in everyday situations. But humans are very different here. Under most circumstances we only use up to I believe it was something like ten percent of the power in our muscles. My guess is that this is because we have evolved to survive much more due to our human intelligence than through sheer power and speed to run away from a predator. And that our brain to do all the thinking (in the background, not the conscious sloppy thinking we do most of the time) takes a huge amount of energy and nutrition all day long. And so the brain has adopted this restriction as a terrific compromise for survival. However, under life threatening conditions and the like this brain restriction gets over-ridden. Mothers have been known to lift car to save their child. In the documentary they brought that teenager into a gym. They made him lie on a bench and asked him to bench press a barbell with weights. But they tricked him. The coach lowered a barbell onto his hands with much, much greater weights than the teenager could normally lift or was expecting. On camera we saw how the teenager, with no warning, did press back and held up those weights. The explanation they offered is that this over-ride kicked in so the barbell would not crush him.

Sorry to be so long-winded. I have not the time to go back and make this as short as possible lol. My point is that I think that top athletes train for years to eke out all the performance they can out of their body and mind. They push up that line past which their brain does not want to let them go. But in the most important meets in their careers (e.g. at the Olympics, or at a very important semi-final or final, they find themselves sometimes reaching levels of competence that seem impossible. Like Nadal at that AO final ? in part due to the rousing pep talk. Or name any number of other startling marathon performance by the top guys. (And girls?)

chlorostoma , 10/31/12 2:58 PM


chlorostoma - the voice of reason. Thanks for another thoughtful analysis. Refreshing to read your theory backed by sound arguments after the waffle that has gone on based on internet gossip.

ed251137 , 10/31/12 3:17 PM


thank you ed,

I wish I had found the words to say all that more briefly and still say the most important stuff :-).

chlorostoma , 10/31/12 8:25 PM


chlorostoma,

Thank you again for a reasonable, substantive analysis in your latest post! It was a pleasure to read! I think you brought up some excellent points that have been ignored in this rush to paint all players with the same brush. You reminded all of us of the potential of the human mind and body. How athletes spend years training to achieve maximum physical and mental fitness.

I really appreciated your thoughts on Rafa's courageous and gutsy performance in that 2009 AO final. It might be convenient for some to attribute his incomparable ability to come back after the marathon match with Verdasco in the semifinas, to artificial substances. However, I think you have hit on how he was able to get through that final.

I think there is this phenomenon of mind over matter. Rafa admitted to being dizzy because he was so tired from the semifinal. I think he dug deep inside himself and found a perseverance and will that even he might not have known existed. I think he pushed his body beyond its limits. Also, we should remember that he was hurting in the final. There was a point, I don't remember if it was the second or third set, but he started to look stiff in his movement. He did call for the trainer, but didn't take a MTO. I remember the trainer massaging his right thigh. I don't recall if he called for the trainer more than once.

We know that when Rafa did play in Rotterdam a week later, he ended up playing the final essentially on one leg. He did suffer the cost of playing those two five set matches back-to-back at the AO.

I think adrenaline kicks in at crucial times in our lives. You mentioned when people have to save their loved ones. I think adrenaline was part of what got Rafa through that match. I just wish we could believe more in the power of humans to do extraordinary things without using artificial substances.

I honestly cannot say it any better than you did.

I appreciate your thoughtful, insightful perspective on an issue that has been rife with gossip, innuendo and rank speculation.

Nativenewyorker , 10/31/12 8:51 PM


The problem with this subject being discussed against the background of the Armstrong case is many people assume there is an analogy between cycling and tennis and that a high level of performance is ipso facto proof of doping. That, as I have said before, is exactly what Blake intended by speaking out when he did.

It is insulting to all players, men and women, who have achieved their level of success without resorting to doping, to suggest it is due to anything other than natural talent combined with dedication and years of hard work.

ed251137 , 10/31/12 10:47 PM


As always, another awesome article by Tiggy. I couldn't agree more...

http://tinyurl.com/a3rcp2u

Choice quotes...

As has been noted many times, the role of the International Cycling Union in testing its own riders is a conflicted one. It polices the sport it promotes. The same is true for tennis. It?s better to have the ITF do it than the tours themselves, but the ITF?s mandate is to grow the game around the world, while at the same time exposing cheaters at the pro level. That's never going to be an ideal blend of missions.

It wasn?t improved training or skill that won Armstrong those titles; it was improved drug taking. Some have argued that hiring a better doctor is not much different than hiring a better coach or trainer. But the job of a coach or trainer is to get the most out of your natural abilities. Doping changes your nature, what?s in your blood, artificially. You get more stamina simply by injecting it.

#ConflictOfInterest
#YouDoNotWantToBelieve
#TheTruthIsOutTher e
#Humble

Conspirator , 11/2/12 6:08 PM


^^^^yes, I read that article by Tiggy and I said the same thing about Armstrong: that it was the drugs that won him the 7 TDFs, that he was a mediocre rider before he fell ill and came back to become untouchable. Ricky argued otherwise.

Tiggy's spot on...............

rafaisthebest , 11/2/12 6:32 PM


Way back in the 90s Courier suspected blood doping and growth hormone to be most in use in tennis. But the ITF, the media and Fed fans pretend that it is only muscle building PEds that are in use in tennis.
As per Scientists, for any activity that lasts for more than 45 secs, an athlete can benefit by blood doping. Tennis lasts for hours.
The introduction of the bio passport ( to detect blood doping) by the cycling union resulted in a drop in performance among top cyclists clearly indicating that all of them were doping. Why would tennis stars be more ethical than cyclists? It is obvious that blood doping would be in use in tennis too.
Why when Rafa rose, suspicions of doping were hurled at him but when Djokovic suddenly discovered great stamina in 2011, no allegations were hurled? Would it be because it might put Fed too under suspicion as he suddenly discovered great stamina from 2003?
If ITF is concealing any positive tests, we can guess whose tests they would conceal.
But frankly, I doubt they are concealing any positive tests. They are rarely doing any out of competition tests. They are not testing aggressively for blood doping and not testing at all for growth hormone.

holdserve , 11/4/12 5:48 AM


ed and RITB. Really interesting interview with Wiggo:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/nov/02/bradley-wiggins-in terview-tour
He talks about drugs/Armstrong but also about the pressures on himself and his family, that winning has brought.

deuce , 11/4/12 7:34 PM


"Why when Rafa rose, suspicions of doping were hurled at him but when Djokovic suddenly discovered great stamina in 2011, no allegations were hurled?"
@ holdserve

There were many media outlets in North America that were suspicious of Nole's out of this world success... You're meaning to tell me, because he started "eating right" and "sleeping well" that he's now as great as he is? What the hell is he eating... or what was he eating before? I will hold my thoughts on him until his career is over, but there's more to his story than what is shown by his team...

aegis , 11/4/12 9:16 PM


As expected any how, once again Fed leads the way in voicing his concerns...
"Federer also spoke about doping tests, saying he has been tested less frequently in recent years.

He said he would welcome more.

?I don?t like it when I?m only getting tested, whatever number it is, which I don?t think is enough, sufficient during the year. So I think we should up it a little bit,? Federer said. ?I think it?s key and vital the sport stays clean. It?s got to.?

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/11/04/atp-finals-win-would -mean-something-more-roger-federer-says/

aegis , 11/4/12 11:09 PM


ITF is focusing on muscle building steroids and recreational drugs.
Not on blood doping , tests for which they carry out in a lackadaisical manner. Rarely are out of competition tests done (and even then only urine tests are done for people training in out of the way places), no physcal searches of the players' private facilities to find tell tale signs of syringes, labels etc which cycling union used to do, nor introduction of bio passport which cycling union has done. So blood dopers who are doping with their own blood are practically above detection.
As for aging stars who might be using HGH, they are perfectly safe as ITF is not testing for it. This despite the fact that Wayne Odesnik was caught with a haul two years ago clearly signalling its use in tennis.
ITF has an excuse, of course. There are no tests for HGH if it was used more than 21 days ago and even within 21 days it is probably of doubtful use.
When people dope with something which is naturally found in the body, it is a challenge to detect it. But making physical searches, tracking down sources of supply etc should help. Sadly ITF is not doing anything. No will to catch cheaters lest they land somebody they do not want to catch?

holdserve , 11/4/12 11:25 PM


Deuce: I read the article. Dont you just love that man? Cant wait to get my hands on his biography. Sadly after the expose of Armstrong every man that gets on a racing bike has come under suspicion but I'd wager all the tea in china that Wiggo wouldn't stoop to doping.

ed251137 , 11/5/12 1:21 AM


Thanks deucy, Wiggo is da man! Pity he may not defend his TDF win next year to concentrate on the Italian and Spanish Tours. Look, cycling as a sport is an enigma, you either love it or hate it. It will weather the current storm. Cycling is infinitely more demanding physically and mentally than say, golf, but cyclists are paid a pittance comparatively. Cyclists are the epitome of suffering. No namby-pamby divas there!

rafaisthebest , 11/5/12 5:54 AM


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/rogerfederer/9654687/Roger-Fed erer-wants-to-be-drug-tested-more-often-as-worries-mount-over-anti-dop ing-programme-in-tennis.html

Choice quotes:

"

?I feel I am being tested less now than six or seven years ago,? said Federer, who will open his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals campaign on Tuesday afternoon against Janko Tipsarevic, of Serbia.

Federer did not have the exact statistics of his own tests to hand, but ITF documents show that he was tested between five and nine times in 2011. The equivalent ? if somewhat vague ? figure from 2010 was ?more than eight?.

?Whatever number it is, I do not think it is enough,? Federer said. ?I think they should up it a little bit, or a lot. It is vital that the sport stays clean. We have had a good history in terms of that and we want to ensure it stays that way.?

Why is Fed telling us all this now? Oh, I know: because Muzza voiced his concerns and Fed now wants to take all the credit and glory, as usual.........

The man is a true douchebag......

rafaisthebest , 11/5/12 6:32 AM


ed and RITB: glad u enjoyed that article. I love Wiggo too, so modest, hard working, grounded, heck I'm running out of adjectives. Interesting what he said about Armstrong too- intimidating, surrounded by a huge entourage, travelling everywhere by limo, so different from himself.

deuce , 11/5/12 7:44 AM


Deucy, I was drawn to cycling and the TDF by Armstrong and his TDF feats. However, I never liked him, never loved him because of the way he treated others....., prefer humility to arrogance meself.

Hope now you understand my love for certain tennis stars and revulsion at others......

rafaisthebest , 11/5/12 8:03 AM


@ 6.32am
Back in the 80s there was a brilliant series of Fly-on-the-Wall documentaries by Roger Graef entitled 'The Space Between The Words'.

I rest my case.

#WeazelWords

ed251137 , 11/5/12 8:37 AM


___ITF documents show that he [Federer] was tested between five and nine times in 2011. "Whatever number it is, I do not think it is enough," Federer said___

Fed is correct. ITF documents show that in 2011 Fed was tested fewer times than Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafa:
Novak Djokovic - 10+ times
Roger Federer - 5 - 9 times
Andy Murray - 10+ times
Rafa Nadal - 10+ times

I am wondering, why Fed was not tested enough.

Augustina08 , 11/5/12 9:22 AM


Clearly the PR machinery stepped up a gear and recommended words from the horse's mouth were required.

ed251137 , 11/5/12 9:36 AM


So why didn't Fed run off to complain to the ITF that they were not testing him enough?

rafaisthebest , 11/5/12 10:37 AM



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22 Sep
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Malaysia, Malaysia

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