Thursday, July 5, 2012

Panic on the Grass Court

Serena Williams has won reached the Wimbledon final (singles and doubles). She defeated Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals. She defeated will play Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. I wonder how Azarenka and Radwanska feel about the fact that Serena was tested exactly zero times out-of-competition by the ITF in 2011 and 2010. Also, Serena was not tested by the USADA for both 2011 and 2010. Both Azarenka and Radwanska were tested out of competition by the ITF in both 2011 and 2010.

When the ITF tried to test Serena out of competition in October 2011, she fled to her panic room. It was reported that the doping control officer had been mistaken for an "intruder." And, as the statistics noted above indicate, she did not give a sample after leaving the panic room. No information has been disclosed regarding why no sample was collected. However, according to the ITF's anti-doping code (Section 2.3) the following is an anti-doping rule violation: "Refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to Sample collection after notification of Testing as authorised in applicable anti-doping rules, or otherwise evading Sample collection."

When the "panic room" incident was reported last year, I asked the ITF about it (back when they still responded to my e-mails). This was their response:
The ITF, with the responsibility for managing the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme on behalf of the Grand Slams, ATP and WTA and ITF, has a duty of confidentiality and will not comment on any case unless and until there is a decision that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed, in which case the decision is published in accordance with the requirements of the WADA Code. Please take this as clarification of our position for the future.
Clearly, Serena wasn't found to have committed an anti-doping violation. But, what happened? Why was no sample collected?

What were the results of the ITF's review of the case? Was the doping control officer at fault? Was the event treated as a "missed test"? If not, is it fair to other players on the tour that it appears some players can avoid the "inconvenience" of out of competition testing with seemingly no consequences?

If you were on the professional tennis tour, would the facts above give you more or less confidence in the tennis anti-doping programme?

Let me leave you with this thought: What would the media reaction have been if Serena was a cyclist rather than a tennis player?

93 comments:

  1. Okay, this is off-topic. Citing tendonitis in his knee, Nadal has pulled out of a charity even with Djokovic...""I saw the doctors on Monday and began the recovery process to be fit to represent Spain in the London Olympics."
    http://alturl.com/ntq8b

    so, too birds with one stone; 1. an explanation for his Loss at W. 2. Medical exemption for "treatment."

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    1. Can't see why Nadal would be juicing so close to the Olympics where there will be real dope testing and no favoritism shown for tennis players.

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    2. Olympic testing will likely use exactly the same test distribution as the ITF.

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    3. What you are missing is the *perception* among the players that there is more to worry about re Olympic testing....and the disaster a positive test while representing one's country would bring any of the top players. It would destroy the careers of any one of them.

      So they are being ultra-careful right now, most of them.

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  2. I am wondering if somehow Serena's recent complaint about security at Wimbledon is an attempt to get out of a drug test at some point.

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    1. It's just too bad she's so popular that it's a risk playing on Court 2. I mean, it's not like any other past champions who were popular have ever had to play on Court 2. Oh wait, Bastl anybody?

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    2. http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/news.aspx?articleid=18563&zoneid=25

      Serena added that she was not scared. "Nobody's going to knock me over for real," she said with a laugh. "I'd like to see that happen. You guys know how I can get. Maybe that's why I got on Court 2, because they knew I could back myself up. When it boils down, I guess I really didn't need it."

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  3. True, it could just be her way of whining about being on Court 2.

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  4. Serena is a big star, simple as that. If this was a lesser-known player, they wouldn't have gotten away with it.

    Tennis, especially women's tennis, would be in big trouble if it was ever revealed Serena has tested positive. It's a joke of course, but as we all know, the big names are protected while they go after the little fish and then claim the sport is "clean."

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  5. Speaking of women's tennis, this post from BBC's Fed/Djok match:

    Tomasz Wiktorowski, Agnieszka Radwanska's coach, has been talking to BBC Radio 5 live about her illness: "She's still sick, we're trying to do the best to bring her back to health for the match.

    "As you know what can we do? With the anti-doping policy we have to obey all the rules. We can't use all the medications in the shops. We can just use garlic, hot tea with honey, aspirin...nothing else.

    How do you say "What a crock of shit!" in Polish???

    Amazing...

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    1. In fairness, there are limits on the cold medications the players can take. When I have a cold, I only want Sudafed, and that's banned. There are alternatives, but it dries you up better than any of the others.

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  6. Djokovic is obviously not juicing because of the proximity of the Olympics and real dope testing. And off the juice today, he looked like the old Djoker who always lost to Federer and Nadal in big matches. He had none of the ultra-confidence shown in his doped-up 2011 superman campaign.

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    1. What makes Olympic testing more "real" than the ITF's testing? They will likely use the same loser-targeted testing plan. And players will only be tested during the Olympics.

      There's more than enough time between now and the Games for dopers (whoever they may be) to boost.

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    2. And Nadal obviously isn't juicing because of the proximity to the Olympics. And off the juice last week, he looked like the old Nadull at tournaments during cycle-down time who loses to chumps. He had none of the ultra-confidence shown in his doped-up superhuman French Open campaign...

      Welcome back, BOREMAN and incarnations!

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    3. There's more paranoia among the players about the testing in the Olympics....a positive test is unlikely to be covered up as it would be for the top players by the ITF.....and testing positive while playing for your country .... for someone who is a national hero like the Djuicer, whose face is on the Serbian money, that is unthinkable.

      So there is more care being taken right now by many of the top players. You saw the strangely subdued performances by Djuicer and Nadal....

      Novak Djuiceovic minus his Djuice is just an old Djoker.

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    4. GutterDandy,

      Fair enough. I'll grant you that the Olympics has thrown a complication into the doping regimes of any dopers out there. Plus, we have the UKAD pledge to test player while they're in the UK before the Games start. So, if a player was targeting the Olympics, they could potentially be cycling down during Wimbledon, before doing a boosting micro-cycle before the Olympics.

      It will be interesting to see if there are any significant changes in performances during the Olympics versus Wimbledon.

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    5. Why do some players' chins grow in adulthood - viz. Djokovic, Mary Pierce, Samantha Stosur, Amelie Mauresmo, Serena Williams?

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  7. So, let's get this straight:

    Playing in the men's final: Andy "That is snitching" Murray

    Playing in the women's final: Serena "Panic Room" Williams

    This is tennis.

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  8. Nadal and Djokovic are both still juicing, but I think neither one of them is at 100% at the moment.

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    1. They weren't juicing during Wimby....suddenly Djuicer became the old Djoker again....losing his confidence, huffing and puffing after long rallies...all things that wouldn't have happened in the DJUICE TOUR OF 2011.

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    2. well, it sure hasn't incited "paranoia" in Murray (or Ferrer, but I'm not sure if Ferrer is representing Spain in the Oly's?). All fortnight Murray has been ripping 130+ mph serves (with a dreadfully inefficient service technique - half the time he looks like someone is pushing him in the back while he's serving) and getting his racket on just about every ball that finds his side of the net and powering it back on the stretch a la Nadalkovic (clever, huh?) A two-handed BH is supposed to be a liability on grass but it isn't for them. Today Djokoivic's FH was sketchy, at best, and similar to last year's French against Federer he looked like he was very unsure of his footing and was slipping and struggling to change directions when stretched wide. Again, like last year's French Federer probably is incapable of hitting the ball any cleaner or placing his serves any better. His UE count today was the insanely low, which generally shows he doesn't have to go for as much on grass as he does on clay or slow hardcourts. They played the first 2 sets in 56 minutes today which is staggering, even on grass and the attrition-and-rhythm style tennis just doesn't seem to work as well against Federer on faster surfaces. He just won't let rallies go long enough and he's aggressive from the first ball. If his level had dropped even slightly Djokovic probably would have won again and we'd be watching a 5-hour grass final between Murrovic (clever again, huh) and Murrovic, which sounds like a law firm that represents accused dopers. By the same token if Rosol's shots had gotten just slightly more wayward (like they did against Kohlschreiber) we would have been looking at a 5 hour SF between Nadal and Murray and another 5 hour final and there'd be no talk of those guys going juice-less at Wimbledon. A fantastically-played offensive assault can negate doping on fast surfaces but FEW people can pull it off. Federer is one and it will be interesting to see if he can do it twice in 3 days and Rosol did it in a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

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    3. So if that's what Nadal looks like when he's juicing but just not "at 100%" I'd love to see what he would look like clean. Imagine how many grand slams Federer would have won if Nadal had never burst onto the scene. Nadal would have been an ok top 50 player but that's all.

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    4. Agree with GutterDandy. For some reason, Novak and Rafa were not allowed to dope. Had Rafa been doping, there is no way that he loses to Rosol. Had Novak been doping, there is no way that Federer could take him in five sets.

      Doping did take place at WImbledon though in several early matches. Bellucci was surely doping against Nadal. I've watched that match several times and all of the doping elements were there. I don't blame Bellucci for doping against Nadal. How else could he compete with the guy who pisses in gas tanks and turns a Land Rover into a formula one race car? Of course Nadal took his doses and easily overcame a double break. Only those with access to the best doping doctors in the world can outdope Nadal.

      I am thankful that the Brits did stop the dope fest when they did. It was nice to see a dope free Grand Slam final for a change.

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    5. LOL man I love this website too funny, yet so true! Serena 'Panic Room' Williams! Djuice Tour 2011 ahah lol! It feels a bit like the behind the scenes around here. And we have got the news/jokes before everyone else.
      And this post is a gem. No but really, it's better to laugh about it :(

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  9. Here is a great article, featuring Dr. Michael Ashenden discussing part of the USADA's case against Lance Armstrong: http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/07/news/ashenden-understanding-usadas-armstrong-charges_227833

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    1. I'd love to find out how many Livestrongers would be able to read past the first couple paragraphs of that piece. The truth has them pooping in their yellow biker shorts and they don't want to hear it. They don't want to be hit with logic or facts and it's impossible to turn that article into a "jealousy-driven attack on Lance Armstrong."

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  10. No open thread for the women's championship?

    Radwanska is absolutely powerless so far against the doping Serena. It's like watching a hulk beat up a puny 99-pound weakling.

    Maybe the break to close the roof will help Radwanska out.

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    1. We usually pick up a lot a new readers during finals. So, I wanted the panic room story to be the first thing they saw.

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    2. Good idea, I probably should have realized that.

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  11. Anyone watching the Wimbledon Ladies final? What a joke. Serena basically gifted Aga the one game in set 1 just so the fans wouldn't be asking for their money back. This is a Grand Slam Final?? And Serena will also win the doubles. You gotta wonder how Serena fought back from the life threatening illness last year and is now about to win the most prestigious tournament out there. Is it just that the ladies field is so weak or is it something else?

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    1. I think it's both. Women's tennis is at its worst point in years, lots of chokers out on the tour. But I also think Serena is a massive doper.

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    2. But I've been reading here about how Djoker and Nadull have had to curtail their doping practices at Wimbledon because of the Olympics coming up and/or maybe more stringent testing at Wimby so why hasn't this affected Serena?

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    3. There's the arrogance factor. Besides, the Olympics is three weeks away. Serena (and Nadal, Djokovic and other dopers) really have nothing to fear by doping here. Even if did test positive, it would have been hushed up anyway.

      If their perception is that Olympic drug testing will be stronger, they just won't dope for the Olympics. I wouldn't think it would affect their Wimbledon run. We'll see what happens during the Olympics.

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    4. Something looks wrong. How is Serena so huge?!? I hope a serious expose book is written and Serena is outed as a steroid user / doper.

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    5. Nothing will come out about Serena, Nadal, Djokovic and others unless they are caught by an independent, super-tough drug agency that doesn't answer to the ITF/ATP/WTA or hide the results or else they are outed as drug users by a whistleblower.

      Most likely, like with Agassi and others, the information about any drug use won't be revealed until long after they retired when few people care anymore.

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  12. Well color me shocked - Radwanska took the second set. Serena was an utter mess that set.

    Maybe Radwanska got a little extra "assistance" during the break? Yeah, I'm cynical, can't help it. Look at the blog we're on lol.

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  13. I guess i spoke too soon. But I've no doubt Serena's still going to win it despite the dip in the second set. If her serve isn't on she's a little vulnerable and Radwanska took full advantage.

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    1. Serena just hit 4 aces in a row her last service game. It was comical to watch.

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    2. I fell asleep and missed it. Seriously. LOL. I hope Serena thanks her doctors and the pharmaceutical companies in her speech.

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    3. She now has more aces than anyone else in the tournament, men or women. Yet, once again, no one questions her power. It's becoming farcical now. She had 102 aces this tournament, Kohlschreiber has the most on the men's side with 98.

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    4. She did thank Jehovah, though. Are Witnesses exempt from blood testing?

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  14. I love how Radwanska did not acknowledge Serena at all in her on-court interview.

    I also love Navratelova's smirk at the end of the match.

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    1. i didn't watch the end of this...can you tell me more about nav's smirk...she is another one of the serena overpraisers...

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    2. yeah i noticed Navratilova's smirk at the end too. Quite telling I thought.
      Also what was with the BBC coverage? it was so incredibly biased towards serena. the whole build up to it and during the match, even when Radwanska was pulling away in the second set, was so dismissive and patronizing towards Radwanska. McEnroe and Davenport were going on and on about how great serena was to come back after "everything", but of course never got to the parts about the mystery foot injury and everything, and the whole panic room incident and the lack of a test thereafter. Also Everett being interviewed was puke inducing, I never realized how infatuated she was with serena.
      But I think the look on Radwanska's face after it said it all really. She knows the most likely reason why she had to lose. I liked the fact that she didn't congratulate serena but wish she would have said something more pointed or some kind of loaded statement. That would have been pretty sweet, but I'm sure that too would have gone unnoticed by practically everyone there.
      I'm just hoping someone out there can say something that's close to the truth, instead of everything being brushed under the carpet as usual.
      I'll keep hoping :)

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  15. I don't blame Radwankska for crying.

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  16. I am so glad I'm not playing Serena in the final tomorrow. She would kick my ass so badly, it would be so embarrassing!

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    1. Aww Andy that's ok. Fed will probably kick your ass anyway!:)

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  17. Great! Now everyone is falling head over heals to congratulate Serena on her miraculous, death defying comeback. But I am still curious as to what brought her so close to death. How did she cut her foot stepping on a piece of glass, why did she not sue that restaurant or at least name it, what kind of treatment she took, how did such a seemingly small injury(as evidenced by pictures of a tiny band aid on her foot) balloon into a life threatening crisis, what was the "panic" about?

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  18. The boards at ESPN apparently don't allow facts anymore. It's okay for people to shout back and forth, but it's against the rules to state the facts of the Panic Room incident.

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    1. Are you really surprised that ESPN is censoring their message boards?

      I can't even find an ESPN story on the panic room incident at all on the web! Did they bother to cover it at all?

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    2. ESPN never reported the panic room story. And ESPN is one of the worst websites in terms of not allowing any discussion about doping.

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    3. They're too busy slandering Jim Boeheim.

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    4. The ESPN boards have always been horribly moderated, and especially the tennis one. It appears that any post that is reported is simply deleted, presumably by interns who are monitoring the complaints and deleting every reported post just so that it appears they are doing something.

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    5. Don't forget, it is an offence to make a false report to the police in most jurisdictions. If the police were called to deliberately thwart an anti-doping officer, then the police were being misused in a cynical and mischievous way. A police force is funded by taxpayers to uphold the law and protect public safety and is not to be trifled with.

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    6. it would be nice to have the following simple question asked:

      Serena, do you have a security camera at your home?

      I'd bet dollars to donuts she has a security camera that monitors her front door and that she was able to see who was at the door. Rich people like that always have security systems with cameras.

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  19. Race car drivers are doping but not anyone in tennis for any reason....

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/nascar/story/2012-07-07/AJ-Allmendinger-NASCAR-positive-test/56085712/1

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  20. What a day for Serena Williams and what a comeback! Both the singles and doubles Wimbledon titles. That's incredible. Good thing for the rest of the pack she didn't play mixed doubles. Can't wait for the Dopymics!

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  21. I thought I would also point out that some potential side effects of blood doping are heart attack, stroke, and PULMONARY EMBOLISM.

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    1. Why are you such a hater????

      Seriously, imagine if Radwanska had pulled a panic room, gone 2+ years without and out of competition test, and won today...I think the American media would have gone completely ballistic. Instead, we got a bunch jingoistic garbage.

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    2. I'm not sure if you had to suffer through the ESPN broadcast, but commentary by Chris Evert is painful to endure.

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    3. I agree. She was soooooo over the top today with her never-ending praise of Serena it was almost laughable and certainly bucket-worthy. But most of the ex-players who commentate are a joke. Darren Cahill is the only exception IMV.

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    4. Chris Evert makes me miss Mary Carillo.

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  22. I think the most incredible thing about the panic room story isn't that Serena refused a test, it's that the authorities covered it up.

    For years I've felt the majority of professional athletes are using steroids but that they were just beating the testers. They're using masking agents or cycling off or whatever. But perhaps the truth is that the testers aren't as clueless as they seem to be. How many athletes have tested positive and the sports federations cover it up to preserve the reputation of their sport?

    And if this is going on then it completely puts a lie to the defenders of these athletes who say "but they never tested positive"!

    Seems like the rabbit hole goes much deeper than I previously realized.

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  23. I'd like to add that I've been able to drum up, in my opinion, some substantial support from members of the cycling community lately via twitter:

    Gerald Vroomen:
    https://twitter.com/gerardvroomen/status/221219731825369088
    https://twitter.com/gerardvroomen/status/221219179167088640

    Shane Stokes:
    https://twitter.com/SSbike/status/218264646572978176

    NYVelocity:
    https://twitter.com/nyvelocity/status/213645214005465089

    Joe Papp:
    https://twitter.com/joepabike/status/213387377182388227

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    1. Nice work Sen, it is very interesting to see that even cyclists think tennis is a lot murkier than tennis likes to claim.

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    2. Thanks. It's been gratifying to get such public support for them. At this point, I think I have more cycling followers than tennis follower on the twitter account.

      My view is that many in cycling are getting tired of other sports with weak anti-doping programs receiving a free ride while cycling, which arguably has the most stringent testing in sports and fierce media scrutiny, gets slammed all the time for having a doping problem.

      Hopefully, this will catch the interest of some journalists.

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    3. Yes agreed.

      No one doubts there is doping in cycling, but if I'm a cyclist, I'm ticked off that everyone keeps pissing on my sport as a "dirty" sport while other sports who have major questions about their doping problems fly under the radar with little to no media coverage (*cough*tennis*cough*).

      Track and field is just as dirty as cycling with all the positive test results, but T&R rarely gets the kind of bad press cycling gets.

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  24. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FnBi__R4Fs

    I guess this behaviour gave him the Stefan Edberg award

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    1. Who's the bigger crybaby - Nadal or Murray?

      I really hope Federer wins tomorrow for the sole reason that means whiner and doper-friendly Murray doesn't.

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  25. First time poster, long time reader - hello everyone!

    I've long been interested in doping in sport but started to research it more after the Floyd Landis TDF debacle. The more I read, the more it seems that doping is almost ubiquitous in top level sport and the more my partner gets sick of my going on about it to anyone who'll listen.

    It's Wimbledon final today and I'll be supporting Murray, fully aware that it's quite likely possible he has doped/ is doping though it may never be proven either way. I could be completely wrong but my trust has been broken before. Regardless, I still find it quite remarkable that a young man from Dunblane, Scotland has worked his way to four grand slam finals/ the top level of any sport. Our infrastructure and elite sports development is almost non existent (just look at our football/ soccer team - 5-1 losers to the USA last time out - for evidence of that).

    There's one thing that doesn't sit right with me in the above discussion. Roger Federer has dominated tennis in the era of the super doper and yet people seem to think that he's clean. Yes, he is unbelievably technically gifted, but if we agree that the effect of doping is as powerful and is a ubiquitous as we claim here and to anyone who'll listen, how would that domination actually be possible? We all saw how fresh he looked in comparison to Bennetau in that fifth set. To my mind, if we're making the argument that doping is rife, it's every bit as likely that RF has doped as anyone else out there. I recall Murray's coach as a teenager saying some time ago he was by far and away the most gifted player he'd ever come across.

    And so it comes to this, the more I read about doping in tennis/ golf/ football etc., the less I think of it as a black and white moral issue. Imagine growing up with all that talent and having never known or dreamed about doing anything other than tennis or your chosen sport. You come through the juniors and then realise that the only way you can compete with what is already out there is on their terms. The pressure to conform must be overwhelming. Morally, it's an incredibly grey area for the young athlete. Rather, I look to the pressure exerted by the teams and the money men around them.

    When we single out one tennis player over another based on whether we believe one has/ hasn't doped, I feel we do the intelligence of the debate here a huge disservice.

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    1. There are lots of good points here.

      I'm entirely open to the possibility of Fed doping. To me, everyone is a potential doper, even Federer. I know it's sad and cynical, but that's how I've become after all the doping nonsense that has gone on.

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    2. I am aware that I am in the minority here, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were to be revealed that Federer dopes. Anyone at the top of the game has to be looked at with a suspicious eye IMO.

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    3. In the absence of transparency on the part of ITF, we can only speculate. In a lacking testing regime, any dominance is suspicious. So Federer fits the profile of a potential doper. On the other hand, he's one of the very few who spoke in favor of a strict testing system unlike the whiners (Murray, Nadal, the Williames, and others).
      He stayed out of the row over the long season.
      No dubious injuries (my left knee, no my right knee), more dubious explanations (gluten made me suck)
      No freak stories (panic rooms, stepping on glass)
      No bodybuilders physique (laughing makes me fit)

      Again all of this sounds circumstantial and unsubstantiated but without hard evidence allowed by a transparent testing system, what else do we have but intelligent investigation (what SNR has been doing here) and connecting the dots.

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    4. If you're open to the possibility that a certain athlete is doping,then you have to be open to the possibility that any single could be doping
      I have always kept an open mind about Roger,I believe he is clean but if hypothetically he was exposed as a drugs cheat in the future,considering the severity of the problem within the sport,I wouldn't at all be surprised
      The major plus going in favour of Roger being clean is that dopers cannot be consistent,because you have the cycle down too.You cant take the drugs all the time,especially steroids,its too dangerous and the drugs won't work.The longer the break between cycles the more effective the drug is when you cycle up again
      Roger has been way too consistent throughout his career,during his prime he was winning all the time throughout the season,his decline has been incredibly consistent too
      Today was proof that his shot making ability is a phenomenon never seen in the sport before,his game won't benefit much from using PED's

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  26. So far, Federer looking old and slow out there. Missing easy shots, his footwork is poor too.

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    1. Looked fresh as a daisy those last two sets :)

      As a fellow countryman, I can only empathise with Andy Murray - there hasn't, as far as I know been any cure invented yet for the Scottish psyche! Fear of winning is deeply ingrained but I for one hope he overcomes it...

      On an unrelated note, I see that Bradley Wiggins has gone on the offensive over allegations of doping following today's stage. He was quoted in full in the the first comment below the article here...

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/08/tour-de-france-bradley-wiggins-yellow-jersey

      ...but it has since been removed due to the industrial strength language used. It wasn't so long ago that he called dopers "bloody w*nkers" but now it's those who allege it...

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    2. Federer definitely looked much better the last two sets once the break came and the roof closed. Murray really should have gone up two sets to none then lost the plot.

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    3. Yep, Murray certainly had the momentum and opportunities in the second set - Roger was only just hanging in at points - but as a Scottish sports fan, I've seen it so many times before. We seem to excel when it comes to glorious failure... and again, I do think it's a rather cultural thing!

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    4. It was obvious from the outset that Murray won't last till the finish line. He started strong playing each point as if it were a match point and couldn't sustain the energy. He had the illusion that he was Nadal or Djokovic with their undying reserve of 'energy'.

      I really don't know about Federer. The stats are stacked against him. At the age of 30, he's past record-breaking prime. On the other hand, his game today was one of tactics over endurance. He reserved his energy for the key points and waited for Murray to collapse.

      Maybe it would have been best if Murray played the women's final and Serena the men's final. Then we'd have a fair match!

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    5. Tsonga said as much after the semi with Murray: that he had looked tired at the end of their match, and might struggle to recover in time for the final.

      I rather dismissed that at the time, as their match was only 2 hrs 47 minutes (although Murray's qf with Ferrer had been almost 4 hours). Perhaps we're rather conditioned by Djokovic and Nadal to expect players to just not be tired after long matches any more.

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    6. Maybe Murray's tougher run to the final told in the end..?

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  27. Here's Wiggins uncensored:http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/07/news/bradley-wiggins-has-a-few-choice-words-for-those-who-doubt-racing-can-be-clean_228247

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  28. Well while Federer was spectacular - and I say this with a deep sense of appreciation for the way he played, don't you think it isn't too far-fetched to think he may be on something? I'm saying this specifically because of how he moved - it was otherwordly and I'm not used to seeing many 30 year olds move so incredibly well.

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  29. Here come the attacks on Fed from the "first-time posters" who "have been following this blog for a while". If you so-called newbies have followed this blog, you must realize that this issue has been discussed at length (ie. you're not posting anything new), and it's the prevailing opinion that NOBODY, including Fed, is above suspicion for doping. That said, while legitimate arguments can be made for the case of Fed doping, the reason that Nadal, Serena, and Djokovic are far and away the most discussed is because they are, by their own actions, EMINENTLY more suspect.

    Let's cut to the chase, shall we? With the summits and troughs in play, dubious and unsubstantiated injuries, popeye arms without ever lifting a weight, fierce opposition to doping control, (need I go on?), do you agree that Nadal is eminently more suspect than Fed?

    Just say "yes, Nadal is the most suspect player out there," and we'll accept that you are all non-Boremans.

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    1. Well of course I agree. I am not particularly a fan of any player, although I prefer the Federer/Djokovic style of play but I find it a little hard to believe how good even Fed can be. We have seen great players previously who generally tend to burn out or lose that spring in their step when getting older but Federer yesterday was as good as new, very fresh and his footwork was outrageously good for most of the match.

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  30. Here is my take on the issue.
    Federer is and has always been in excellent shape. While there were always doubts about his abilities to last five sets, he has always sought to dispel them. He has always been ready for five sets. But I don't believe that means he's ready for five hours. He always knew that his chances of winning diminish in five-setters against the likes of Nadal. He knows he will have difficulties winning 4, 5 hour matches, and that's why he tries to keep them short. Yesterday during the final, I believe in the third set, he started noticeably reducing the length of the points, for fear, I believe, that this could be a long one, and he would then be at a disadvantage.

    Also, Federer has always gone for a style of play that tires the opponent purposefully. Left, right, short, back, etc. This just couldn't work against Nadal, who sent almost anything back, and who also knew how to exploit his weaker backhand side with his top top spin.
    At the same time, Federer doesn't go just after any ball, unless he thinks the point is really important.

    On indoor courts, where the wind cannot impact his play so much, all conditions are met for a good Federer game. Even when he was suffering from the opponent's game (first two sets against Benneteau and Murray), he did everything possible to tire them (as well as to win points, obviously). With Benneteau it showed clearly as working in the late stages of the match. Murray played strong until the end, but started making more errors. Don't know if he got tired, slightly injured, or started losing faith, despite the encouragements of the public.

    Federer us also a guy who always spoke about the importance of preserving strength for the later stages of a tournament. Together with his comments against doping, all this gives me enough hope he might still be clean.

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    1. R. Fed is clean. Problem is that he gets paid a lot of money and he will not ever call the dopers out. After all, he makes more than Dopervic or Nadal even if he loses to them. The Federer brand will always outsell the dopers. Deep down, I really believe that most people know the so called heroics of many top ATP players is doping but everyone loves a winner.

      Once people caught on to Dopervic being a doper (like I did) Novak's appeal outside of Serbia took a nosedive. Only a true non-doping tennis champion will be allowed to take Federer's place as the great Maestro once he retires. We all like winners but a true winner shouldn't have to dope.

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    2. Agreed, JMF, and also James10 - except that money can hardly be the factor. It's not as if Fed needs more of it. As many have pointed out over the past few years, he can't call them out because he would be dismissed as a sore loser (from Feb 2010 to last year's USO, bar the WTF and one or two others, and in many FO finals to boot). As President of the Players' Council inter alia, he would simply be crucified by the idiot media and the tennis supremos for bringing his sport into disrepute. Nor does Fed, or anyone else outside the inner Serenadovic and possibly ITF/ATP/WADA circles, have cast-iron proof, however much they might know. No-one does, which is why this blog exists in the first place. Fed himself said recently that it would be a disaster for tennis if a top player were found to be doping. As whoever quoted that said, it's as close as he can come to speaking the truth.

      But we've been here before, many times.

      And, sadly, most people don't seem to know that even the 6-hour slugfest heroics are doping. Every time I mention it to someone new, the eyebrows go up and the inevitable question comes: "But aren't they tested all the time?". Sigh.

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  31. Panic rooms and PMS..

    http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/usa/story/united-states-goalkeeper-hope-solo-tests-positive-for-banned-substance-for-us-anti-doping-agency-070912

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