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Breaking News: Hingis Drug Controversy 11/01/2007 - 1:27 PM

Hey everyone: I am posting the contents of an email statement I just received re. Martina Hingis's reported decision to retire from tennis:

November 01, 2007

Statement from Martina Hingis

Throughout my career, I have always been open and honest with you.

I have been accused by an outsource testing company of taking cocaine during the Championships at Wimbledon. I find this accusation so horrendous, so monstrous, that I have decided to confront it head-on by talking to the press.

My weapon on the tennis court is and always was one single thing: the game, the ingenuity on court. And for this style of tennis, there is only one performance enhancer – the love of the game.
They say that cocaine increases self-confidence and creates a type of euphoria. I don’t know. I only know that if I were to try to hit the ball while in any state of euphoria, it simply wouldn’t work. I would think that it would be impossible for anyone to maintain the coordination required to play top class tennis while under the influence of drugs. And I know one other thing – I would personally be terrified of taking drugs.

When I was informed that the A Test I took following my defeat at Wimbledon apparently came back positive for a cocaine metabolite, I was shocked and appalled.

Acting upon the advice of my family and my management, I immediately took the hair test which can prove whether or not someone has taken cocaine. This test of course produced a negative result, the same negative result as all the countless doping tests that I have taken over the last twelve years.
However, the B Test from Wimbledon once again produced the opposite result – positive for a metabolite that apparently stays in the system for some time following cocaine use.

I immediately retained an attorney. Anybody who even attempts to take on this doping machinery alone has no chance.

The attorney and his experts discovered various inconsistencies with the urine sample that was taken during Wimbledon. He is also convinced that the doping officials mishandled the process and would not be able to prove that the urine that was tested for cocaine actually came from me.

However, this attorney and others have also pointed out to me that a case like this one can sometimes take years to resolve, especially if both sides repeatedly appeal the case and take it to the next level.
And this is the reason for my announcement. I have no desire to spend the next several years of my life reduced to fighting against the doping officials.

I am frustrated and angry. I believe that I am absolutely, one hundred percent innocent. The fact is that it is more and more difficult for me, physically, to keep playing at the top of the game. And frankly, accusations such as these don’t exactly provide me with motivation to even make another attempt to do so. I attempted a comeback after a three-year break and succeeded in winning three tournaments, bringing my ranking to 6 in the world. But in the meantime, I’m now 27 years old, and realistically too old to play top class tennis.

So now I’m standing before you, confronting the situation. Today I also informed my sponsors.
And so, considering this situation, my age, and the problems I have been having with my hip, I have decided to no longer play tennis on the Tour.

Upon advice from my attorneys, I’m afraid I am unable to answer any questions. My answers could insult someone and create even more problems for me. Therefore, there is only one more thing for me to do - to thank all of you for many years of goodwill, and also to assure you:

I have never taken drugs.


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Posted by Lleytsie - Fan 11/01/2007 at 08:05 PM

yeah ... i dont even know what to say

match-fixing, now this - tennis needs a facelift

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2007 at 08:13 PM

Samantha: your 8:00pm really reads as a judgement that Hingis did indeed use drugs. Maybe that's not what you intended to say, but it's how I read it. Her statement is that she didn't.

Maybe "innocent til proven otherwise" is a a better road at this time.

Posted by Myskina+Trains=Tolstoy 11/01/2007 at 08:17 PM

Samantha, I don't think we need to reserve a bed for Martina at Promises. What I find most worrisome about this episode is the glaring disconnect between WTA and the companies it hires to administer drug tests. As someone said before, "who's running the show?"

Posted by T.G. Randini 11/01/2007 at 08:22 PM

She did it at Wimbledon because it's not as noticable when you're wearing the "tennis whites".

Posted by Samantha 11/01/2007 at 08:24 PM

Andrew it wasn't intended to be judgemental, but to be empathetic. I've already stated I believe she's guilty based upon the physical evidence of the positive urine test. I think she deserves nothing but sympathy, but yes I believe this is strong evidence. And what did the doctor say, "no doubt, she tested positive." You can believe someone is guilty and still feel very sorry for them. She hurt no one but herself, so yes I'm very sorry for her and I think the names people are calling her are wrong. When someone uses drugs, it's because they are in pain and want to drown out the pain with drug. I apologized for the mean thing I said about her game because when someone is down and she had to be to use drugs, you don't kick them and that's what people are doing to her.

Posted by Christopher 11/01/2007 at 08:43 PM

"You have to be in a really sad place in your life to use drugs."

"When someone uses drugs, it's because they are in pain and want to drown out the pain with drug."

With all due respect, Samantha, these generalizations are just factually wrong. Lots of people use drugs (including alcohol) for lots of different reasons. Let's not confuse a full-on heroin addiction with someone who smokes an occasional joint or even does an occasional line of coke when offered at a party. I'll certainly agree that someone who has a hardcore addiction is "in a really sad place," but this doesn't apply to everyone who has ever taken a drug. Are all the people on this site talking about their GE's just trying to drown out the pain of their meaningless lives? I don't think so. No one is claiming Martina has a regular coke habit. And it would be pretty hard, no, utterly impossible, to maintain such a habit while being a top player. 1) You wouldn't be a top player any more and 2) lots of other people would find out. So let's dial down the condescension towards Martina a few notches.

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2007 at 08:48 PM

"Drowning out the pain of..." er, got me there, chief.

It's a fair cop.

Posted by Samantha 11/01/2007 at 08:53 PM

Andrew, drowning out the pain of a bad breakup with her fiance, drowning out the pain of a career plagued by injuries. My mom watches this show on cable called addictions and everybody on there said they took drugs to get rid of the pain in their lives.

Posted by Ruth_yyz 11/01/2007 at 08:55 PM

how horrible. i'm not a hingis fan, not even close. but i can't bring myself to believe that she would do this. i hope all works out well for her.

Posted by Christopher 11/01/2007 at 09:04 PM

"My mom watches this show on cable called addictions and everybody on there said they took drugs to get rid of the pain in their lives."

Sorry, but again: no one is claiming Hingis has a drug addiction! We can see a difference between someone who might (!) have used a drug once or even on occasion and someone who has a true addiction. Samantha, do you consider anyone who has a beer or a glass of wine an alcoholic?

Posted by highpockets 11/01/2007 at 09:10 PM

Samantha, you are correct that some people use certain drugs to kill pain (psychic or otherwise).

However, many people started by using drugs recreationally to feel good or to fit in ... it's just that if you continue and become addicted, you're doing it just to feel normal. That's usually when the pain starts ... and the cycle repeats itself over and over again until something happens to get your attention.

Posted by Ginger 11/01/2007 at 09:12 PM

This is an absolutely horrible story. It took a long time for me to warm up to Martina the person. I have always been a huge fan of her game and the personality she showed when she came back made me a fan of Martina, the human being. Only she knows what she did BUT its really horrible to know that a couple of paragraphs (or a few words) are enough to shatter/destroy a lifetime of hard work and even more hard earned reputation. This reminds me of the absolute witchhunt that Richard Jewell, the security guard who reported a suspected package just before the bombing. He was cleared after it was found that Eric Rudolf was the real bomber. Sadly, Richard passed away this summer .. If your good name is destroyed, you can never get it back unless it can be proved that someone else did it. I feel terrible for her and her family and all of her fans. Sad day for tennis.

Posted by tina 11/01/2007 at 09:26 PM

Is her good name really destroyed though?

Posted by Pierre 11/01/2007 at 09:32 PM

Uhhh......Go Justine!

Posted by anonymous 11/01/2007 at 09:37 PM

"This reminds me of the absolute witchhunt that Richard Jewell, the security guard who reported a suspected package just before the bombing."

Thank you! I thought about that too. That's what I have against rampant speculation--our society has gotten to the point where many people think "where there's smoke there's fire." But we know nothing yet except what she's told us.

I won't like; my personal opinion is that the failed drug tests are going to be harder to argue against than something else (say, "lack of effort.") Still, she says she didn't do it, so I'm going to wait and see and see how this plays out. Besides the fact that she--and anyone else--deserves that, it's just irresponsible to jump to conclusions without having all the facts. In my opinion.

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2007 at 09:37 PM

The "got me there" response was to Christopher.

My life, is, in fact, only partly redeemed by the knowledge that a GE is around the corner...

[OK, enough channelling Bismarck - we Brits don't do Teutonic gloom. Stiff upper lip, or a stiff G-and-T is more our style].

Posted by RedClaw 11/01/2007 at 09:44 PM

Wow... I'm seconding Lucy on this - A very confusing day, and it's just nice to have some folks with whom to share that confusion.

Poor Chucky. :(
And poor Nikolay - He's a bit of a rude guy, but still... Sounds messy.
And Roger lost! I mean, go Nalby, but still. Weird day.

Posted by anonymous 11/01/2007 at 09:44 PM

And I here I thought I'd actually gotten through a post without a grammar problem. I won't LIE, not LIKE. I think it's time for bed...

Posted by CTU 11/01/2007 at 09:49 PM

I wonder why she came forward with it? Is she guilty of something worse? Because I hardly think that using cocaine would enhance anyone's performance on the court. Hey, if my opponent wants to snort a few lines before a match I'm all for it since he'll probably see 12 balls instead of one!

Posted by Sam 11/01/2007 at 09:59 PM

"Alcohol has always been my drug of choice."

Same here, Andrew.

Ginger: Yeah, that Richard Jewell situation was horrible. I didn't realize that he had passed away recently.

Pierre: LOL

Posted by P. 11/01/2007 at 10:14 PM

I'll try to put this in the most G-rated way possible:

There is some evidence that traces of cocaine can be passed on through unprotected intimate contact. Do we know if Stepanek was tested at the same event?

Posted by jbradhunter 11/01/2007 at 10:18 PM

he probably was p-- i think they test everyone at the GS tourneys

Posted by Erin 11/01/2007 at 10:21 PM

Posted by evie 11/01/2007 @ 2:00 PM

another disconcerting news from you Pete. Sorry if this is so ignorant but: Can someone ingest cocaine without knowing?"


Absolutely. Traces of cocaine could be put in your drink or food and you might not even know it. Or if you sipped somebody elses drink and they had cocaine in it, possibilities are endless. Some entertainers have been known to put cocaine in their alcoholic drinks to get higher, the alcohol taste would cover any taste of cocaine too so you wouldn't know it, if you didn't put it there.

Posted by TennisRone 11/01/2007 at 10:23 PM

Very bizarre day in tennis, everyone. What an odd way for Martina to go out. I, too, found the "I believe I am innocent" line a bit peculiar and not reassuring...but from a legal perspective, it's probably a prudent approach.

We all remember how emotional the Swiss Miss has been over the years. To me, I feel like she could just dismiss the results completely if she were not culpable at all. No one would have any reason not to believe her. But, then why the need to retire? Very strange. I mean...she probably wasn't going to be Top 10 anymore....but going out this way? Very odd.

Nalby did it again....amazing.

Koyla...not sure what to make of that. This guy could probably use a break. On Clement's comments...while I like to live in a naive world, I have to believe ALL WTA/ATP players at some point may have come in contact (most likely without soliciting) with some kind of gambling contact looking for some kind of arrangement to be made. It doesn't mean it actually happened. Burden of proof still lies with ATP/WTA ultimately.
Congrats to jbrad, as well.

Posted by jb 11/01/2007 at 10:25 PM

*waves at lleytsie-fan* where you been? what's up with Lleyton? he coming back next year at Oz - despite the ticker at the top?

Samantha - you're the perfect example of jumping to conclusions. You read an article and you have your 'evidence'. What you KNOW is from the statement that Hingis made and some other articles written by journalists. You don't know if in fact the samples were mishandled or mismarked, contaminated or whatever.

You've been given a sliver of information and have made up your mind.

So with that as just one example Tina - I'd say yes, Martina has been 'damaged'. There will be many more Samantha's out there than those who will wait to find out facts (if they even can). If it is proved out that Martina's innocent, Samantha is tuned in enough to tennis to become aware of it and fair enough to admit she was wrong. But there's an entire slew of people that will miss it entirely if Martina is 'cleared'.

Pfft. I need some tequilla!

Posted by jbradhunter 11/01/2007 at 10:29 PM

thanks tennisrone :)

Posted by TennisRone 11/01/2007 at 10:35 PM

It just seems odd to me that Martina reacted this passionately negative and decided to walk away. I guess she would have to defend herself to remain on Tour, which I imagine she wouldn't want to and I believe Tokyo Tom eloquently described the gain/loss situation.

It's ironic that a policy instituted to protect the integrity of the game could be bamboozled by the firms that actually perform the testing. The cat and mouse game between players and testers will always be going on. It seems to me like there should be some way to protect the players on the false positives.

Posted by Ryan 11/01/2007 at 10:35 PM


Hingis is human she's vulnerable too. I am not doubting that the tests are incorrect. I only feel bad for her - but this is really 2007; a pretty dismal year for her. It's the second career. Let's not put her too high on a pedestal, Hingas can make errors in judgement.

She can make mistakes, but it's noble how she chooses to stop the witch hunt now. Surely names and counter finger pointing in other types of drugs would've come up within the sport of tennis for years to come.

I'll choose to focus on her first career years - 1995 - 2002. Thanks Martina for the memories. I wish you the best of luck, and please return as a commentator. People will forgive your for a personal lapse of judgement.

Posted by JillfromNY 11/01/2007 at 11:40 PM

Chucky is going to end up sounding as nutty as Lance Armstrong. Yes, Lance, we all got the memo...you rode up all those mountains on water and Gatorade...rrrrrright.

Posted by Soothing 11/01/2007 at 11:54 PM

Very sad news about Hingis, I'm sure her colleagues are also reeling from this news. Frances, have to tell you post at 5:16 was hilarious, made my chaotic day:)

Posted by Soothing 11/01/2007 at 11:54 PM

Very sad news about Hingis, I'm sure her colleagues are also reeling from this news. Frances, have to tell you post at 5:16 was hilarious, made my chaotic day:)

Posted by ajv 11/02/2007 at 12:38 AM

What I find odd about her statement is this paragraph, where she tries to explain why she would not conceivably take cocaine. She says:

"My weapon on the tennis court is and always was one single thing: the game, the ingenuity on court. And for this style of tennis, there is only one performance enhancer – the love of the game. They say that cocaine increases self-confidence and creates a type of euphoria. I don’t know. I only know that if I were to try to hit the ball while in any state of euphoria, it simply wouldn’t work. I would think that it would be impossible for anyone to maintain the coordination required to play top class tennis while under the influence of drugs. And I know one other thing – I would personally be terrified of taking drugs."

Notice how her entire explantion, but for the catch-all at the end, rests on the argument that cocaine would not be of help to a player who plays her kind of game. She implies that the increase in self-confidence and euphoria associated with cocaine would only be seductive to a tennis player if they helped her tennis. Say what? Is she too naive to know that those effects could also be very useful to a tennis player hanging out with some friends at a club in London?

The underlying assumption is that a player like her (counting on brains and guile) would never take a drug like cocaine since such a drug would not be performance-enhancing. What she fails to address is the obvious point: the reason cocaine is banned has nothing (or perhaps only a little) to do with its "performance enhancing capabiilites" and everything to do with the fact that it's an addictive "recreational" drug. Your standard cocaine consumers would never chide someone for daring to think that they use the powder by arguing that they would only use drugs that allow them to enhance their performance. The obvious answer to such a defense would be as follows: no one is saying that coke fiends only use coke to run faster or jump higher; many, in fact just about all, use it on a recreational basis because they like the high.

I find FireKitten's very limited defense puzzling. On the one hand, it may simply reflect the Chuckster's unique mental approach to life. Although she is quick-witted and glib, her statements in the past, on many issues, have, how shall we say it, not always come across as reasoned, well thought out utterances. Maybe this is a case where her brain could only focus on the narrow issues in her narrow world (all about the tennis). Using this line of reasoning she gets a pass. It will stand in history as yet another Swiss Miss malaprop.

But if the statement is, as I suspect, the work of legal beagles (a breed I know only too well), it reeks of reaching for straws to defend a position her side acknowledges as too weak to permit use of anything stronger.

If the latter is in fact the case, I'm one of those sad to see Martina go out this way, but I disagree with those who have posted comments to the effect that her life has been ruined etc. Her life will only be ruined if she is stupid enough to be addicted to coke. Assuming she's not, she's had a magnificent career, made globs of money and friends, and has a long relaxing future ahead of her. One stupid mistake like this one does not ruin a life, or a career that had already put her in the Hall of Fame.


Posted by Dunlop Maxply 11/02/2007 at 12:52 AM

jb's comment at 7:21 raises an interesting point. Why is it in all of these drug cases that the result is released first, then the appeals take place after? The sporting "crime" is committed in the past, should not the entire investigation, and appeal, be confidential?

I have no idea of the truth here, but it is bizarre that in case after case, the athlete pays the penalty first, then the debate starts later. It rubs me the wrong way.

Posted by Ali C 11/02/2007 at 12:54 AM

ajv,

Perhaps she's worded her statement to reflect the fact that she's in trouble with the tour for taking a banned substance. Why do people take banned substances? To get better at the game. Cocaine is an illegal drug, but do the Tours care about their players' overall health and legal issues? Not really. They just care that the playing field is level, and no one is taking the sort of drugs that might enhance performance. That's why I assumed that Martina chose to word her statement the way she did.

Ultimately, she did say that she's never taken drugs. That's not a very limited defence, in my mind.

Posted by ajv 11/02/2007 at 02:30 AM

alic, I get your point, but the reality is that whether she is in trouble with the tour is the last of her concerns. She's retiring. Cocaine is not banned by the tour because of its impact on players' ability to play. It's banned because it's an illegal drug, like heroin for example. Her explanation as to why she would never take cocaine is tied to the fact that since taking it would not help her game she of course wouldn't take it. That seems ludicrous. There are lots of other reasons for her to take cocaine. Her explanation onnly addresses one, and it's the nonsensical one. Very odd.

Posted by eric 11/02/2007 at 03:22 AM

as sad as it is, i dont believe that martinas legacy will be tarnished by this event. she may have been exposed to coke either knowingly or not at a party. but obviously did not or would have intentionly taken a drug that will certainly be detected after her match and will certainly diminish her performance. she did have a break-up with stepanek. she did suffer a surprising defeat to laura granville, but hey any top 30 player can beat a top 10 on a given day. depite this mess,martina will always be remembered by the fans as a great champion. guess what? when she attends a great tournament,like roland garros, someone in the crowd will spot her, and they will do a "martina wave".
she, like the champion she has always been, will stand up and wave back to the crowd with a big thankful smile.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 11/02/2007 at 04:14 AM

Hingis statement was vetted by her legal team just like the one "written" by Larry Scott: I don't think one can infer anything more than that it was worded to present the situation as dispassionately as possible in order to avoid any more problems.

I hope she will give an interview so that she can give more details.

Her career,life or legacy are certainly not ruined (although some of her savings might get engulfed in legal fees so it's good she has all these millions) and the messages of "empathy" I read above are just disingenuous, badly hidden satisfaction at other people's demise. Very sad.

Posted by Keith Maddox 11/02/2007 at 04:47 AM

I shall regard her as innocent and will think twice before watching any more ladies' tennis. Unlike her, the game is being taken over by too many grunting freaks.

Posted by Keith Maddox 11/02/2007 at 04:47 AM

I shall regard her as innocent and will think twice before watching any more ladies' tennis. Unlike her, the game is being taken over by too many grunting freaks.

Posted by jj 11/02/2007 at 05:02 AM

According to link provided in 2:44 post to site that lists substances giving false positives, Tonic Water gives a false positive for Cocaine...Gin & Tonic in England...

Posted by The Original French(ie) 11/02/2007 at 05:14 AM

bodo's blog on hingis

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3090183&name=tennis

Posted by Daniel van Son 11/02/2007 at 05:33 AM

The problem here is that the outcome of the test is used as a goal itself but you have to use it as a tool to follow someone closely and accuse him or her in the act (whoever it may be; so it can also be a person who puts something in somebodys water or whatever).

Posted by embug 11/02/2007 at 05:35 AM

Quote by Larry Scott, WTA, from BBC Sport Online 11/1... "However, it is important to remember that in the area of anti-doping, all players are presumed innocent until proven otherwise."

Posted by embug 11/02/2007 at 05:42 AM

Read Pete's blog. Thanks for that link Andrew.

One question... why didn't the WTA know in advance, or simultaneously, about the test results? Makes me wonder about the two player organizations -- WTA and ATP -- as far as public relations policies and its players.

Are these two bodies slow? Ineffective in PR? I mean they had "no comment." There's something amiss.

Posted by embug 11/02/2007 at 05:44 AM

Oops... thanks Original French(ie) for the link. My bad.

Posted by Pat 11/02/2007 at 06:21 AM

Oh my god
i am so sorry for Hingis
:S

Posted by Samantha 11/02/2007 at 06:41 AM

Again, I'm very sorry for Hingis, but right now the sport is tainted by the scandal and I agree with the people who say that tennis has to do something to promote its images as a sport that is drug free. The UN honored Justine for her promotion of a drug free sport, I think they need her to come in and restore the integrity of the game. Like Roger, she's has a reputation for great integrity, class and grace. People need to see that there are players who would never use enhancement drugs, and the WTA can use Justine to promote this. Go Justine, world's #1!

Posted by The Original French(ie) 11/02/2007 at 07:41 AM

no worries embug.

According to this article "an announcement of some sort" about Hingis was "in the air" for several weeks now...

too bad the WTA did not hear about it.

In the text they quote her as saying "I am 100 % innocent".Also she seems to look into malfeasance when trying to understand where the cocaine traces could come from. Her lawyers also assert that it cannot be traced and proven that the samples are actually Hingis'.

A short op-ed piece in the end compares her "missed exit" to that of Zidane and his head-butt just before his retirement. (which I find more relevant to a certain extent to the one comparing Hingis to Tonya Harding's brutal premeditated assault??)

http://www.24heures.ch/pages/home/24_heures/l_actu/sports/sports_detail/(contenu)/153931

anyway it's a sad day.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 11/02/2007 at 07:43 AM

ah yes I forgot, it's from a swiss magazine, so that's why I though it could interesting.

Posted by ncot 11/02/2007 at 08:01 AM

do u guys think this thing will disqualify martina hingis from The hall of Fame? because it's just heartbreaking if she doesn't get in. sabatini IN but not hingis? that's just wrong...

Posted by temes 11/02/2007 at 08:13 AM

I don't think so ncot. Theres no way. She's too much a legend.

Now that I had time to think of this, I do believe Martina, because of the sheer madness of the action, but unfortunately her statement is just not convincing at all.

Posted by Samantha 11/02/2007 at 08:15 AM

Ncot, that is an interesting question, I just read Cronin's take and he said it will taint her HOF,but that she would get in. I have been reading the tennis boards in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and many people feel this way, guility or innocent, the retiring doesn't help the situation. I think many people see it has running away and that innocent people stand and fight and that only the truly guilty run. Let's face it, this is how many people feel and can you blame them. The evidence is so strong, both A and B control samples testing positive. The hair testing negative means nothing except she's not a habitual user. The innocent stand and fight and only the guilty run that is what people are saying on most of the boards throughout the US and Europe. When people talk about Hingis, they won't remember the Champion, but the drug scandal. If you don't believe me go over to the WTA world site and see the awful names people are calling her. The bad tend to over shadow the good. Go Justine, world's #1!

Posted by Samantha 11/02/2007 at 08:21 AM

For me, I think she deserves to be in THF because no one can prove she was using drugs when she won her championships. I think the drug use is very recent, or her hair would have tested positive, that is what they said on ESPN's board. Her statement and E-mail don't help and only make her look guility.

Posted by PJ 11/02/2007 at 09:01 AM

While it is a natural reaction to jump to the conclusion that she retired because she is guilty, one has to look beyond the obvious, and look at the person in question. Martina has always been full of an excess amount of self-pride. Her retirement in 2002 was less about her feet injuries and more about her pride-injury. Sure, her feet were preventing her from playing the same level of tennis she was accostomed to, but more-so her pride would not allow her to keep playing and losing to players she normally would crush. I think what is happening now is not much different. Retirement was a distint possibility without the coke charges.... I felt that with her ranking at 19 and losing again to players she normally could beat due to her back and hip injuries that she might hang it up again at the end of this season, or at the very least consider hanging it up. Then comes this coke charge, and she probably said to hell with it... what I am fighting to play for when my body won't let me play the way I want anyways. But more importantly, she is a proud person and to have to fight through years of negativity to prove herinnonance to only be able to play again a couple of years from now at the age of 30, she said forget it. I hope and do think, she will retain her lawyers to clear her name, but in a way I can understand why she said forget it.

Hingis could be brash and bratty at times, but a drug user.... I find that to be a strech. From what I understand, these urine tests only test for metabolites that may have come from coke, not for coke itself. And it sounds as if maybe the agency mis-handled the samples? It will be interesting to see the facts come out over time.

Posted by mixedsingles 11/02/2007 at 09:08 AM

Since the positive result came after her third round loss, it has me wondering how often are tennis players drug tested?

Is it possible she was tested after each round? If so, does this mean the results of her 1st and 2nd round tests came back clean?

Posted by sophie 11/02/2007 at 09:37 AM

If the samples were hers, then she's guilty as charged, regrettably. The only thing someone mentioned above is the possibility of a false positive. Now that's worth pursuing to clear one's name. Depends on how important that is to Martina.

Posted by Ryan 11/02/2007 at 09:45 AM


Recreational "party" type drug testing is pretty accurate and used by institutions such as Banks, military, education, child custody cases. Unlike new hybrid performance enhancing drugs that have advanced beyond the drug testing detection stages, recreational drugs are pretty basic testing patterns.

But Hingis is an international star. She is sponsored by Adidas and has Yonex- a Japanese sponsor. There's a moral obligation, and professional integrity that she must display- especially as a 5 time grand slam champion, and one with a Wimbledon title.

We also have to remember that it's an Olympic year in 2008. The ITF has pushed for more drug testing, and they do have legal rights to do so at grand slams such as Wimbledon.

If Martina tested a WTA event in America - maybe things would be different, but it was at Wimbledon - the epicenter of what tennis represent to the general public.

Posted by alice83ten 11/02/2007 at 09:46 AM

I believe Martina telling the truth, beacouse, if this realy happend in Wimbledon, why now is reeveald? And something else, why WTA was not informe about this? The WTA din't know about this. They never hear!
It is sad, but I believe the truth will come out, hoppely very soon.
Stay strong Martina, all the fans are with YOU!

Posted by temes 11/02/2007 at 10:02 AM

Has there ever been a case when a positive drug test was found out to be false? I don't know a single case. Can someone tell me if it's common?

Posted by Sad fan 11/02/2007 at 10:03 AM

This is the most horrible thing that has ever happened to Martina Hingis' career. It is worse than her infamous losses and even worse than her injuries. Her reputation has been tarnished and, although I believe that she is 100% innocent, she will always have this blemish on her legacy. A retirement of such a beautiful career and remarkable player should never end this way.

Posted by Sad fan 11/02/2007 at 10:03 AM

This is the most horrible thing that has ever happened to Martina Hingis' career. It is worse than her infamous losses and even worse than her injuries. Her reputation has been tarnished and, although I believe that she is 100% innocent, she will always have this blemish on her legacy. A retirement of such a beautiful career and remarkable player should never end this way.

Posted by Mark 11/02/2007 at 10:05 AM

Call me crazy, but I guarantee you there are tennis players on the circuit who have used coke, ectasy, etc at one point or another while partying at a club or with friends. I'm not condoning it, just saying there is a very high percentage chance that there are.

This should not be such a big deal because even if Martina tested positive for a cocaine metabolite, it was not used as a performance enhancer. It was probably used as a recreational party favor.

She has created this entire mess by the press conference. That being said, I do believe she is innocent simply because I do not think she is dumb enough to be snorting lines, then going to play a tennis tournament knowing she's going to get drug tested. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think coke stays in your system for a period of time. So, realistically she could have been doing lines weeks prior to Wimbledon and it could still be in her system. However, that is highly unlikely because weeks before Wimbledon is the French Open!

All this being said, I do believe she is innocent and will be interested to see how this plays out.

Posted by Christopher 11/02/2007 at 10:12 AM

"I think they need [Justine] to come in and restore the integrity of the game. Like Roger, she's has a reputation for great integrity, class and grace."

Um, no. I realize you like Justine, Samantha (and I love her game myself), but let's not cross over into the world of the absurd here. Frankly I think Justine has done things are the court that reflect much worse on her as a tennis player than doing coke does on Hingis.

As for Hingis getting into the Hall of Fame, if this disqualifies her, than Mac and others should be kicked out too.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 11/02/2007 at 10:15 AM

in her defense Martina says talks about malfeasance = meaning either her own samples "were tampered with"; her samples were switched (the samples tested were not hers). To me it seems that it might be the way her legal defense will be chose to go.

Also, she maintained some leeway about the possibilities of her cocaine traces: she might have "ingested" unknowingly something that was soiled.

I really hope some more in depth report-article will come in a few days. I agree with the poster "mixedsingles", I'm curious whether the players are tested at every rounds or whether this is random.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 11/02/2007 at 10:18 AM

true: the timing of her alleged "habit" does not make sense: in the middle of a slam which itself follows by a few weeks another slam???? This is very odd. I can't see her being so idiotic and doing something like that.

Posted by robbyfan 11/02/2007 at 10:20 AM

I can't help but wonder what Hingis does now. What does a pro athlete do after they retire at age 27? Play golf? Coach Federer?

Posted by anonymous 11/02/2007 at 10:22 AM

"I think many people see it has running away and that innocent people stand and fight and that only the truly guilty run. Let's face it, this is how many people feel and can you blame them."

In other words, "the lurkers support me in email." Vague statements without references don't help--stick to what people are saying HERE to support your argument. Oh, except they're not.

And yes, as we've established, we CAN blame them for judging someone without waiting to see how things play out. People are free to follow their first impulses, but that doesn't mean they're not going to get called out on that or judged themselves for it.

Posted by temes 11/02/2007 at 10:26 AM

Mark, Martina Hingis did not play the French Open this year but of course that doesn't tell us anything.

Posted by mixedsingles 11/02/2007 at 10:34 AM

Pete,

Just read that in 2002 Lourdes Dominguez Lino had a positive cocaine test.

Would you be able to lend your expertise to explain what happend here? Was she suspended, was it widely announced and what was her story?

I am just curious how this "scandal" was handled.

Posted by Mark 11/02/2007 at 11:15 AM

Temes,

Thanks for the update. I assumed she played the French this year. Hmmm, maybe she was snorting a little something something around the end of May, beginning of June!!!!! I still really do not think she did.

This should in NO way disqualify her from being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"I think they need [Justine] to come in and restore the integrity of the game. Like Roger, she's has a reputation for great integrity, class and grace."

Please..................Please tell me, Samantha, this quote is referring to another Justine, not Justin Henin. I really shouldn't even be responding to this because I think you make these comments to get a rise out of people, and I've fallen into your trap.

Posted by Andrew 11/02/2007 at 11:25 AM

temes: see, for example, Greg Rusedski.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071102/sp_nm/tennis_doping_hingis_itf_dc_1

Posted by bobby 11/02/2007 at 11:37 AM

the way this sport is going its gna turn out like a formula 1 tribunal that happened this year

its a shame tennis was one sport i was relying on not to become clouded with all this BS.... it seems that this sport is becoming to lose its 'sportiness' too....

Posted by temes 11/02/2007 at 11:43 AM

Thanks Andrew. But he still had the stuff in his system...I guess I meant a case where the athlete was proven not to have a banned substance in his/her body or something...

Posted by Heidi 11/02/2007 at 12:04 PM

You know, I was trying to think if there had ever been a straightforward doping case, and it wasn't purposeful 'doping' but a positive drug test that was admitted. It was several years ago at the Olympics, and the little girl, Andrea Raduucan from Romania, who won the gold medal in the women's gymnastics all-around, tested positive for pseudoephedrine that she had taken in a cold medicine that had been approved by appropriate doctors. Everyone concerned admitted that she took it, and the IOC or whoever freely said that they in no way thought she had tried to enhance performance or drug herself, but that rules were rules. The Romanians were furious, of course, because her gold was taken away. That was probably the most straightforward positive test I've ever heard of, probably helped by the substance in question and the fact that it was a 15 or 16-yr-old girl!

Posted by cyandream 11/02/2007 at 12:44 PM

IIRC Martina was taking painkillers for her hip. I don't know what she was taking but if it contained acetaminophen and she was taking a lot, it could have affected her liver. Liver disease and infections can give false positives for cocaine.

Posted by Barny L 11/02/2007 at 12:45 PM

I feel it is time for us who love the game too stand with one who has givin us her best.I stand with HER

Posted by Tony 11/02/2007 at 01:05 PM

Video clip of Martina’s press conference
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5XBEudbBYA

What does Radek Stepanek know about his ex-fiancee? In the relationships, Stepanek was the one who displayed hyperactive, ‘euphoric’ antics on court. Martina hardly looked euphoric in her two matches at Wimbledon this year. In 2001, she even supported a campaign to educate kids about the dangers of drug abuse, though that has no bearing on today.

The drug testing process needs to be more efficient (it’s ludicrous that players do not know the results for two or three months) and transparent (e.g., players must have the opportunity to do their own independent testing on the very same sample and verify the integrity of the process used by the official testers). And how open will the tribunal process be on Martina's case?

In public opinion, an official anti-doping system and the legacy of athletes using drugs wins against an individual. Already some tennis/sports analysts jumping to conclusions based on their speculations about Martina's lifestyle (as if any of them ever experienced such riches).

Guilty or innocent, awful way for Hingis to bow out
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=3088189

Hingis had claimed love and respect
http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,22690116-23216,00.html

Posted by 11/02/2007 at 02:05 PM
Posted by Ghushaphat 11/02/2007 at 02:20 PM

Spare me the BS. Cocaine is a recreational drug, especially for rich whites. The problem is people due not understand how long this drug remains in your system. Ask me do I believe Hingis is guilty, my response would have to be I don't know. However, it would be interesting to read your opinions, including Peter Bodos, had it been Serena being accused.

Posted by Ghushaphat 11/02/2007 at 02:20 PM

Spare me the BS. Cocaine is a recreational drug, especially for rich whites. The problem is people due not understand how long this drug remains in your system. Ask me do I believe Hingis is guilty, my response would have to be I don't know. However, it would be interesting to read your opinions, including Peter Bodos, had it been Serena being accused.

Posted by Metro 11/02/2007 at 02:49 PM

I was surprised to hear about Martina's positive test for cocaine at Wimbledon. Does anyone know what are the WTA rules for testing positive for cocaine? Would it be fine & suspension?

Posted by east side mike 11/02/2007 at 03:28 PM

Many professional Athlets are drug users. I am not surprised. I really think if she did not use drugs she would have not quit. She is just like the track star and the many baseball players and we all know about football and basketball. The pressure to be the best at a physical job like sports makes for drug use normal.

Posted by daryl 11/02/2007 at 03:31 PM

Has anyone metioned "If it had been a day later then it would have been classified as an out-of-competition test and stimulants like cocaine are not prohibited out of competition,"

Posted by gat10s 11/02/2007 at 03:32 PM

isn't it that she also broke her engagement with Radek Stefanek, maybe it has something to with it. Whether it is the cause of the break up or the aftermath, I don't know?

Posted by allegria 11/02/2007 at 04:07 PM

I'm really sorry that this is how Hingis' career will end. Because it in all probability has, you only need to look up the 3 other tennis cases involving cocaine since tennis' anti-doping programme bacame fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency's code: they all resulted in a maximum suspension of two years. I'm also teriibly sorry that we will no more see her display her skills in the professional arena.

I'm not as interested in all this speculation as others but I would like to make some comments:

1. With regard to the indepth analysis of the precise wording of Hingis' statement:
Didn't Hingis actually make her statement in German? There the wording is: "Tatsache ist dass ich des Dopings verdächtigt werde, mich aber absolut und zu 100 Prozent unschuldig fühle".
Allthough I understand the German language pretty well, I am not a competent German - English translater. But we all know that in translations the sense of what is said or meant often goes lost. Curious that the English translation is used by some to analyse and determine what Hingis may or may not have 'secretly' meant.

3. If indeed, as Hingis claims, her samples have been either procedural or analytical irregularities at the lab, then I hope that she can prove it. But she seems quite aware of how difficult a tast that may be. There are afterall procedures in place to avoid that a player is unjustly charged with a doping offence. But that of course does not mean that 'mistakes' in the handeling of tests do not occur.

2. Regarding here the statement issued by Larry Scott:
At this point in the procedure the only ones who are actually supposed to know of Hingis' positive test are the Anti-Doping Program Administrator (APA) of the International Drug Testing Management (IDTM), the ITF Anti-Doping Administrator and Hingis. Plus anyone whom Hingis herself chooses to inform, in this case: the whole world but that this now became public is her doing.
At this stage of the process the WTA would not be notified, so the statement by Larry Scott makes perfect sense. There is no reason for confusion as to why the WTA was not yet aware of this finding, especially among members of the the press who really ought to know this - in fact I find that there is hardly any competent reporting in the Tennis Press regarding this subject, the exception is Bonnie D. Ford who writes for ESPN. For example: These past two years the WADA Code has been under review in a long and complex process involving all signatories and stakeholders, the final draft will be accepted and presented in two weeks time. Who apart from the allready mentioned Bonnie D. Ford has actually reported more than two lines on this extremely complex but important and also interesting issue?

ps regarding the distinction between in- and out of competition testing: of course there needs to be one. Because stimulants have no performance enhancing effect unless they are in a player's system while they are actually competing. So there is no need to waste time and money testig for them out of competition. WADA considers cocaine to be a performance-enhancer because it stimulates the central nervous system and increases energy and aggression (even if only during a short time frame).

Posted by J J Arnold 11/02/2007 at 04:15 PM

This does not suprise me a bit...the fact that she has come out first to defend herself says it all, she's guilty as charged!!!

Posted by jason 11/02/2007 at 05:28 PM

i am only concerned about kolya. the exalted agassi was reknown for tanking matches, not giving his best effort. why all the fuss about kolya?

Posted by jason 11/02/2007 at 05:28 PM

i am only concerned about kolya. the exalted agassi was reknown for tanking matches, not giving his best effort. why all the fuss about kolya?

Posted by The Original French(ie) 11/02/2007 at 06:15 PM

allegria: what you say is very true. I've also noticed on the youtube video that Hingis made her (only) statement in German. Translations are certainly not reliable.

In earnest, I had never heard before about the WADA code. Thanks for bringing this interesting piece of information!

Posted by ryan 11/02/2007 at 09:56 PM

I really dont think this will tarnish her legacy, even if it does come out to be true. She did not use drugs to win her slams, or really any matches!! No one would be stupid enough to assume that she used this frequently on tour, or that it would help her anyway. It's not a great way to retire, but it changes nothing about the rest of her career.

Posted by Erin 11/02/2007 at 10:36 PM

Posted by Ghushaphat 11/02/2007 @ 2:20 PM

Spare me the BS. Cocaine is a recreational drug, especially for rich whites. The problem is people due not understand how long this drug remains in your system. Ask me do I believe Hingis is guilty, my response would have to be I don't know. However, it would be interesting to read your opinions, including Peter Bodos, had it been Serena being accused."

This is a somewhat racist statement, if you have any facts that support your comment that especially "rich whites" use cocaine more than anybody else, please post them. Cocaine is used by all ethnic groups, and it's available in all kinds of neighborhoods in all kinds of forms. The fact that lots of people use cocaine, does not mean that Martina Hingis knowingly used cocaine in her life simply becuase she's rich and white, and if she had a hair test done that came out negative, it's possible that she never used it the drug stays stored in the hair strand until it is cut off. Many over the counter medicines and other natural substances can cause a false positive drug test for cocaine and other illegal drugs, look it up on the internet, drug testing is not the exact science they make it out to be. That lab has a strong reason to never admit they made a mistake in her test or anybody's test or to even try and find out if they did, if they do admit they made a mistake, then all their results for positive tests will come under scrutiny and they would be sued and possibly the company would be ruined. think of how humans do all these drug tests for these companies and handle all the samples and if they make human mistakes how it will most likely be hidden to avoid damage to the company. It's a scary thought. Cocaine is not just a recreational drug, it's actual use originally was for pain killing properties like other opiates, it used to be used in medicine rather frequently,and still sometimes rarely is. Even medications like Ibuprofen and Tylenol can in rare cases cause a false positive for opiates in a drug test. If I was a pro athlete I would be scared to death of getting positive drug results due to the possible variations and oddities in results of tests from person to person, whether they used drugs or not. They accidentally manage to mix up babies in neo natal wards in hospitals sometimes and send the wrong babies home with people, and sometimes impregnate women with the wrong sperm and wrong embryos in fertility clinics,and frequently give people the wrong drugs in hospitals and nearly kill them, so tell me it's not possible to mix up a urine sample in a clinic full of hundreds and maybe thousands of tubes filled with urine samples that all look alike.

Posted by Erin 11/02/2007 at 10:45 PM

Posted by tami 11/01/2007 @ 2:12 PM

were both tests done by the same lab? if so, how can a lab mix up the same sample twice?

i would like to believe hingis on this one but will wait for the other half of the story."

From what I've heard, they take one sample and split it, and test the same urine twice. But what if they got the wrong sample in the first place? If they mislabeled her sample or grabbed the wrong sample and tested it as hers, then if that person's urine had traces of cocaine, it would be reported as being Martina's sample.
There's also the possibility that they accidentally contaminated Martina's sample with the urine of somebody else, by mistake after handling a postive sample and not using proper cleaning procedures. there are probably multiple handlers of urine samples and multiple people who do the testing, so the possibilities are probably numerous for somebody in the chain of testing to drop the ball.

Here is a quote from a website explaining urine drug testing and reliability of test results:


"Urine drug testing accuracy is variable depending on how the testing is done. Drug testing is extremely accurate and reliable when all aspects of the testing process are done properly. On the other hand, the information obtained may be very misleading and inaccurate when poor procedures or testing methods are utilized. Drug testing will only be reliable when the consumer knows how it should be done and then demands from the industry that it is done properly.

Unfortunately, today, the majority of drug testing is poorly done and plagued with unreliable information. Below are aspects that should provide enough information to empower the consumer to demand proper testing procedures. There are three aspects to reliable drug testing"

Posted by jbradhunter 11/02/2007 at 10:48 PM

Bismarck?
allegria has a good point about the german to english translation... can you give us your translation of Martina's press conference?

Posted by Bismarck - i´ll miss her. 11/03/2007 at 02:05 AM

oh, just checked your link.
She says "ich weiß, dass ich kein Doping genommen habe, unschuldig bin."

translation:
"i KNOW that i didn´t do doping, that i´m innocent".

sorry, just realised it now. so much for all the fuzz about her "believe im innocent". ;)

Posted by Samantha 11/03/2007 at 07:51 AM

To Mark and Christopher, please note that in 2006, the UN named Justine as an ambassador for sport for her promotion of a drug free sport. Right now tennis needs someone to step forward so that people know most of the athletes aren't on drug. What better person, then someone who has received such an award. Whether true or fasle, this latest scandal has hurt tennis.Again, I wish Hingis the best.

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